Lead Free Solder

Lead Free Solder

Lead free soldering is now a major issue on the agenda of companies manufacturing electronics equipment. Lead is a major constituent of traditional solder and as a result there are concerns over the amount of lead entering the environment. As a result there has been legislation in many areas of the world and a consequent impetus to move to lead free soldering.

Lead free soldering wire has arisen because of legislation being enacted around the globe. In the EC the WEEE (Waste from Electrical and Electronics Equipment) Directive has brought a sharp focus onto lead free soldering technology. Although this directive is mainly about recycling, it also contains clauses aimed at banning the use of lead in certain categories of electrical and electronic equipment. This gives rise to the need for lead free soldering.

The solder that was traditionally used comprised a mixture of 63% tin and 37% lead. Although this accounted for typically less than 1% of the usage of lead, it nevertheless posed a perceived environmental threat because in countries such as the UK, most electronic equipment is disposed of in landfill sites. There was a concern that the lead could then leach into ground water supplies.

The move to lead free soldering is of great importance to many areas of industry. Electronic circuitry is included in a very wide range of products including computers, white goods, brown goods, telecommunications, and other electronics.

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