Where are we?
We are currently producing both prototype and production PCBs that meet the RoHS Directive. To maintain that goal it is important that our circuit boards not only be lead free but also meet the restricted concentration levels for mercury, cadmium, hexavalent chromium, polybrominated biphenyls and polybrominated diphenyl ethers. We are using raw materials and processes that meet those restrictions.
Advanced Circuits is using a Tin Copper alloy as our lead free solder finish. It is Nihon Superior's SN100CL, a solder that has been in use in Asia for a number of years. It is made up of 99.3% Tin, 0.06% Copper and a number of additional proprietary elements including Nickel.
It is not Advanced Circuits' intent to replace our tin lead solder process at this time. It will continue to run in tandem with the lead free process until the use of leaded solder becomes untenable.
Currently any printed circuit board that we produce does not contain any mercury, cadmium, hexavalent chromium, polybrominated biphenyls or polybrominated diphenyl ethers. Boards we produce that are not processed using leaded solder for a final finish will meet all of the RoHS' restrictions. These products would include those that have lead free solder, electroless nickel immersion gold, electroplated gold, white tin or finishes other than tin-lead solder.
We can supply you with a RoHS compliant board today using laminate materials that can be matched up with the exposure to high temperatures during your assembly processes. It is important to keep in mind that some no lead assembly processes will require the laminate base material to withstand temperatures in excess of 260 degrees C or 500 degrees F for extended periods of time. To resolve this, we have added new high-temperature laminates to our inventory so that our customers will be able to meet the higher temperature cycling requirements of some lead free assembly applications.
Advanced Circuits has received UL approval for processing high thermal capacity materials manufactured by Isola, Polyclad and Nelco. These materials met the UL testing for 130°C maximum operating temperature, solder limits of 288°C for 20 seconds, 94-V0 flame rating and direct support of current carrying parts. Each of these laminate systems meets the minimum requirements for IPC 4101A specification sheets 24, 26 or 28. Individual manufacturer's material types may exhibit variations in electrical, thermal and physical properties. Normally a single manufacturer's material will be stocked for use. If you have specific questions please contact your Advanced Circuits sales representative.
Lead Free Solder
Advanced Circuits has purchased and installed a new Penta 580 HASL machine that is being used to apply the lead free solder. This unit completed process trials and was released to production the second week of October 2005. Advanced Circuits is using Nihon Superior SN100CL copper alloy solder on both prototype and production panels to produce RoHS compliant PCBs.
This particular solder is 99.3% tin and 0.6% copper with a small amount of nickel added. This lead free alloy allows us to process panels at approximately the same temperature as leaded solder. We ran a series of processing tests to assure the best possible coverage and surface characteristics and the results were excellent. Additionally, the finish has exhibited exceptional co planarity for a HASL process.
We have sample boards available for your evaluation; just contact your sales representative.