Palatine, Ill. Trace Laboratories-Central, an independent testing facility, has established a new certification and testing program for tin whisker growth on components that are to be designed for lead-free compliance with the European Union's Directive on the Restriction of Certain Hazardous Substances (RoHS). Tin-based plating is known to be susceptible to the formation of "needle-like protrusions, or whiskers," that can result in reliability issues.
The new certification and testing program incorporates the International Electronics Manufacturing Initiative (iNEMI) specification for the testing of components to determine if tin whisker growth occurs during the life of the product. The company said its capable of meeting all three classes of testing specified by iNEMI. These include Class 1, Mission/Life Critical High-Reliability Applications for military, space, and medical equipment; Class 2, High-Reliability Business Applications for telecommunications infrastructure, high-end servers, and similar equipment; and Class 3, Consumer products that have a product life of five years maximum.
Trace Laboratories-Central will provide customers with a program that consists of three segments: two isothermal tests and one thermal cycling test. The company will assemble, pre-condition, and provide an electrical bias representing actual use conditions. The certified testing program typically consists of a high temperature/humidity aging test for 4,000 hours, a storage test at ambient conditions for 4,000 hours, and a rapid thermal cycle test for 1,000 cycles.
In addition, the program includes inspection of the product using SEM-certified optical equipment. Complete written reports will be made available as a part of the certified Tin Whisker Testing Program. Failure analysis is available through the Trace Laboratories-East facility.
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