Toshiba to Implement Lead-Free Manufacturing

Toshiba to Implement Lead-Free Manufacturing

Toshiba America Electronic Components, Inc. has announced it is implementing new manufacturing procedures using new materials that support the current industry movement to lead-free manufacturing. TAEC reports it has developed a plan to transition a portion of its manufacturing to lead-free by the end of 2003.

TAEC's implementation of this initiative is driven in part because of the pending European Community directives for Wastes from Electric and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) and Restriction of Hazardous Substances (RoHS). These regulations state that the use of lead and other hazardous substances must be regulated by July 1, 2006. Although there is no similar requirement pending in the U.S. at this time, the European directive minimizing use of lead in semiconductors and electronics equipment will have a widespread impact on the global marketplace, requiring lead-free assemblies.

"As an environmentally conscious company, we are making solutions available to enable our customers to comply with pending lead-free legislation," said Stephen Marlow, executive vice president at TAEC. "We are also taking a very active roll in regulatory standards in an effort to meet manufacturability and reliability under any new guidelines."

The lead-free measures vary from product to product; however, the first step in TAEC's transition plan is making the packages for certain semiconductor products lead-free. Toshiba has carefully evaluated soldering in terms of materials, chemicals, terminal finishes and thermal resistance to choose the optimal alternative to be applied in each product category.

TAEC is also scrutinizing the business issues associated with such a manufacturing transition. For example, since some of TAEC's customers are not considering the move to lead-free components, the transition will involve managing duplicate parts. Other key concerns include customer service, supply chain and inventory management, cost and materials management, supply continuity, and industry coordination.