Infineon, Philips and STMicroelectronics Propose International Lead-Free Standard

July 14, 2001 by Jeff Shepard

Infineon Technologies (Germany), Philips Semiconductors (Netherlands) and STMicroelectronics (Switzerland) unveiled a proposal for a standard for defining and evaluating lead-free semiconductor devices. Starting in February 2001, the companies have developed the proposed standard, which provides a common definition of lead-free and assesses factors such as solderability and reliability of alternative materials.

"At present, there is not even an internationally agreed definition of the maximum amount of lead that can be allowed in a lead-free component or process," said Dr. Wolfgang Block, head of the environment protection and safety-management sector at Infineon. "The market is confused because there are no rules or standards so far for the evaluating of alternative technologies. What we are doing is proposing some key ground rules that will help accelerate progress. Our initiative shows the inevitable transition to 'green' assembly on a global scale."

"Europe has taken the lead in proposing the world's first legislation to eliminate lead from electronic equipment and components," said Leo Klerks, environmental officer at Philips. "Our three companies' interest in using lead-free soldering technologies has partly been fueled by legislative restrictions from the European Union. Effective from the first of January, 2006, materials such as lead, mercury, cadmium and others will be forbidden in electrical and electronic devices. By sharing our knowledge and enthusiasm, Europe's leading semiconductor manufacturers can make huge steps towards meeting this goal."