Low-temperature soldering reduces emissions


Wednesday, 15 February, 2017

Technology company Lenovo has announced a new low-temperature solder (LTS) process, developed to improve PC manufacturing by conserving energy and increasing reliability.

Lenovo said it investigated thousands of combinations of solder paste material composed of a mixture of tin, copper, bismuth nickel and silver, specific compositions of flux material and unique profiles of time and heat temperatures that combine to enable the new manufacturing process. The process can be applied not only to Lenovo products, but all electronics manufacturing involving printed circuit boards (PCBs).

The new process starts out just like standard electronics assembly using surface mount technology (SMT), with the solder and flux mixture first printed on the face of the circuit board. The components are then added and heat is applied to melt the solder mixture, securing and connecting the components to the board. However, soldering heat is then applied at a maximum temperature of 180°C — a reduction of 70°C from the previous method.

Lenovo used existing materials to compose the solder paste and existing oven equipment for heating, meaning the new system can be implemented without increasing production costs. The company expects better reliability for its devices due to lower heat stress during the ‘oven bake’ procedure, having observed a 50% decrease in PCB warpage and a reduction in defective parts per million during the manufacturing process. Furthermore, the process is set to reduce Lenovo’s CO2 emissions by 35% during 2017; by the end of 2018, the company expects to be saving 5956 tonnes of CO2 per year.

“By implementing the new LTS process, Lenovo is continuing to show its commitment to upholding sustainable business practices across its PC business,” said Luis Hernandez, vice president, Lenovo PC and Smart Devices Integrated Development Center.

“We are dedicated to advancing our business goals while reducing our impact on the environment and we’re proud this process achieves that.”

In 2018 Lenovo intends to offer the new procedure for use on an industry-wide basis free of charge.

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