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Soldering technology to improve the competitiveness of European SMEs

Connect, no. 153, March/April 2008, p.8

Low cost lead-free soldering technology to improve the competitiveness of European SMEs

The electronic industry has recently experienced significant changes. The Restriction of Hazardous Substances (RoHS) Directive, effective since July 2006, created a mandatory obligation for the industry to change from tin/leads older to a lead-free solder (LFS), when joining electronic components to printed circuit boards (PCB).

The change to lead-free assembly gives rise to a number of challenges including materials selection and compatibility, processing and equipment capability, manufacturing yields and throughput, functional performance, establishment of reliability performance and baselines and Health and Safety all of which topics demand special attention from the electronics industry, especially the SMEs.

The LEADOUT project was developed to provide technical support in the development of solutions to the problems resulting from the replacement of tin/lead solders in the electronics industry. Topics like environmental impact, life cycle evaluation and lead free process benchmarking were also addressed. TWI took a major role in the project, being both part of the management team and also one of the technical contributors.

The project achieved a total of 39 deliverables, some of them public to all potentially interested persons. Public website access is given to tools to support the implementation of lead-free soldering in the electric/electronic industry. The e-learning Lead-free Assembly Course and the Online Photo Library are accessible by registering at

For more information and access to public deliverables, register at the LEADOUT web page:

For more information please email: