The percentage of component suppliers that will change part numbers for lead-free versions of their components is rising. According to a survey of 500 semiconductor, passives and electromechanical part manufacturers conducted by SiliconExpert Technologies Inc. – a parts database company in Santa Clara, Calif. – 71 percent of electronics component suppliers globally say they will change their part numbers for components that comply with the European Union’s RoHS directive.
The percentage is up from earlier industry surveys that indicated only about 60 to 65 percent of supplier planned to change part numbers. In November 2004, a survey by Technology Forecasters Inc. found that only 54 percent of suppliers intended to change their part numbers. A more recent survey by the Alameda, Calif. research firm revealed results that were closer to the SiliconExpert survey.
Component distributors has repeatedly called for new part numbers for compliant parts, arguing that returns will be nightmarish if non-compliant and compliant parts carry the same ID number. Many suppliers have balked at changing numbers, countering that keeping the same part number reinforces that view that the part didn’t fundamentally change when it became compliant.