Ever since the invention of the PCB, lead has been used as a solder component in manufacturing pretty much all types of electronic equipment. But, increased demand for lead-free products has rocked the PCB industry. Traditional tin-lead solders have almost been completely replaced by lead-free (LF) solders. However, some major industry players like aerospace vendors and the US military continue to use lead solders. But, overall dependency on lead-based soldering is changing rapidly.
In the future, PCB industry experts expect and hope industry dependence on lead solder will be eliminated. That?s why receiving training on lead-free soldering from IPC-certified experts is becoming extremely important for all aspiring soldering professionals. Here are some reasons why mastering lead-free soldering is so vital for soldering professionals –
Social Outcry Against Lead
The toxic and extremely dangerous effects that lead has on people are commonly known. That?s why many restrictions on the use of lead in PCB manufacturing and soldering have been implemented in the past. The most famous one being the EU?s Restriction of Hazardous Substances (RoHS).
RoHS has been in effect since 2006. It has compelled industry professionals to limit the use of lead and other dangerous materials like polybrominated diphenyl ether, hexavalent chromium, mercury, cadmium, polybrominated biphenyls, etc., in manufacturing processes.
The horrific news of lead contamination in Flint, MI, has added fuel to this fire against the use of lead. Over 140,000 people were exposed to lead via drinking water supplies. The public?s resolve to address the use of lead in soldering and PCB manufacturing has never been stronger.
OEMs and electrics manufacturers are now manufacturing highly advanced devices like ultrasonic motors, transducers, and ferroelectric ceramics. By design, these appliances are meant to come in close contact with humans. If consumers find out these appliances contain PCBs containing toxic lead, manufacturers would have a huge problem.
That?s why manufacturing companies are rushing to employ IPC-certified soldering professionals who know all about lead-free soldering. The Marsden Fund recently awarded a grant worth $774,000 to look into sustainable PCB design and repair.
Notable IPC members like Boeing, Airbus, GE Aviation, and many more are deeply invested in the lead-free solder movement. Aspiring soldering professionals must be wary of these trends and receive appropriate certifications from IPC-certified training centers.
The Impact of IPC Guidelines
The IPC (Institute for Printed Circuits) is now known as the ?Association Connecting Electronics Industries.? The term ?IPC? has been extremely significant in the electronics manufacturing industry ever since the organization was founded in 1957. Hence, everyone involved in the electronics manufacturing industry still calls it IPC.
This global industry organization is dedicated to boosting competition and innovation in the PCB manufacturing industry. It is spearheading advanced technology in the sector, creating strict industry-related standards, and promoting environmental protection. Hence, ensuring that all PCB professionals master the art of lead-free soldering is high on IPC?s list of priorities.
The IPC-J-STD-001 standards regarding soldered electrical assemblies are currently the most important set of electronics manufacturing guidelines across the world. All leading manufacturers and electronics industry professionals abide by the IPC J-STD-001 requirements.
These standards also aim to help electronics manufacturers and soldering professionals create an increasingly lead-free marketplace. Since soldering professionals can?t be expected to know about lead-free soldering overnight, they are recommended to receive training from IPC-certified professionals.
They need to know how different types of lead-free solders react to different temperatures, the skills and techniques to master these types of lead-free soldering processes, and plenty more under the watchful instructions of IPC-certified trainers.
Plus, the best IPC-J-STD-001 certification courses teach soldering professionals much more than just lead-free soldering processes. These training programs are taught strictly per IPC soldering rules. By receiving the?best solder training in Illinois (IPC certified), soldering professionals will -?
- Learn what IPC standards say about the use of certain materials and methods for producing both high-quality lead-free and soldered leaded interconnections.
- Learn about IPC?s plans to further widen the range of electronic connections.
- J-STD-001 certification programs are ?industry traceable.? Hence, technicians and soldering professionals who have their J-STD-001 certifications are recognized globally by every IPC-associated manufacturing company.
- These educational-based training classes offer soldering professionals the perfect chance to verify their hand-soldering skills and prepare for future challenges and trends in the soldering industry.
- Professionals who receive these certifications are proven to be better workers. Their in-depth understanding of IPC guidelines regarding various soldering processes and procedures makes them better-equipped to function better in teams and meet their employers? requirements.
A lead-free manufacturing industry is only possible if more soldering professionals receive proper IPC-certified training. In addition to going lead-free, the global electronics manufacturing industry is also interested in minimizing project delays and cost overruns. Industry changes are compelling them to use different soldering techniques for different projects. They know IPC-certified professionals are better equipped to meet these high demands!