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Solderless assembly of electronic products — a more reliable and more cost effective approach to electronics manufacturing?

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1 Author(s)
Fjelstad, J. ; Verdant Electron., Cupertino, CA, USA

Electronics assembly technology has been wedded to the soldering process for virtually then entire history of electronics manufacturing. The relationship has been a largely successful one predicated on the use of eutectic tin-lead solders which offer a remarkable balance of electrical and mechanical qualities and which can be had using a joining process that, though elevated, can be performed at temperatures which are manageable. In 2006 the European Union enacted previously passed legislation which banned the use of lead in electronic solder due to suspected environmental concerns over lead, thus ushering a new era of lead free soldering. Lead-free soldering, the electronics manufacturing and assembly industry have since learned is much more demanding and is giving rise to a host of new problems and concerns. In response, an effort has been undertaken to devise alternative methods for electronic assembly that completely bypass the traditional high temperature soldering process. The new process reverses the traditional approach to electronic assembly by placing components first and then making the electrical and interconnections using traditional printed circuit board (PCB) manufacturing processes, The result is a process with compelling benefits and one which it is believed will not only be more environmentally friendly than lead-free but one which will result in more reliable electronic products and a higher yielding and at lower overall cost. This paper will show how simple modifications to design and manufacturing processes used for electronics and employment of new and alternative co-designed and integrated manufacturing methods without solder could potentially deliver significant untapped potential from future electronics assemblies with little impact on the manufacturing infrastructure.

Published in:

Vehicle Power and Propulsion Conference, 2009. VPPC '09. IEEE

Date of Conference:

7-10 Sept. 2009