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National Semiconductor Gets the Lead Out

Company to Offer Lead-free Packages for Its Complete Product Portfolio by End of 2004; 90% of Products Already Available Lead-free as Part of Global Effort to Protect the Environment and Replace More Than Five Tons of Lead Per Year

Apr 7, 2004

April 7, 2004 - National Semiconductor (NYSE:NSM) today announced that it will offer lead-free packages for its complete line of integrated circuit (IC) products by the end of 2004. The company also will significantly reduce bromine and antimony-based flame-retardants in an industry-leading effort to make more environmentally neutral electronic components.

Today, approximately 90 percent of National’s portfolio of 15,000 analog and mixed-signal integrated circuits is available in lead-free package types.  Lead was formerly used in the plating finish of copper leadframe-based packages. It was also used in the solder balls of array packages such as Micro SMD, PBGA and FBGA packages. National will replace the lead in leadframe packages with a matte tin finish, and in the solder balls with a tin-silver-copper alloy. Once this aggressive program is fully implemented, National expects to replace approximately five tons of lead used per year.

“Samsung is currently using about one-half dozen different lead-free ICs from National Semiconductor in its flat panel display (FPD) products which are sold worldwide,” said Mr. Soo Kyung Yoo, vice president Quality Team, Display Device Center, Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. “In addition, we have aggressive plans in place to adopt National’s lead-free ICs for use in a wide variety of other Samsung products.”

“As a leader in packaging technology, National is committed to providing its customers with state-of-the art chip technologies in the widest possible range of products and package types,” said Kamal Aggarwal, executive vice president, Central Technology Manufacturing Group at National. “With our lead-free packaging program, National is extending its effort to make innovative high-performance products that are environmentally friendly and easier to recycle. As soon as our customers require lead-free packages, we will provide them.”

Packaging is a critical part of the semiconductor manufacturing process. National’s advanced package technologies enable its customers to build cell phones, displays, computers, and many other electronic products that are small, thin, lightweight, and have long-lasting battery life. National has led the market in packaging innovations for years with the introduction of revolutionary micro SMD and leadless leadframe packaging (LLP) technologies. In addition, National’s patented VIP10 process technology enables it to create the industry’s broadest suite of high performance products available.

National: A Leader in the Global Effort to Create Lead-free Electronic Products
In 2000, National began an intensive multi-step program to reduce and eliminate lead in its semiconductor packages. Today, National has lead reduction goals in place that are substantially more aggressive than those in countries where the company does business.  In addition to lead, National is also eliminating halogen compounds such as bromine and antimony used in flame retardants used in mold compounds and organic substrates.

“Electronic products are typically recycled to recover precious metals such as gold and silver used in the printed circuit board,” said Kamal Aggarwal. “Eliminating lead from components will dramatically improve efficiency in the separation and disposal steps of the recycling operation.”

A Massive Worldwide Production and Logistics Effort
National produces billions of chips per year and packages them in more than 70 different types of packages.  The company operates wafer fabrication facilities in Arlington, Texas, Greenock, Scotland, and South Portland, Maine. The plants manufacture four, six, or eight-inch diameter wafers of silicon that contain hundreds or thousands of microchips.

The wafers are shipped to National facilities in Melaka, Malaysia and Singapore, where they are cut, tested, and assembled in plastic packages. The company’s new test and assembly facility in Suzhou, China, will begin operations in late 2004, and will also produce lead-free packages when it opens.

National ships integrated circuits directly from its Global Distribution Center in Singapore to more than 4,000 customers worldwide. Approximately 90,000 other customers buy National chips through a global network of distributors.

For more information about National’s lead-free products, please go to: http://www.national.com/packaging/leadfree/

Note to Editors: For a high-resolution downloadable photo please go to:
http://www.national.com/company/pressroom/gallery/products.html

About National Semiconductor
National Semiconductor is the premier analog company. Combining real-world analog and state-of-the-art digital technology, the company is focused on analog-based semiconductor products, which include stand-alone devices and subsystems in the areas of power management, imaging, display drivers, audio, amplifiers and data conversion. The company targets key markets such as wireless, displays, PCs, networks and a broad range of portable applications. With headquarters in Santa Clara, California, National reported sales of $1.67 billion for its most recent fiscal year which ended May 25, 2003. Additional company and product information is available at www.national.com
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