RoHS is misguided, ineffective and costly. That’s the essential message from SiliconPipe CEO Joseph Fjelstad in a commentary that ran in Design News sister publication, Electronic Business. Fjelstad claims “there is zero evidence of harm from lead in electronic solder.” He also notes that lead in electronic solder accounts for less than 0.5 percent of all lead used globally.
Fjelstad goes on to insist that “lead from electronic solders that does end up in landfills does not leach into ground water, even with years of legacy lead from many other sources such as batteries and lead painted structures.” He believes the switch to lead-free solders actually makes things worse for the environment, saying, “Lead-free solders contain substantial percentages of more expensive silver (3 to 4 percent) which pose a risk to beneficial microbial life and fish larva."
Fjelstad believes there is good and bad environmental legislation regarding lead. He nods to the removal of lead from gasoline and paint as good examples. He points to RoHS as the worst mandate against lead. His solution: “It needs to be repealed. It’s never too late to get things right.”
For industrial control applications, or even a simple assembly line, that machine can go almost 24/7 without a break. But what happens when the task is a little more complex? That’s where the “smart” machine would come in. The smart machine is one that has some simple (or complex in some cases) processing capability to be able to adapt to changing conditions. Such machines are suited for a host of applications, including automotive, aerospace, defense, medical, computers and electronics, telecommunications, consumer goods, and so on. This discussion will examine what’s possible with smart machines, and what tradeoffs need to be made to implement such a solution.