Industry experts have recognized that Texas Instruments has become the gold standard for environmental compliance. TI was one of the first with a RoHS site, and the company has led the charge to eliminate hazardous materials from its components. This move to green started years before Europe gives us the RoHS directive.
Last month, TI decided to add gold to the finish on its integrated circuit products. Many engineers believe the addition of gold to a finish mitigates the formation of tin whiskers. TI has added gold to its usual Nickel-Palladium finish in order to end worries over whiskers. In a statement, the company noted that gold was their customers’ preferred finish.
The TI announcement of gold content comes after the fact. Today more than 98 percent of TI’s lead-frame based products have been converted to the Nickel-Palladium-Gold finish. The products with the gold finish are also backward compatible with traditional leaded manufacturing processes.
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.