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Report: Pb-free still a fraction of production.

BANNOCKBURN, IL -- When it comes to Pb-free readiness, North American OEMs trail their counterparts in Asia and Europe. However, barely half the Asian OEMs declared themselves "fully engaged" in Pb-free assembly.

That's according to the "Report on IPC Lead-Free Preparedness Study," released by IPC (ipc.org) in October. The study looked at the level of Pb-free implementation at 196 OEMs and 94 EMS companies worldwide. (IPC did not break out the number of respondents in each region.) In it, EMS companies worldwide indicate they are farther along on the path to Pb-free than OEMs, with Asia leading the other major manufacturing regions (table).

The report warned that the percentage of implementation by North American OEMs can be misinterpreted. "Some North American OEMs produce products that are today either exempt or excluded from the RoHS requirements. In addition, some OEMs produce product for consumption only in North America or other regions and as a result, at the time of the publication of this report, are not affected by RoHS or RoHS-type requirements."

However, being "prepared" for Pb-free has yet to translate into volume production. On average, less than 10% of assemblies are Pb-free. That trend is expected to shift by 2010, when respondents expect 90% of assemblies to be Pb-free.

Both sectors indicated reliability concerns, component acquisition and labeling, and inventory management as the greatest hindrances to lead-free implementation. Systems and inventory management, and components, were identified as the major costs in Pb-free implementation.
Who is Pb-Free Ready?

 Fully Engaged Unprepared
 EMS OEM EMS OEM

Asia 78% 51% 2% 18%
N. America 65% 34% 8% 26%
Europe 64% 48% 3% 17%
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Title Annotation:Industry NEWS
Author:Buetow, Mike
Publication:Circuits Assembly
Date:Dec 1, 2006
Words:270
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