||In an effort to help position Massachusetts companies as industry leaders in producing lead-free electronics, TURI sponsored two workshops in 2000 on Lead-Free Technologies for companies in the supply chain, including material and component suppliers, printed wiring board manufacturers and assemblers, and computer hardware and telecommunications manufacturers. The first workshop in April 2000, hosted by Lucent Technologies, gave participants an overview of issues, industry initiatives, and alternatives. A panel of leading supply chain companies gave their perspectives on these issues. The second workshop, held in June 2000 at BTU International, focused on technical issues and challenges in the transition to lead-free electronics.
The workshops explored a number of issues including: ensuring component reliability in a changing processing environment; lead-free testing protocols for quality assurance; the impact of technology selection on the supply chain; the status of lead-free alloys; development of lead-free components; and discussion of priority technical issues and opportunities for supply chain collaboration.
An area of particular interest to participants was a presentation on the results from the Massachusetts Lead-Free Consortium Project sponsored by TURI and the UMass STrategic Envirotechnology Partnership (STEP). In the quest to develop lead-free electronic assembly technologies, the Consortium has investigated lead-free soldering with a focus on process, reliability, and options. The project concentrated on solder alloys, various flux systems and their reflow characteristics, lead-free board surface finishes, lead-free component finishes, and reflow oven performance. Members of the Consortium include TURI and the Department of Mechanical Engineering at UMass Lowell, and their industry partners: BTU International Inc., Hadco Corporation, Multicore Solders Inc., Raytheon Corporation, Solectron Corporation, and Texas Instruments.
TURI hosted a workshop on April 10, 2002 at Schneider Electric, North Andover, MA on lead-free electronics. The featured speaker was Dr. John Sohn, NEMI Lead-Free Reliability Team Leader.
General Dynamics, the newest member of the Massachusetts Lead-Free Electronics Consortium, hosted the Lead-Free Electronics Supply Chain Meeting at their facility in Taunton on December 3, 2003. Topics included additional discussion and updates, materials declarations, legislative updates, and the latest research and testing results of lead-free solder alloys. The meeting featured a tour of the General Dynamics facility.
The New England Lead-free Electronics Consortium is now in its fourth phase of designing, building, and testing printed circuit boards made with lead-free materials. This phase includes the use of halogen-free laminate materials, as well as addressing challenges with lead-free electronics assembly. Preliminary results of this phase should be available this summer.
In May 2006, the New England Lead-Free Consortium, a group of industry, academic, and government organizations, received an EPA Merit Award for a five-year effort to find new lead-free alternatives for the electronics industry.