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P&M Services (R) Ltd

Printed circuit board Manufacturer, Photoplotting Established 1964  All types of Pcb, surface mount sm, PTH, SS single     UK Printed Circuit Board manufacturers. UK PCB Manufacture since 1964. single sided SS PCB, PTH PCB, IMS PCB, PCB JPG, DFX PCB

ML multi layer printed circuit board  prototypes. Cheap high quality PCBs Printed circuit boards. Fast cheap UK Prototype PCB

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Lead Free is coming :=
 July 2006 will see the introduction of the Lead Free directive. Which comes into play under the new RoHS Restriction of Hazardous Substances Directive. 

Quite where it will all end up is still a big puzzle some large users are successfully making the change, but it's anyone's guess as to what we will all end up using. Little doubt that Lead is hazardous in the wrong places, but questions remain as to whether circuit boards are the wrong place. Lets hope that its replacement is less toxic and can be proved to work reliably.

We noticed with great interest that some of the early companies that changed over to an almost pure tin solder, have suffered irreparable damage to their plant. It appears that once stainless steel has lost its protective oxide film, molten tin readily dissolves it.

As a PCB manufacturer Lead free isn't a big problem, tin, gold, silver, and organic finishes all comply. The downside is mainly on the assembly side,  as tin lead HASL finish was a very good all rounder. It gave boards a good shelf life followed by problem free assemble and a long joint life for the components. Thick tin along with silver were rejected years ago because of high risk of the metal migrating across the circuit board, creating metal shorts. All that's required is a little moisture combined with electricity and the fun begins. Thin silver, gold, and tin along with organic coating all have short shelf lives and quickly become difficult to solder. Most boards can stripped and reworked so it's not all bad.

The IPC have a Lead Free Forum that's starting to get some input, if you are after more information its well worth a look and can be found at; 


Other sites worth a look at are;

www.lead-free.org/       and       www.smartgroup.org/

If you have any questions please feel free to consult us on Lead Free issues, it coming fast and looks like it's here to stay.  


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