The international Electronics Manufacturing Initiative’s (iNEMI) Tin Whisker User Group has released a major update to its publication, “Recommendations on Lead-Fee Finishes for Components Used in High-Reliability Products. The latest version – which is available for download – includes significant changes to some of the group’s previous recommendations as well as the addition of new recommendations.
The guidelines the group had developed are intended to minimize the risk of failures from tin whiskers. This latest update includes recommendations for component finishes for a variety of applications and reflects the best judgment of the User Group members, which includes representatives from Agilent, Alcatel-Lucent, Celestica, Cisco Systems, Delphi Electronics & Safety, Hewlett-Packard, IBM, Sun Microsystems and Tyco Electronics.
The new recommendations look at issues such as corrosion, mechanical stress, use of tin over brass or tin over steel, thermal-cycled end use environments, and non-columnar grain structure. The group has also expanded its discussion of bright tin, making formal recommendations regarding its use. While bright tin is generally not recommended, the group indicates that there are some applications where it may be viable, particularly with some of the new bright tin platings. The group outlines specific mitigation and testing practices for its use.