A European Community Research Project

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The ASPIS Project

  • The project is focussed on nickel-gold (ENIG) solderable finishes for PCB’s.
  • The aim is to develop new and more reliable materials and processes.
  • ASPIS is a three year EC supported Framework 7 project.It is a ‘Research for SME Associations’ project where much of the work is undertaken by RTD providers – ITRI, Leicester University, LIOC and TNO.


Key ASPIS Objectives

  • Increase the knowledge and awareness of all key failure modes
  • Improve the ability to predict, detect and prevent problems from arising.
  • Refine and develop materials, processes and methods by intelligent selection and modification.
  • Establish PCB design rules to minimise risk for a specific type of PCB.
  • Develop a practical and coherent methodology for identifying ENIG-related problems in order to enable the appropriate remedial action to be taken at the earliest opportunity and to reduce costs
  • Contribute to an improved international standard for specifying high reliability PCB finishes.

ASPIS – a multi-partner research project to develop new nickel-gold solderable finish processes

The key objectives of the ASPIS project are to develop and implement solutions to ‘black pad’, a major reliability problem of significant importance to the European PCB manufacturing industry and its customers and to thereby improve the European industry’s international competitiveness.

The primary beneficiary of our project will be the European Printed Circuit Board (PCB) fabrication industry. The FP6-funded ProSurf technology roadmap1 estimates that the production of PCBs in Europe declined in value from €4,775 million to €2,748 million between 2000 and 2006, despite worldwide demand increasing during the same period. The same report indicates that the number of PCB fabricators in Europe has fallen from around 1200 in the early 1980s to 342 at the end of 2006. The majority of these remaining businesses are small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs). It was also estimated that 24,000 people are directly employed in the PCB fabrication industry. In turn, the PCB fabricators supply into a great many dependent industries representing thousands of individual companies.

ASPIS will directly assist SME PCB fabricators by consolidating and increasing the technically-related quality gap between EU-made PCBs and those sourced from lower labour cost producers who are typically in the Far East. It will also reduce the direct and indirect PCB manufacturing costs by enhancing efficiency and increasing product yields, thereby making them more competitive on price. The project aligns directly with the objectives of this FP7 call by adopting a bottom-up scientific and technical methodology that will develop practical solutions to a key problem impacting SMEs and that will be implemented via structured training, demonstration and dissemination activities that are delivered directly to Europe’s SME companies via their own key trade associations

ASPIS Partners


-The Institute of Circuit Technology

-ITRI Ltd.

-The EUropean Institute of Printed Circuits (EIPC)


-The Lithuanian Institute of Chemistry

-The University of Leicester


-Merlin Circuit Technology

-Graphic plc

-Somacis PCB Industries

-Global Interconnection Services


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