Q. Which, according to you, is the most extensively used hazardous substance?
A. If you consider the electronics industry, one of the hazardous substances like lead is extensively used. Today lead-based solders are extensively used in the electronic industry. When the industries are switching over from lead-based solder to lead-free solder, they will face a very certain unique problem called tin whiskering. Instead of lead-based solder they use tin base or silver base solders, which causes a whisker growth or there will be a needle type growth. This needle growth leads to some premature failures. So, we are also helping the industry, once they switch over from lead-based solder technology to lead-free solder technology, by providing them solutions with the reliability and performance issues they face with the help of various simulation chambers and Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM) . Of course, it is not a part of the project but we fully build the in-house capacity and expertise to handle, consult and support them to switch over, which include testing their component and products for reliability, climatic conditions, safety level test, material level test and ensuring that the product will perform as good as it was performing with leaded solder.
Q. Do you face any challenges from convincing companies to move, for example in this case, from lead solder to lead-free solder?
A. Definitely, we do face challenges. When moving from lead-based solders to the lead-free solders, there is a 20 degree increase in melting point. So obviously the complete soldering operations will occur 20 degree higher from normal operating point. Secondly other parts need not be changed. Only the compatible surface will be exposed to 20 degree higher temperature. In addition to that, these lead free solders in certain extreme environments will have a tendency to form some sort of a needle growth which is called tin whisker. So when tin whisker grows, it will lead to some sort of a short circuit on the boards. So if an automotive electronic component or may be a medical electronics device is to be designed out of a lead free solder, it has to function properly but because of this unwanted growth which leads to some short circuiting it starts malfunctioning and leads to a lot of premature failures. To avoid these things, it is very important to tackle all these things during the design itself. So that’s where TUV Rheinland plays a vital role to help these industries to switch over from leaded technology to lead-free technology.
Q. What about your future plans for TUV India?
A. With regards to CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility), we are now also helping the textile clusters and even the other industries to meet the new environmental directives like REACH. Only ten industries are benefited out of this project so we wanted to ensure these benefits are not going to other industries. We are conducting the open house training programme and creating awareness by conducting appropriate training in different regions. We are also associating with various agencies like Automotive Research Association of India (ARAI) to create the awareness on REACH. We are working with Apparel Export Promotion Council (AEPC) to create awareness on registration, evaluation and authorisation of chemical substance. The same way we are working with RUBBER BOARD to create awareness. Hence we are doing this type of hazardous substance related activities across India.
We also did some training in association with Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) especially with AEPC which is a part of the Ministry of Textile. They have identified us as one of their technical partner and we have conducted some awareness training related to reach in various clusters like Bangalore, Chennai, Mumbai, Gurgaon. So we are conducting this and trying to make the industry to understand (of course at the end of the day we also have our own interest) what exactly these hazardous substance directives are and what are the important regulations they have to fulfil.
Q. Could you please elaborate on marketing strategies of TUV in India?
A. DEG Reach Hazardous Substance Process Management (HSPM) for Electrical and Electronic Equipment (EEE) industry in India is a Corporate Social Responsibility initiative taken up by TÜV Rheinland India. This project is a benefit to the society which will help the environment to be greener and healthier. Therefore there are no marketing activities involved in the project.
Q. What are the hiring policies of TUV in India? Do you hire freshers?
A. We have hiring policies of TÜV Rheinland in India and we do hire freshers, but pertaining to this particular project we have not made any plans of hiring. We are using our in house human resources for the project.