Automated Alloy Conversion

Why Convert Lead Free IC’s to Lead?

Many High Reliability industries are exempt from using lead free processes, they continue to use lead solder in PCB assemblies. One of the dilemmas facing this industry though is sourcing lead ICs. Lead free is by far the most dominant process in terms of volume. Therefore IC manufacturers are more reluctant to design lead ICs as the small volumes make it uncompetitive.

Therefore the Hi-Rel industries have to convert lead free ICs to lead in their processes.


Retronix’s Advantage

Retronix’s solution is to convert the pure tin alloy on the termination to one with lead content, using processes that meet the stringent standards of even high reliability industries such as defence and avionics:

  • Meets ANSI/GEIA-STD-0006
  • Fully automated and repeatable
  • Can be used for most SMT & thru hole components
  • ICOS, XRF & Solderability testing available inhouse for verification





    The Traditional Method results in a lot of administration inefficiencies and higher costs :

  • 1) The OEM/CEM places an order with its authorised IC supplier ; forced to purchase it in Lead Free format, as IC manufacturers no longer produce a leaded alternative.
  • 2) The IC Supplier then sends the entire parts list (lead free) to the OEM/CEM; who then have to record it in the system as received corresponding to the part number assigned.
  • 3) The OEM/CEM will then send it to a certified safe Alloy Conversion company like Retronix to convert these parts from Lead Free to Lead. (Click Here to see how Retronix do this)
  • 4) Once the conversion is done Retronix assign a new part number to each device (which are now lead solder parts) and send it back to the OEM/CEM; they have an entirely new parts list number to register in and this adds to administration inefficiencies, time and therefore takes the cost up.



    • 1) The OEM/CEM places an order with their authorised IC supplier.
    • 2) The full conversion process is taken care of by Retronix, who work directly with the IC Supplier, to an agreed understanding with the OEM/CEM
    • 3) The parts once converted are supplied to the OEM/CEM with the parts list corresponding to the Leaded Parts.


Therefore this process not only saves huge administration issues, but also saves time and therefore results in increased efficiency and lower costs.


Tin Whisker Mitigation

One of the main threats to appear in recent years is Tin Whiskers. Tin whiskers are growths (in many shapes and sizes) coming out of a tin plated termination, mainly attributed to stress in the plating. These growths can extend to adjacent terminations causing shorts. This phenomenon has appeared with the move from leaded to lead free soldering. The presence of lead in the alloy has been shown to inhibit the formation of tin whiskers.

Download the process flows –


For more information contact :

Mr Rob Ronan (UK Sales & Support Manager) –
Use our Contact us form – Click Here
Call us on : +44 (0) 1236 433 345


Mr Gary Moffat (Sales Director) –
Use our Contact us form – Click Here
Call us on : +44 (0) 1236 433 345