Electronics Assembly Knowledge, Vision & Wisdom
Dross Elimination and Prevention
Dross Elimination and Prevention
This paper will show the true cost of dross in 2008/2009 terms including metal replacement, loss of efficiency, and safety.
Production Floor

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Authored By:
Daniel (Baer) Feinberg
Fein-Line Associates
P. KAY Metal, Inc.
Los Angeles, California USA

Transcript
Dross generation has always been a costly issue for the electronics assembly industry. At least half, and in many cases, more than half of the metal purchased for electronics manufacture is wasted as it becomes tied up in dross.

With the advent of lead free solders as well as the spike in tin prices during 2008, the moderate economic pain of dross generation has become acute.

In addition to metal cost, lead free solders have become known to exacerbate quality issues such as copper dissolution.

A process introduced two years ago cures virtually all problems caused by dross and has now been shown in production to mitigate some of the other issues associated with lead free solders.

This paper will show the true cost of dross in 2008/2009 terms, including metal replacement, loss of efficiency, and safety as well as environmental and quality issues which clearly demonstrate a need for a solution to this problem. Updated full production data at major EMS assemblers as well as lab test data are included.

Summary
Dross generation has always been a costly issue for the electronics assembly industry. At least half, and in many cases, more than half of the metal (solder) purchased for electronic manufacture is wasted as it becomes tied up in dross. With the advent of lead free solders as well as the spike in tin prices during 2008 the moderate economic pain of dross generation has become acute. In addition to metal cost, lead free solders have become known to exacerbate quality issues such as copper dissolution.

A process introduced two years ago cures virtually all problems caused by dross and has now been shown in production to mitigate some of the other issues associated with lead free solders. This paper will show the true cost of dross in 2008/2009 terms, including metal replacement, loss of efficiency, and safety as well as environmental and quality issues which clearly demonstrate a need for a solution to this problem. In addition to dross elimination the process has been shown in the lab to reduce temperatures for wave and selective soldering and to improve wetting.

Updated full production data at major EMS assemblers as well as lab test data will be presented. In addition to answering the technical questions, why and how the "economics of dross" will be examined and a specific and significant cost savings scenario will be presented based on the first two years of full production.

Conclusions
The use of this new material provides a path to reduce at least part of the increased costs associated with lead free soldering while standard leaded soldering also benefits from the use of this material. There is data generated by testing labs and production users that show cleaner, brighter solder joints and improved wetting as well as a measurable and significant reduction in solder process related defects and improved throughput. This process allows for a significant reduction in a using facilities hazardous waste. This makes sense as the solder bath itself is clean and running in a steady state mode when using it AND, The Cost Savings Are Substantial.

Initially Published in the IPC Proceedings

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