Lead-free solder has had considerable effects on commercial and industrial electronics assemblies and printed-circuit boards (PCBs), and may have growing impact on military and aerospace applications. This assessment comes courtesy of a market research study by IPC—Association Connecting Electronics Industries. The IPC report, “Issues and Outlook for Lead-Free Electronics in Military and Aerospace Applications,” explores current and future expectations for lead-free solder use in high-reliability applications.

The study examines the costs of reworking circuit assemblies into lead-free formats and how such transformations will affect production processes and costs. As Sharon Starr, IPC director of market research, notes: “Many manufacturers today must depend on a dual supply chain to accommodate both leaded and lead-free processes. The study finds that maintaining dual processes, along with the growing scarcity of some leaded components.” The study also investigates the expected effects of scarce leaded components, as more electronic parts move to lead-free format. The cost of the report is $250 each for IPC members and $500 each for nonmembers.