Letters to the Editor

Dec. 1, 2005

Tin-whisker issues deserve to be on the front burner

Well, it’s been a few years since my tin-whisker presentation at the Military & Aerospace Electronics Conference in San Diego. I can still recall you emphatically encouraging the audience to take the subject seriously and Joe Chapman standing up and concurring with your position. Since then the tin-whisker issue and its impact on all high-reliability electronics has continued to receive more and more attention.

Unfortunately, as you so eloquently point out in your October 2005 article, “Lead-free solder: A train wreck in the making,” the momentum within the Defense Department to develop and implement a comprehensive solution is just not there.

I know that there are many smaller groups within the defense industry, most notably, Raytheon, the Navy’s BMP/COE in Baltimore, and CALCE, that are working on mitigation techniques, fully aware of the potential impact of tin whiskers.

On behalf of all those who do “get it,” I want to say thank you for helping keep the issue on the front burner. At the end of the day we’re all responsible for making sure that issues of this magnitude do not get swept under the bureaucratic carpet.

Joe Zaccari
Director of Business Development
Stilwell Baker Inc.
(previously of Corfin Industries)
Tualatin, Ore.
[email protected]

No-lead solder problems continue to plague industry

Thank you for publishing your “Train wreck in the making” article in the October 2005 issue of Military & Aerospace Electronics. I really liked what you wrote, but didn’t quite understand the last statement.

We are one of those last boutique houses doing Mil-Qualified inductors (MIL-PRF-39010, MIL-PRF-15305, MIL-PRF-83446, & MIL-PRF-27). Our decision was to try to maintain support to both sides-the MilAero using tin/lead and the lead-free/RoHS businesses. We know this trend all too well.

It is so difficult trying to maintain our inductors as USA-manufactured products when engineers are given the opportunities these shortsighted, government officials allow. I’m not sure which one had the first impact-the COTS initiative or NAFTA-but now with RoHS our business constantly is being pushed to (as you say) follow the money.

We’ve become such a “throw-away, it’s-not-my-problem” society that it is slowly destroying this country’s industrial backbone. It will be far too late for action to save what will be left. Our leaders in government can’t be taking enough notice to what any of those initiatives really are doing to U.S. industry-especially to the smaller operations like ours that have supported the U.S. military for so long. Do you really believe that AA-05-01 will help an API Delevan?

Is anyone making strong enough recommendations or the right decisions for long-term vision with this country’s best interests in mind? Try breaking into the European Union electronics industry with their “buy from within” legislation. Yet RoHS and WEEE are forcing this country’s businesses to follow their globalization model. By the way, anybody know what is happening to the EIA and their subcommittees for the various electronic components? Wasn’t that Government sponsored?

It only seems they want to waste millions of taxpayer dollars to form investigative subcommittees into what went wrong, usually after it’s too late. Can’t wait for their next brilliant initiative that will put more Americans out of jobs.

Thank you for putting some of the trend to print.

Bill Grajek
Senior Account Manager, API Delevan
East Aurora, N.Y.

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