San Diego, Calif. Pulse, a Technitrol Company, has announced its plan for compliance with the European Union's Restriction of Hazardous Substances (RoHS) directive. Under its compliance program, all new products will be designed to be RoHS compliant. In addition, all existing products will be evaluated and upgraded to be compliant with both the material and production process requirements of RoHS. The conversion of Pulse's production operations is underway and will be completed during 2005.
The company said customer requirements have top priority in the conversion of both existing products and production operations. Products that qualify for the RoHS directive's exemption, including those used in network infrastructure applications, will be converted to RoHS compliance only by customer request.
The RoHS Directive became European law on February 13, 2003. European Union member states must ensure that by July 1, 2006, new commercial, electrical and electronic equipment does not contain lead (Pb) or any of the other restricted hazardous materials identified in the legislation such as mercury (Hg), cadmium (Cd), hexavalent chromium (Cr VI), polybrominated biphenyls (PBB), and polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDE).
Pulse's RoHS compliance program has six major elements.
Pulse has identified non-RoHS compliant materials used in its products. Older products are being redesigned where possible to eliminate non-RoHS compliant materials and to ensure that they will withstand RoHS-compliant production processes. To address customer inquires regarding RoHS compliant material chemistries, the company is developing a detailed database of the chemical composition of supplier materials to ensure that material content is thoroughly defined and understood.
Termination solder coating
To eliminate lead in its products, Pulse is offering plating with tin (Sn) on the component-to-board solderable terminations (lead frames or pins). The company selected 100% tin (Sn 100) for coating component leads on most products because it is compatible with leaded and most lead-free solder chemistries.
An independent testing laboratory has completed preliminary tin whisker testing, based on the draft NEMI article "Test Method for Evaluating Tin Whisker Growth on Plated Surfaces", dated June 17, 2004, revision 6.1. Results show tin whisker growth levels acceptable for Class 2 applications. To reduce the possibility of tin whisker growth, Pulse uses a matte tin finish with a nickel under-plate and a hot-dip process for Sn 100 final lead plating.
The RoHS Directive allows for an exemption for lead in solders for network infrastructure equipment for telecommunications and servers, storage, and storage array systems. Products for these applications will be converted to lead-free solder only by customer request. In addition, military/aerospace products will not undergo conversion to RoHS compliance unless specifically requested.
Moisture sensitivity levels (MSL)
Testing for MSL has been conducted to verify that Pulse RoHS compliant products meet the levels defined in IPC/JEDEC standard J-STD-020C with dry packing in accordance with J-STD-033A. When subjected to the higher temperature lead-free solder reflow processes, no degradation in MSL has been found.
Product and package labeling
RoHS compliant products are identified with an "NL" suffix on the part number. First-level boxes and shipping packages for compliant products will be labeled with a RoHS compliant logo to identify compliant products.
Specific areas of Pulse's factories have been dedicated to RoHS compliant production lines. The company said controls are in place to ensure that compliant and non-compliant products are not mixed in the production environment. While non-RoHS compliant products will continue to be available, lead times and prices may increase as volumes decline, noted the company.
Customer notification of availability
As products and their associated production processes are converted to RoHS compliance, the Pulse sales organization will notify customers of their availability.
For more details on Pulse's RoHS position and product conversion,
click here for the RoHS White Paper G029.
Pulse, 1- 858-674-8100, www.pulseeng.com