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Design007-July2019

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16 DESIGN007 MAGAZINE I JULY 2019 in long-term defense system applications relat- ed to tin whiskers, etc. It has been impressed on me that we do a lot of inspection on our board fabrication—particularly board assem- blies—to pass quality requirements, but those cannot completely ensure long-term reliability. Reliability is a matter of looking at data over the last 10–40 years when your product per- formed to the standards you expected. The buzz phrase I've heard is quality is care from birth to shipment, and reliability is care from cradle to grave. In my mind, that's the differ- ence between the two. Shaughnessy: You've spoken at these reliability conferences in the past, correct? Fritz: I don't know how far back they go here at IPC, but I do know that I was involved with Werner Engelmaier and Dieter Bergman in 2008. It was a two-day conference in Mas- sachusetts. That's the first time I became ac- quainted with organized reliability conferenc- es through IPC. For the last three years, I've helped organize and participate annually. The first was held in 2017 in Rosemont, Illinois, and in 2018 and 2019, they were held here in Baltimore, Maryland. Shaughnessy: You mentioned that the military is considering allowing lead-free. I know that with RoHS, military and aerospace had waiv- ers, but now they're fine with lead-free? Fritz: It's a complicated issue. The U.S. does not have a regulation that electronics have to be manufactured lead-free. In contrast, the Eu- ropean Union dictates that similar lead-free regulations have been adopted in Asia. Even in Europe, the defense industry has been able to get waivers to continue using leaded solder. Now, in the United States, with the shift of components and board processes to lead-free, all of that is a tremendous market driver. I re- cently participated with the IPC Government Relations Committee proposing to Congress to form a consortium and have Defense funding for a five-year program. This would run tests that would make it a lot easier for Defense to convert new constructions to lead-free. This would help eliminate the "re-balling" or "re- tinning" of lead-free components when they come in to make them immediately assembly compatible. If you mix eutectic, lead-containing solder with lead-free solder, you end up with an un- known alloy or a mixed solder joint, which sometimes is reliable and other times is not. If there's one thing Defense can't stand, it's un- predictability. We're looking to make sure that we could convert everything in new construc- tion to lead-free. Defense has a small issue that legacy systems that were made with leaded solder will probably be field repaired for de- cades—maybe on a hand basis with leaded sol- der—but our proposal would convert new de- fense constructions over to lead-free. Shaughnessy: That sounds like a good plan. When is this going to take place? Fritz: It all depends on Defense budgets. It's all at the whim of our, some would say, dysfunc- tional Congress to get together to figure out how much is going to go to Defense priorities. Grad- ually, through the Pb-free Electronics Risk Man- agement (PERM) Council under IPC, the indus- try has been solving some of these issues. But we've been at it now for 13 years, and the es- timate is that maybe we've covered half of the information needed to establish lead-free. We think this five-year program, with government funding, would push lead-free to completion. Shaughnessy: It sounds like a lot is happening. Fritz: That's true. Some of this relates to over- all reliability issues. For instance, I'm involved Reliability is a matter of looking at data over the last 10–40 years when your product performed to the standards you expected.

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