The European environmental directives for Restrictions of Hazardous Substances (RoHS), which includes restrictions on the use of lead in electronics, has affected the global supply chain for materials used in aerospace products. The result of this market shift is important for AIA member companies, forcing a transition away from tin-lead (SnPb) alloys used in the assembly and coating for high performance electronics.
On February 5, AIA’s Technical Operation Council (TOC) hosted with IPC, the global trade association serving the printed board and electronics assembly industries, an executive forum on lead-free (Pb-free) electronics at the Lockheed Martin Global Vision Center in Virginia. During the forum, attendees shared information about Pb-free electronics impacts on our industry’s ability to confidently design high reliability avionics and electrical systems. The meeting also addressed how commercial and defense industries are approaching the issue.
Forum participants produced a list of actions and recommendations that an industry-government partnership could utilize to transition to lead-free in a controlled manner. Among the recommendations was to encourage the federal government to support coordinated and focused research to fill current knowledge gaps on Pb-free alternative materials, to standardize the information from this research, investigate lead-free alternatives, and make the data available to the technical community. The TOC and IPC will be refining their conclusions and plan to publish a report about the subject in the coming months.
A short white paper on RoHS published by the TOC is available on the research reports section of the AIA Website: http://www.aia-aerospace.org/assets/CEO_level_RoHS_awareness_-_2013-_11-21.pdf