Kingston today announced his environmental friendly plans to migrate its manufacturing processes worldwide to be lead free by the end of 2003. Main reason is most likely not because of their love for the enviroment, but because Japan and Europe are soon having green requirements which disallow the use of lead in Electronic products.
Kingston's new environmentally-friendly memory products will be a seamless fit into existing product lines, available worldwide to channel, retail and contract manufacturing customers. Kingston's Asia-Pacific facility will be the first to ship the new lead-free modules.
In addition to the clear environmental impact there are international trade motivations: Japan has a green requirement for companies shipping products into the country beginning in 2004 and Europe is following close behind with new regulations.
Kingston decided the time was right for Pb-free (lead-free) manufacturing and quickly took action. "We explored the best measures for a more environmentally-positive manufacturing process and will begin lead-free manufacturing in 2004. Our logistical and quality assurance research was completed ahead of schedule so we are beginning our roll-out of the Kingston Green Initiative now," said Liesl Schwoebel, product marketing manager, Kingston.
Not only Kingston is facing with this ofcourse, other companies are also dealing with this. A nice report about AMD his Lead Free Packaging Strategy can be found here. And another technical document can be found here.
The EU Directives on Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) and Restriction of Hazardous Substances (RHS) came into force on 13th February 2003 and confirm that any product, of the affected categories, sold in the European market will have to be lead-free from 1 July 2006. While research into the replacement of tin-lead solder in the electronics industry has been underway for at least 15 years, implementation has been slow and industry infrastructure and supply chain management has not yet fully adapted to the new technology.
Many electronic manufacturers view the elimination of Pb from their products as an advantage to product
marketing. However, under a legislative regulation “Pb-free” would be explicitly defined, for market-driven action
“Pb-free” is a much more elastic term. A number of “Pb-free” products have been introduced by, for example,
Panasonic, Toshiba, and Nortel. Other companies, including Hitachi, NEC, Matsushita, and Sony, had announced
plans for conversion to Pb-free assembly during 2000−2001. Many of our customers in the telecommunications and
automotive sectors have programs for development of Pb-free processes and are querying their suppliers regarding
availability of Pb-free compatible components.