Lead-free solders for electronics have been actively pursued since the early 1990's here and abroad for environmental, legislative, and competitive reasons. The National Center for Manufacturing Sciences (NCMS-US)
The automotive industry has some unique requirements that demand extensive testing of new materials and processes prior to implementation. The specific steps taken at Delphi Automotive Systems with lead-free solder will be described along with the lessons learned along the way. This includes the alloy down-selection which lead to several interesting alloys. Product emulator builds will be described beginning with hand-assembled units which were used to demonstrate product viability on to production line builds which were used to assess manufacturing challenges. Finally, any remaining roadblocks to full implementation will be described along with the plans to eliminate them.