Pulse Engineering announces plan for compliance with the RoHS (Restriction of Hazardous Substances) European Union directive

February 22, 2005

3 Min Read

SAN DIEGO, Calif. -- Pulse®, a Technitrol (NYSE: TNL) Company, one of the world’s largest electronic component manufacturers, and a leader in passive, magnetics-based components, announced its plan for compliance with the RoHS (Restriction of Hazardous Substances) European Union Directive. Pulse has started implementing the requirements of the legislation in the products it develops and manufactures. New products are being designed to be RoHS compliant and existing products are being evaluated and upgraded to be compliant with both the material and production process requirements of RoHS. Conversion of Pulse production operations is in process and will be completed during 2005. Customer requirements are being given top priority in conversion of both current products and production operations. Products that qualify for the Directive’s exemption, including those used in network infrastructure applications, will be converted to RoHS compliance only by customer request.

The RoHS Directive became European law February 13, 2003. European Union member states must ensure that by July 1, 2006, new commercial, electrical and electronic equipment does not contain lead (Pb) or any of the other restricted hazardous materials identified in the legislation such as mercury (Hg), cadmium (Cd), hexavalent chromium (Cr VI), polybrominated biphenyls (PBB), and polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDE).

Pulse’s RoHS compliance program has six major elements.

1. RoHS compliant material: Pulse has identified non-RoHS compliant materials used in its products. Older products are being redesigned where possible to eliminate non-RoHS compliant materials and ensure they will withstand RoHS compliant production processes. Pulse is developing a detailed database of the chemical composition of supplier materials to assure that material content is thoroughly defined and understood. This database is being used to address customer inquiries regarding RoHS compliant material chemistries.

2. Termination solder coating: To eliminate lead in its products, Pulse is offering plating with tin (Sn) on the component-to-board solderable terminations (leadframes or pins). Pulse selected 100% tin (Sn 100) for coating component leads on most products because it is compatible with leaded and most lead-free solder chemistries.

Preliminary tin whisker testing, based on the draft NEMI article “Test Method for Evaluating Tin Whisker Growth on Plated Surfaces” dated June 17, 2004, revision 6.1, has been completed by an independent testing laboratory. Results show tin whisker growth levels acceptable for Class 2 applications. To reduce the possibility of tin whisker growth, Pulse uses a matte tin finish with a nickel under-plate and a hot-dip process for Sn 100 final lead plating.

The RoHS Directive allows an exemption for lead in solders for network infrastructure equipment for telecommunications and servers, storage, and storage array systems. Products for these applications will be converted to lead-free solder only by customer request. Military/Aerospace products will also not undergo conversion to RoHS compliance unless specifically requested.

3. Moisture sensitivity levels (MSL): Testing for MSL has been conducted to verify that Pulse RoHS compliant products meet the levels defined in IPC/JEDEC standard J-STD-020C with dry packing in accordance with J-STD-033A. When subjected to the higher temperature lead-free solder reflow processes, no degradation in MSL has been found.

4. Product and packaging labeling: RoHS compliant products are identified with an “NL” suffix on the part number. First-level boxes and shipping packaging for compliant products will be labeled with an RoHS compliant logo to identify compliant products.

5. Production conversion: Certain areas of Pulse’s factories have been dedicated to RoHS compliant production lines. Controls are in place to assure that compliant and non-compliant products are not mixed in the production environment. Non-RoHS compliant products will continue to be available, but as volumes decline, lead times and prices may increase.

6. Customer notification of availability: As products and their associated production processes are converted to RoHS compliance, the Pulse Sales organization will notify customers of their availability.

Pulse Engineering Inc.

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