Occam Process- Advantages-disadvantages-
custom Pcb Design
The 2006, European, RoHS regulations prompted the research needed to move from traditional lead-based solder connection processes to a more environmentally friendly approach. Much manufacturing is currently being done with tin-based solder to address this issue. Using tin requires much higher reflow temperatures and can result in rework stages due to electric shorts caused by tin-whiskers (electrically conductive structures formed in this process) and other issues in the manufacturing process which are avoided by the Occam process.
PCB’s themselves are usually created by use of a phenolic resin, itself a corrosive, toxic substance completely removed from the Occam process. Also, the nitric acid or ferric chloride used to etch traces into the boards is also removed from the process.
Since the PCB and parts population stages happen in the same process in the same plant, a company would no longer need to wait for delivery of ordered PCB’s to begin manufacturing.
The high temperatures usually seen by PCB’s inside of a reflow soldering oven are avoided by use of this process. This means that any issue of moisture sensitivity (MSL) in components by outgassing of moisture is completely avoided. This also then removes the storage equipment and processes needed to keep the moisture levels low in more intricate and expensive chips.
Currently though the process is set, it has not yet been implemented. It is defined as a “disruptive technology” requiring a complete change in current manufacturing processes. Therefore, cost concerns for manufacturers needing new equipment, labour concerns for current PCB manufactures and others will need to be solved or addressed before widespread adoption of this process.
Although many toxic chemicals are removed from the traditional process, Occam’s increased use of encapsulation by epoxy could mean more of that sort of waste. The usual additives in epoxy have been shown to mimic estrogen, possibly resulting in adverse hormonal responses in humans.
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