The module aim

Our module is about implementing lead-free in electronics, one of a number of examples in the past 20 years where lead has been removed from products that have an impact on everyone’s lives, such as plumbing components, paint and petrol.

Electronics is the last of these, and the move is just as far-reaching in its consequences for the electronics industry as it was for suppliers, manufacturers and users of plumbing components, paint and automotive fuel. As in the last of these, you will find issues of incompatibility between old methods and new materials, and even some applications that will no longer “work with the new fuel”. The solution, as with petrol, is primarily to use lead-free equivalent materials, but there are also analogues within the electronic industry for alternative sources of energy such as hydrogen and batteries.

We aren’t going to pursue the parallels further, but be aware that lead-free in electronics will have a similar impact on the whole of the market-place, be equally unstoppable, and be associated with other related environmental issues that will take over on centre stage once the lead-free focus has passed into history.

As well as discussing the technology options, we shall be taking an equal, if not greater, interest in the practicalities of implementing lead-free. When we examine the consequences for an organization, we will find that almost everyone is involved, and the cost consequences are generally very significant, so you will be involved in managing change. Also, because lead-free implementation is a major event, the whole project needs to be planned. So there is a significant management content in this module.