November 8, 2005 – Mitsui Chemicals Inc. has begun mass production of a resin used in connectors and other electronic components compatible with lead-free solder, which has a higher melting point than leaded solder. The company has altered the molecular structure of its Arlen high-performance modified polyamide resin to raise its melting point 10 degrees to 320C, reported the Nikkei English News.
To accomplish mass production, the company is upgrading existing facilities at its Iwakuni-Ohtake Works in Yamaguchi Prefecture, planning to switch all production to heat-resistant products by next summer. It aims to turn out 3000 tons of the resin in fiscal 2006 and capture a 20% share of the market for resins used in electronic components.
By fiscal 2010, it plans to double production to 6000 tons per year. Several billion yen in capital spending is projected. The company plans to sell the resin to domestic and foreign electronic parts manufacturers working to switch to lead-free solder in preparation for a European ban on use of lead in electronic components taking effect in July.