U.S. Congress Approves Funds for R&D on Lead-Free Electronics in Aerospace, Defense and High-Performance Applications


Reading time ( words)

The U.S. Congress on Monday approved $10 million for research into the issues surrounding lead-free electronics in mission-critical applications.

IPC, the global association of electronics manufacturers, and its allies had called for these funds to be included in the Fiscal 2021 defense appropriations bill. That bill cleared the U.S. House and Senate last night as part of an omnibus legislative package. President Trump is expected to sign it.

Over the last 15 years, the commercial electronics industry has largely phased out its use of lead (Pb) in electronic components and circuit assemblies, driven by government regulations and concerns about lead’s harmful effects on human health and the environment. However, the aerospace, defense and high-performance (ADHP) sectors have been reluctant to migrate to lead-free electronics because there is inadequate data on the reliability of lead-free components in ADHP applications.

The gap between commercial and defense electronics is growing wider as lead-free becomes more established in commercial technologies, and as governments – particularly in Europe – have implemented more stringent rules on the use of lead. Today’s defense electronics are now 15 to 20 years behind the commercial market in terms of the underlying materials used, undermining supply chain resiliency and technological superiority. 

“This vote is a win for U.S. taxpayers, defense readiness, and the electronics industry supply chain,” said Chris Mitchell, IPC vice president of global government relations.

“The migration of the commercial industry to lead-free electronics has created supply-chain concerns for the ADHP sectors that can only be overcome through public-private R&D,” he added. “These funds will support a collaborative research effort that will help ensure that mission-critical systems have full access to cutting-edge electronics from a robust global supply chain.”

“Together with our partners in the Pb-Free Electronics Risk Management (PERM) Council, IPC will continue to advocate for a proactive, long-term approach to this issue,” Mitchell added. 

IPC President and CEO John Mitchell recently delved into these issues in an article in Defense News titled, “Protecting America’s military prowess requires an embrace of lead-free electronics.”

Industry experts believe a five-year, $40 million investment in a public-private R&D program would yield more than $100 million in U.S. defense savings per year and improve military readiness and overall innovation. The Congress provided $5 million for such R&D in FY 2020.

Share

Print


Suggested Items

I-Connect007 Editor’s Choice: Five Must-Reads for the Week

01/08/2021 | Nolan Johnson, I-Connect007
It’s a new year, and time for new resolutions and new beginnings. “New year, new you” certainly is reflected in this past week’s news. We saw several announcements regarding mergers, acquisitions, and organizational changes, plus some government legislation to help kick off the new year. Based on viewing activity, readers were keen to keep up on the changes under way.

IPC Addresses Critical Industry Skills Gaps With Electronics Workforce Training

12/22/2020 | David Hernandez and Carlos Plaza, IPC
Over the past three decades, IPC standards and certification programs have played a critical role in protecting public safety and promoting excellence by ensuring the quality, reliability, and consistency of electronic products. In 2019, IPC worked with its global network of certification centers to certify over 108,000 individuals across 200 countries and 21 languages to seven IPC standards. The ubiquitous adoption of these programs speaks to the strong partnership forged between IPC and the electronics industry.

Survey Results: ‘Are You Currently Hiring?’

11/04/2020 | Michelle Te, I-Connect007
The I-Connect007 research team invited readers to share their thoughts on what's happening with staffing and retention to help prepare for an upcoming issue on this important topic. Here, we delve into the first question, "Are you currently hiring?"



Copyright © 2021 I-Connect007. All rights reserved.