The U.S. aerospace industry group, The Government Electronics Industries Association (GEIA), is planning to release guidelines on performance and qualification testing for lead-free solder during the first quarter of 2008. According to an item in ELFNET, the GEIA report, “Guidance Regarding the Performance and Qualification Testing of Aerospace and High-Performance Lead-Free Interconnects,” will be released at the end of this year at the earliest.
The reason behind the guidelines is that aerospace manufacturers may find themselves using lead-free parts even though they are exempt as an industry. For the past couple decades, the defense and aerospace industries have been buying commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) parts because they are less expensive than the hi-reliability military-specification parts.
Most of the suppliers of COTS parts are now moving to lead-free versions and some of them are phasing out their leaded versions. Consequently, many aerospace manufacturers are considering the use lead-free parts. If so, they’re going to need considerable information about the performance and qualification of lead-free components. The project from GEIA will give industry guidance, including test procedures for predicting performance and reliability in the harsh environments common to the aerospace industries.