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Lead Free/RoHS Compliance

Lead Free/RoHS Compliance

Lead Free/RoHS Compliance

Our company is considering going to lead free.  We are still uncertain if we qualify for the Telecommunications exemption.  We build CATV equipment for cable operators (thus, we do not sell to the general public).  This is the kind of equipment hanging on telephone poles and in head-ends.  Is anyone out there looking for or has exemption??

Anyway, we do plan to go lead free (hoping to have some time extension).  We plan to go to new internal part numbers (we have 8 legacy company part numbers from aquisitions and many duplicate/similiar parts).  The plan would be to build a "database" of lead free parts and use those parts for the new lead free product.  This would be an oppurtunity to consolidate internal part numbers.  We may even qualify end product once it's been built to lead free.  Does anyone have any experiences on lead free and what pitfalls are there to avoid?

RE: Lead Free/RoHS Compliance

Just pay attention to the change in reflow temperature for Pb-Free solder.  It is only about 10°C, but it makes all the difference in the world when soldering components!  Working with the Pb-free is more difficult due to the higher reflow temps.  Also, it is more difficult to visually inspect for cold solder joint, since they will all look "bad", when compared to a Pb paste.

RE: Lead Free/RoHS Compliance

Thanks, Kerem.

SCPCOMP, the exemption I think you're referring covers "lead in solders for network infrastructure equipment for switching, signalling, transmission as well as network management for telecommunication". Is CATV considered Telecommunications by the EU?

Some guidance might be obtained from documents on the DTI website (www.dti.gov.uk/sustainability/weee). The "Consumer Equipment" category might cover CATV equipment so it may well be covered. I suggest you send an email to the contacts listed on that page for RoHS and WEEE and ask the question.

Might also be a good idea to engage a compentent law firm that knows how to interpret EU directives and laws (but lots of this is going to be flushed out in a court of law...now exactly how we all would like it to be resolved!).

Whether your product is exempt or not, the supply base is converting components (and obsoleting those they don't want to, or can't, convert) so your product will be impacted anyway.


Mike Kirschner
Design Chain Associates, LLC

RE: Lead Free/RoHS Compliance

The way I read it the WEEE will be required 7/05 only in UK for now and the EC thereafter(date forgotten)and as I understand it there isnt a system in place to monitor yet.  The regulatory options are still not decided.  Ill be looking up parts and seeing what they are composed of so at least Ill have a list to document the lead content. If anybody has any ideas on what they are doing let me know.  All suggestions are welcomed.  I havent heard from my Asian counterparts so i guess thats a "yes" on the lead in the solder.  

RE: Lead Free/RoHS Compliance

Here's a link to my company's site regarding solder temperature profile for lead free, although this is regarding senmiconductors.


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