In order to support customers in their planning for compliance with the EU's Restriction on Hazardous Substances (RoHS ) directive, which restricts the use of certain hazardous substances in electrical and electronic products, ERNI has prepared a suitable roadmap. This document, which has also been made available for download at www.erni.com/leadfree provides information about the strategy that ERNI is using for the development of new products and for current products in order to comply with the RoHS directive, which takes effect on July 1, 2006.
All new connector developments from ERNI are already implemented in lead-free connecting technology (pure tin). This affects all types of connections, such as SMT, THR (through hole) and press-fit technology.
The material used for the insulating body for SMT and THR connectors is designed to be suitable for the higher temperatures used in lead-free soldering processes, and it contains none of the forbidden substances, such as mercury, cadmium, hexavalent chrome, polybromated biphenyl (PBB) or polybrominated diphenyl ether (PBDE). Consequently, the connectors comply with the RoHS directive.
As a rule, the contact surfaces are gold-plated. For the terminal connections, a matte surface of pure tin is employed. ERNI generally employs a nickel barrier layer between the base material and the top coating. The terminal connection surface that is used features backwards compatibility, which means that solders containing lead can be used as well as lead-free solders. For press-fit technology, no limitations arise with regard to function or processing.
All other standard connector series will also be available for delivery in lead-free versions. As far as the insulation body (LCP or PA) is concerned, many of ERNI's connectors are already configured for the higher temperatures that can arise during reflow soldering (up to 26°C). Tests have shown that connectors with insulating bodies made of PBT can also be wave soldered without the use of lead. For lead-free reflow soldering, these connectors are available in THR variants with high-temperature material.
Since early 2004, all current products have been transitioning to "lead-free" connection technology. In this area, ERNI prefers a matte tin coating, which ensures better solderability and storability.
The part numbers (order numbers) will not be changed. The current inventory will be exchanged or used up in accordance with the FIFO principle. All lead-free products will be clearly labeled as such. On ERNI's homepage, it is possible to enter the part number to check to see if the changeover has already taken place for a given article.
For more information, visit www.erni.com.