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Pb-Free Electronics Overview
Keywords: Pb-free Electronics, Risk Management, Knowledge Gaps
The European Union “Reduction of Hazardous Substances” (RoHS) regulation implemented in July, 2006 prohibits the use of lead (Pb), along with five other materials and chemicals, in commercial electronic products placed on the European market for sale. China, Japan and other nations have implemented similar restrictions, causing the global commercial electronics companies to modify their products. Unfortunately, Pb-free electronics have cost, configuration control, and reliability issues, including potential product failures, that can directly impact Department of Defense (DoD) electronic systems due to their heavy reliance on Commercial-Off-the-Shelf (COTS) components. This presentation will provide an overview of the technical issues and risks regarding the use of Pb-free electronics in typically harsh aerospace and defense (A&D) operating environments, and the risk mitigations being pursued by the A&D community. The differences in impact between the uses of Pb-free electronics for commercial applications versus A&D usage will be discussed. Risk mitigations that we be addressed include the formation of a Pb-free Electronics Risk Management (PERM) Consortium and a three-phased Pb-free Electronics Risk Reduction Program. The PERM Consortium is sponsored by the Aerospace Industries Association's Engineering Management Committee and currently has well over 400 US and international members from government, industry, and academia. The DoD-funded Pb-free Electronics Risk Reduction Program has completed two phases, consisting of the creation of a Best Practice Baseline and a Technology Roadmap. The recommended third phase consists of a three-year research and development program that addresses the Pb-free electronics technical gaps in five major project areas. The presentation concludes with an insightful discussion of the cultural issues being encountered that further complicate the technical challenges from the commercial shift to Pb-free electronics.
Edward A. Morris, Director, Mechanical Engineering & Manufacturing
Lockheed Martin Corporation
Grand Prairie, TX

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