TOKYO Matsushita said it has eliminated lead from all its plasma display panels, making it the first panel maker to comply with new environmental guidelines.
Lead oxide glass has been widely used in plasma display panel production to adjust the softening points of several different materials, including electrodes, dielectric layers and other structural elements built up on glass substrates. Matsushita, along with Hitachi and Pioneer, jointly filed a petition to exempt lead used in plasma panels from the Restriction on Hazardous Substance (RoHS). The exemption was approved in October.
Matsushita nevertheless moved to eliminate lead oxide glass, introducing new lead-free materials for the dielectric layer, electrodes and other components. The performance and reliability of the lead-free materials such as bismuth is comparable to lead oxide glass, Matsushita said. New materials like metal oxide additives were also used, along with refining the composition of the non-glass components such as solvents and flux.
"Matsushita has completed the elimination of lead from print-circuit boards and in-house components," a Matsushita spokesman said.
Components such as resistors supplied by vendors still contain lead, though it is exempted from current restrictions due to high melting points, the spokesman said.
Matsushita said it will market its eco-friendly panels in the European market and other regions as it continues to eliminate lead from other panel components.