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posted: 12/22/2020 2:25 PM

Electronics manufacturers applaud research funding

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BANNOCKBURN -- IPC, the global association of electronics manufacturers, is applauding a decision by the U.S. Congress on Monday to approve $10 million for research into the issues surrounding lead-free electronics in military and space applications.

Bannockburn-based IPC and its allies had called for these funds to be included in the Fiscal 2021 defense appropriations bill. That bill cleared the U.S. House and Senate as part of an omnibus legislative package. President Donald Trump is expected to sign it.

Over the last 15 years, the commercial electronics industry has largely phased out its use of lead in electronic components and circuit assemblies, driven by government regulations and concerns about lead's harmful effects on human health and the environment. However, the aerospace, defense and high-performance sectors have been reluctant to migrate to lead-free electronics because there is inadequate data on the reliability of those electronics in its applications.

Today's defense electronics are now 15 to 20 years behind the commercial market in terms of the underlying materials used, undermining technological superiority, the group said. "These funds will support a collaborative research effort that will help ensure that mission-critical systems have full access to cutting-edge electronics from a robust global supply chain," said Chris Mitchell, IPC vice president of global government relations.