The Importance of Conformal Coating, Now and in the Future


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Holden: Switching gears a bit, I understand some things are happening with alloys that you’d like to spread the word about. Please give our readers your thoughts.

O’Neill: I’d be glad to. SAC305 has been the de facto standard since lead-free came into general practice 10 years ago. Now that RoHS 2 will be implemented in July of 2018, that means, essentially, the entire PCB electronic soldering will be lead-free unless you have a specific exemption from the EU. While this is limiting in some respects, it's opening the door to a whole new family of alloys, by giving solder alloy developers access to bismuth as a constituent in SMT and through hole solder alloy.

AIM has developed two new alloys, REL61TM and patent pending REL22TM. Both alloys address several issues with SAC305. SAC305 is prone to weakening and mechanical failure if it's exposed to thermal cycling. Imagine an LED light that turns off 10 or 20 times per day in a room that has a proximity sensor, for example. That device is getting cycled hot-cold-hot-cold-hot-cold all day every day. In a SAC solder joint, there's an opportunity for a failure mechanism. Our new alloys address that problem as well as addressing some other issues. Our field data is coming back with tremendously positive results as it relates to voiding on bottom terminated devices, which is another huge manufacturing issue for the industry.

Holden: Will you be in Chicago in September, at SMTAI?

O’Neill: In fact, we will be exhibiting and presenting. Our PhD Metallurgist Mehran Maalekian will be presenting more scientific data on alloy development. He'll give the very detailed, in-depth explanation of the failure mechanisms of SAC and what other elements and micro-alloy constituents that we incorporate into an alloy that solves these problems. It's quite interesting. I have been totally absorbed in understanding alloys and chemistry for the last 20 years and this is probably the most interesting subject I’ve been directly involved with.

Holden: With that, I want to thank you, Tim, for joining me.

O’Neill: Thank you, Happy. It was a real pleasure.

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