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White Paper addresses efficient use of solder.

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January 6, 2010 - Following 2-year study on effect of impurity limits on performance of lead-free solder, IPC Solder Products Value Council announced publication of "Take Action Limits (TAL) for SAC305 Lead-Free Soldering Processes Utilizing Solder Baths/Pots." White paper provides electronics manufacturers with defined limits to guide them on efficient use of solder. It identifies 3 action levels and also sets TALs for 14 materials that can commonly be introduced during normal board production.

IPC Solder Products Value Council Issues Report on Take Action Limits for SAC Lead-Free Solder Processes

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IPC-Association Connecting Electronics Industries
3000 Lakeside Drive
Bannockburn, IL, 60015

Press release date: January 4, 2010

BANNOCKBURN, Ill., USA - Following a two-year study on the effect of impurity limits on the performance of lead-free solder, the IPC Solder Products Value Council (SPVC) has announced the publication of a white paper, "Take Action Limits (TAL) for SAC305 Lead-Free Soldering Processes Utilizing Solder Baths/Pots." The paper provides electronics manufacturers with better-defined limits to guide them on a more efficient use of solder and, as a result, improve yields.

Take action limits, also known as "dump pot specifications," are important to any electronics manufacturing company using flow soldering techniques either in selective soldering or wave soldering. The report is based on testing of eight common SAC alloys that were subjected to strenuous tests, including wetting and electron microscope examination. The IPC TAL white paper identifies three action levels:
  • Normal operation -- the level one would expect contamination levels to be, based on running at a steady state.
  • Increased monitoring -- a level that is not a danger but indicates an upward trend that should be monitored more closely.
  • Adjust pot -- the level at which the pot should be adjusted to ensure reliable performance of solder joints.

    Paul Lotosky, global director of customer technical support at Cookson Electronics, and chairman of the IPC SPVC technical subcommittee, explained that current specifications for contamination are for either tin-lead alloys or for component and board acceptance. "The white paper we published reports on a series of tests to validate take action limits of solder pot contamination for SAC305 lead-free solder."

    The report also sets TALs for 14 materials that can commonly be introduced during normal board production, such as gold, nickel and bismuth. In addition, scatter plot diagrams for all wetting test results as well as statistical analyses of wetting data are included.

    "The report is another example of how the industry can come together and work together to create a coherent set of technical requirements that the industry can use to increase efficiencies and eliminate unnecessary waste," added Karl Seelig, AIM Inc. and chairman of the IPC SPVC.

    IPC members can download the IPC TAL white paper for free at Nonmembers may purchase the report for $25 at For more information on the white paper or the SPVC, contact Anthony Hilvers, IPC vice president of industry programs, at +1 847-597-2837 or

    About IPC IPC ( is a global trade association based in Bannockburn, Ill., dedicated to the competitive excellence and financial success of its 2,700 member companies which represent all facets of the electronics industry, including design, printed board manufacturing, electronics assembly and test. As a member-driven organization and leading source for industry standards, training, market research and public policy advocacy, IPC supports programs to meet the needs of an estimated $1.7 trillion global electronics industry. IPC maintains additional offices in Taos, N.M.; Arlington, Va.; Garden Grove, Calif.; Stockholm, Sweden; Moscow, Russia; and Shanghai and Shenzhen, China.

    About the IPC Solder Products Value Council In support of IPC's Mission Statement, the IPC Solder Products Value Council recognizes that the PCB manufacturing and electronics assembly industries must grow profitably. The Council's objective is to identify and execute programs designed to enhance the competitive position of solder manufacturers and their customers.
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