Lead-free solder has several advantages over lead-based solder. Many companies in the microelectronics manufacturing and repair industries have transitioned to lead-free solder because of these benefits. Not only is lead-free solder a green option, but it also has benefits in manufacturing.
Since lead-free solder does not have lead, it is a more environmentally friendly option than lead-based solder. Following precautionary procedures may protect employees from lead poisoning, but the environmental benefits of lead-free solder extend well beyond the assembly plant. Components that are made with lead-free solder are recyclable, unlike electronics manufactured with lead-based solder. As environmental regulations continue to increase, some companies are being forced to build recyclable electronics. For instance, the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Directive (WEEE) requires 85 percent of the electronics a company sells to be recyclable. Using lead-free solder, such as Kester’s Ultrapure Lead-Free Bar Solder from Kimco Distributing, is almost the only way to comply with regulations such as this.
Ronald C. Lasky, who teaches at Dartmouth College, notes that lead-free solder is easier to use than lead-based solder when working with tight pitches. He explains why: “Lead-free solder doesn’t wet well, so you can get better lead spacing.” A study conducted by Motorola confirmed this. It found that when identical boards were soldered with lead-free and lead-based solder, the lead-based solder flowed more and led to the leads shorting. Because it makes soldering high-density semiconductors in small form factors easier, lead-free solder will continue to become even more common as the demand for mobile devices continues to increase.
Because it is the environmentally friendly choice and the practical choice, more and more businesses are opting to work with lead-free solder. Kimco Distributing has a variety of lead-free solders to choose from.