I had the opportunity last week to attend the IPC/JEDEC Pb-free conference in San Jose. Having attended many of these conferences over the past few years it is interesting to see the changes in the types of presentations. Early presentations were more about what material can we use? Can it be done? Now we have more presentations on the legal nature of the implementation, case studies on current implementation, backwards compatibility (mixing Sn/Pb and Pb-free – more on this next week), and how it impacts other parts of the process (e.g. rework). One aspect that many engineering people have not paid attention to is the legal aspects, specifically what this means beyond the EU RoHS. At the conference, one presenter from Design Chain Associates presented on the China RoHS legislation where they are closely mimicking the EU RoHS legislation – but requiring Chinese labs to do the certification testing! Also, the RoHS legislation is being looked at by several states in the US. In California there is proposed legislation that points directly at the EU RoHS legislation as a the model. This is supposed to be enforced by January 1, 2007!! Therefore, even if you aren’t shipping into Europe you should be aware and look at implementing Pb-free solutions for your products.