Texas Instruments Offers Lead-Free Logic Devices

2/13/2003 - As a leading supplier of Pb-free electronic integrated circuit (IC) packages, Texas Instruments (TI) (NYSE: TXN) announces that its complete logic portfolio is now offered in Pb-free solutions. TI has had lead-free finishes in use for a number of logic packages since the late 1980s and has now converted 100% of its logic portfolio to improved lead-free finishes and balls. By implementing these strategic finishes and balls, TI logic packages are now classified per the J-STD-020B (Max Reflow temp of 250 degrees C) Pb-free parameters.

"Although legislation being passed in various regions is requiring OEMs to manufacture lead-free product at a later date, we are seeing many manufacturers making the transition now as a competitive advantage in their markets," stated David Hoover, worldwide product marketing manager for TI's Standard Linear and Logic Group. "We currently have customers who will only procure Pb-free components, and the others who are currently making the transition have numerous concerns. We want to help make the transition as simple as possible."

"Solectron is a leading provider of lead-free manufacturing services, offering lead-free prototyping and high-volume lead-free services for customers," said Jasbir Bath, an advisory process engineer of Solectron Corporation. "With an increase in demand for our lead-free services, we are working closely with innovative suppliers, such as Texas Instruments, to ensure a seamless transition to lead-free product manufacturing for our customers worldwide."

Lead-Frame Based Packages
TI has chosen the nickel palladium gold (NiPdAu) finish as the preferred Pb-free finish for all leadframe-based packages. Two major customer concerns driving the decision to use NiPdAu finish were compatibility with Pb-free solders and tin (Sn) whisker growth.

Compatibility of Pb-free component finishes with both SnPb and Pb-free solders is an obstacle in selecting an adequate lead-free finish. NiPdAu finish is solderable with both SnPb and the industry standard Pb-free solder alloy, SnAgCu, making it backward and forward compatible. This compatibility with both current and future solders makes it possible to utilize NiPdAu finish components during and after the industry transition to Pb-free.

A second concern in selection of a lead-free finish is whisker growth. Tin finish is a Pb-free option being offered by many suppliers. Some customers have expressed concerns about any possibility that Sn whiskers may grow and eventually short metal surfaces or break off within a finished assembly. Eliminating the possibility of Sn whiskers was a motivator in the TI Logic decision to utilize NiPdAu finish.

Ball Grid Array Packages
TI has also qualified Pb-Free ball alloys for its LFBGA, VFBGA, and WCSP logic packaging offerings. The MicroStar BGA, MicroStar Jr. BGA, and the NanoFreeTM Logic packages all use SnAgCu alloys. SnAgCu alloys are the Pb-free choice in the industry for ball grid array packages.

Moisture Sensitivity Performance
Moisture sensitivity performance of IC packages is a user concern because of the potential for "popcorning" and delamination caused by expansion of moisture trapped inside the plastic during reflow. The higher melting point of Pb-free SnAgCu solder alloys compared with SnPb demands higher peak reflow temperatures in Pb-free soldering processes. Thus, component suppliers will be required to classify their components for moisture sensitivity performance at lead-free processing temperatures. In some cases this will mean implementing advanced material sets capable of being used in the higher-temperature processes.

In July of 2002, IPC/JEDEC released J-STD-020B, "Moisture/Reflow Sensitivity Classification for Nonhermetic Solid State Surface Mount Devices." This standard includes parameters for classifying moisture sensitivity performance of IC packages for use in Pb-free processes. All TI Logic packages are now classified per J-STD-020B (Max Reflow temp of 250 degrees C) Pb-free parameters. Shipping labels on packing materials of current production material now indicate moisture sensitivity rating at J-STD-020B parameters for the following leadframe-based package styles: SOIC, SOP, SSOP, TSSOP, and TVSOP. In addition, Logic devices built in MicroStar BGA MicroStar Jr and NanoStar packages now reflect J-STD-020B ratings on packing labels. This is a key achievement because IC packages must utilize Pb-free finishes/balls and must be capable of use in higher temperature Pb-free processes.

Transition Period and Pricing
All of TI Logic Products leadframe packages are available today in TIs strategic Pb-free NiPdAu finish and rated for use in Pb-free processes per J-STD-020B. Other Pb-free options can be supplied upon demand for packages scheduled for conversion to NiPdAu finish by 2Q 2003. Logic devices utilizing array style packages are available now with SnAgCu ball alloys and are also rated per J-STD-020B parameters. Pricing for logic devices will not be affected by the conversion.

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