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HUGHES BEGINS THE ELIMINATION OF CFCs IN ELECTRONICS MANUFACTURING

HUGHES BEGINS THE ELIMINATION OF CFCs IN ELECTRONICS MANUFACTURING
 WASHINGTON, Jan. 23 /PRNewswire/ -- Hughes Aircraft Co. has begun the elimination of ozone-depleting chemicals in its electronic manufacturing processes while still meeting rigid military quality standards, it was announced today by Dr. Malcolm Currie, chairman of the board and chief executive officer, in Washington, and by Dr. Scott Walker, senior vice president, in Los Angeles.
 "This is a major breakthrough in the production of military electronics because it allows manufacturers like Hughes to continue supplying the U.S. with high quality products while keeping the environment clean," said Currie.
 Hughes, a subsidiary of GM Hughes Electronics, is the largest manufacturer of military electronics in the United States. Annual sales for the company are about $8 billion.
 The company has begun using a Hughes-developed process using a non-toxic formula with a citric acid-base that is soluble in water, called HF1189. The new manufacturing process does not require environmentally damaging chlorofluorocarbon (CFC)-based chemicals.
 Hughes engineers expect the new solution and processes can remove up to two-thirds of the CFC-based solvents required in the company for the soldering of military electronics amounting to approximately 300,000 pounds per year.
 The potential destruction of the Earth's protective ozone layer by CFCs is considered as one of the most important environmental challenges of the 1990s.
 Chlorfluorocarbons, banned by international agreement for production by the year 2000, are currently used in the manufacture of nearly all high-quality electronics around the world. CFCs are contained in the solvents required to clean rosin-based solder flux from electronics after soldering.
 The Hughes HF1189 flux allows for a high quality bond during the soldering process, yet requires cleaning with just water, not solvents.
 While some electronics manufacturers building to commercial standards have been able to remove CFCs from the workplace, Hughes is one of the first military electronics companies building to military specifications to begin the elimination of CFCs.
 "The enormous challenge to military manufacturers has been to find environmentally safe alternatives to CFCs while still maintaining the high quality required in the defense products," said Currie.
 "We are gratified for the enormous support and assistance given to Hughes in overcoming this challenge. The Department of Defense, the U.S. Navy, the U.S. Army, the Environmental Protection Agency and the South Coast Air Quality Management District in California have eagerly encouraged and assisted Hughes."
 The environmentally safe Hughes substance, HF1189, was developed in 1989 at the company's Fullerton, Calif.-based Ground Systems Group. It has undergone testing for two years where engineers have perfected the complicated manufacturing processes required to meet the high quality standards.
 Following the acceptance of approvals by the U.S. Navy, HF1189 has been used in the manufacture of one Hughes product during the past year with no decrease in quality levels over previous materials and processes. Hughes began using HF1189 in the manufacture of several other products as well during 1991.
 The company is now working with the U.S. government to get the military specification modified to allow the use of water-based fluxes, such as HF1189, as standard material. Expected sometime this summer, this modification will allow any military electronics manufacturer to use environmentally safe water-based fluxes without going through additional extensive and costly acceptance tests.
 Hughes has filed for patents on the solution and the processes. The company is also negotiating distribution and marketing licenses with other companies that will make HF1189 and the processes available to all manufacturers of military electronics.
 "We are currently expanding the use of HF1189 throughout the company on a product-by-product basis," said Currie. "We are using it on several additional products and will accelerate its use once the military specification is modified.
 "Hughes is going to eliminate the use of CFCs in our manufacturing processes at the earliest possible time. We want to do it well before the dates mandated by the Montreal Protocol. We have other environmental efforts underway in the company that allow us to do that for other areas where HF1189 will not be used."
 The Montreal Protocol, signed initially by more than 40 nations in 1987, calls for the reduction of CFCs by at least 20 percent by 1993 based upon 1986 levels. Additional reductions are required by 1995 and 1997 with total elimination by 2000.
 The continued depletion of the Earth's protective ozone layer, which is most obvious between August and December each year in ozone "holes" over Antarctica and the North Pole, will allow added excessive amounts of ultraviolet radiation from the sun. Excessive ultraviolet radiation is harmful to people and animals.
 The conversion to HF1189 not only removes ozone-depleting chemicals from Hughes manufacturing processes, but is also proving to be a tremendous cost saver.
 The company estimates it will save several million dollars annually by converting its wave soldering machines to the new process.
 People needing technical information on HF1189 can contact the information desk at Hughes Environmental Systems Inc., 800-262-4374.
 -0- 1/23/92
 /CONTACT: Dan Reeder of Hughes Aircraft Co., 714-732-4631/ CO: Hughes Aircraft Co. ST: California IN: ARO SU:


EH-JL -- LA010 -- 2674 01/23/92 10:02 EST
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Date:Jan 23, 1992
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