Happy New Year and welcome to the first part of a new series of articles on the important emerging area of solderless assembly technology.
This new effort is a bit of an experiment in information dissemination. In an industry as fast paced as the electronics industry, one often finds himself reading technology texts that are more akin to history books. Traditional texts will always have a vital roll to play in information transfer, but real-time examination of rapidly evolving technologies cannot be carried out in such a manner. This effort will be a first attempt at offering a near real-time text on an emerging technology.
When complete, the various parts of the series will be collected and organized into chapters and a more traditional book comprised of all of the these open series parts will also be made available free to future readers or for those who might want to have all the information under one cover. The length of this journey is unknown as I set out, but the plan is to provide new parts on various aspects of solderless assembly technology at, hopefully, somewhat regular intervals over the coming months--until the subject has been sufficiently examined and to give the reader a good understanding of what solderless assembly is and what is needed to take advantage of its many benefits.
The book’s title, Solderless Assembly For Electronics (SAFE), is perhaps a bit provocative, but SAFE is believed to be an accurate summary word for products made without solder. The term SAFE was first used in a paper delivered at an IPC conference on lead-free solder a few years ago and was resurrected for this effort because only a relatively few people were in attendance at the conference. Other terms and titles were suggested or considered around the same SAFE acronym, “solder alloy free electronics” was one, but the prime consideration was given to the idea of making of solderless electronic assemblies and that the result of such products would, in fact, be safer and, ultimately, more reliable than traditional soldered assemblies.
Some may recall the fanfare than surrounded the introduction of the Occam Process a few year ago. (For those interested in reading a bit more, visit www.verdantelectronics.com/) The Occam Process concept is still alive and well and the IP surrounding the concept continues to grow. However, the path that Occam has followed pretty much matches a descriptive model that was developed and has been used by analysts at Gartner. The model can be graphed in the form of a curve which charts expectations against time for new technologies.
When charted, the curve graphically illustrates how new or promising technologies often ride up a steep curve of heightened expectations and excitement early on to a high level of interest. Typically, this is followed by a precipitous descent into disillusionment when the promise is not immediately delivered. At this point, the only way out is up and disappointment can only be overcome by a long, slow learning climb to enlightenment. Once the industry has achieved enlightenment and understanding, progress and productivity kick in and the earlier promise is delivered.