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Year Submitted: 2003

Process: Circuit Board Soldering

Industry: Electronics Manufacturing

Wastes Reduced: Solder

Equipment: Inert Atmosphere

Location: Austin TX

No. of employees: 7000

Contact: Robert Tassan

Phone: (512) 838-6936


IBM currently uses wave soldering equipment in the manufacture of printed circuit boards. The soldering equipment uses a standard air environment. Since the solder (tin/lead) is exposed to air, it begins to oxidized and form solder dross. This dross must be removed from the machine as waste material. It is hazardous to clean and dispose of this material.

P2 Application:

IBM retrofit nitrogen hoods over the solder pot area on the wave solder machines. Since nitrogen is inert, very little dross or waste is formed.

Environmental Benefits:

Solder dross formation will be reduced by 115,000 pounds a year by using the nitrogen atmosphere. It will also reduce solder use by 23,000 pounds a year.

Details of Reductions

Additional Information :

Cost savings will come from reduced purchases of solder of $107,000, reduced disposal fees of $82,800 and manufacturing savings of $141,000. The project will cost IBM approximately $120,000, so the return on investment will be substantial.

Source: TCEQ

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