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54 SMT007 MAGAZINE I SEPTEMBER 2021 Article by Mitch Holtzer MACDERMID ALPHA ELECTRONICS SOLUTIONS e continued devaluation of the U.S. dol- lar and the industrial supply-demand balance between silver has increased the price of silver used in solder alloys. MacDermid Alpha Elec- tronics Solutions has developed a number of low- and no-silver solder alloys to offset this continued trend in the increase in global silver cost. ese alloys are appropriate for most ap- plications, but not all. is article will describe the reliability, soldering performance poten- tial of low- and no-solder alloys on different as- semblies, and quantify the cost savings associ- ated with using lower silver-bearing alloys. As Figure 1 shows, the price of silver has doubled over the past year. MacDermid Alpha Electronics Solutions has a strict policy to nev- er speculate on the future prices of tin, silver, or copper used to make lead-free alloys, but the current trend of the U.S. government to stimulate the economy by using deficit spend- ing has caused economists to predict increased inflation and a reduction in the value of the U.S. dollar. Silver traded on the London Metals Ex- change (LME) and the New York Commodi- ties Exchange (COMEX) is denominated in U.S. dollars. Any reduction in the value of the U.S. dollar generally increases the cost of met- als trading on these exchanges. However, using lower silver-bearing lead- free alloys should continue to be a lower cost alternative for circuit board assemblers who require a lead-free process. Silver constitutes 44% of the cost of metals used to create the most common lead-free alloy, SAC 305, as of Reducing the Cost of Solder Alloys Used in Wave and Selective Soldering Assembly Applications Figure 1: Looking at the price of silver. (Courtesy of

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