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NYS Governor's Awards for Pollution Prevention - OR&SS

Lockheed Martin Ocean, Radar & Sensor Systems, Syracuse


Lockheed Martin Ocean, Radar & Sensor Systems (OR&SS) in Syracuse manufactures airborne and ground-based radar, sonar, undersea systems and marine traffic management equipment. The 2,200 employees at OR&SS are responsible for electronics manufacturing, systems assembly and systems integration.

OR&SS and General Electric Corporate Research and Development (GECR&D) submitted a proposal to the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) and were awarded funding to research ways to eliminate Ozone Depleting Chemicals (ODCs), specifically freon, from soldering operations. These two businesses partnered with Alpha Metals, Inc. and the State University of New York (SUNY) at Binghamton to form a No-Clean Surface Mount Team. The goal of the team was to develop a no-clean soldering process for surface mount assemblies suitable for military applications that would eliminate post-solder defluxing operations.

Methodologies and Procedures

The project comprised five tasks. The first, Task 0, established a baseline to understand the state of the art in electronic processing and solder pastes, specifically commercial no-clean solder pastes. In addition, a suitable test coupon was developed to address the critical factors (electrical, mechanical and thermal) of the no-clean soldering process. Also, a review of technical literature based on studies of both no-clean and no-residue solder pastes was conducted as well as actual testing of ten different solder pastes to evaluate their performance.

Task 1 included more extensive testing and evaluation of the three best solder pastes identified in Task 0 to select the most suitable paste to use. Experiments were conducted to identify and verify critical factors that could affect product performance, reliability and producibility. There could be no negative impact on the quality of the circuit card resulting from this process change.

Task 2 comprised additional experiments designed to optimize the processes developed in Task 1. In addition to OR&SS, two other Lockheed Martin sites in New Jersey and Florida were enlisted to manufacture and test several assemblies. To prepare for customer acceptance of this process, detailed performance data were collected at each site.

In Task 3, the Team presented the advantages of the no-clean solder process to military programs and began the contractual and process changes necessary for implementation. Due to the nature of the defense business, customer approval was a prerequisite to executing this change.

Technical transfer of this process to other Lockheed Martin and GE locations and to Department of Defense representatives comprised Task 4. Also included was an exchange with related government and industry groups on no-clean soldering.


  • No negative impact on quality or producibility.
  • The use of isopropyl alcohol in this process was reduced by almost 90 percent
  • Two hazardous waste streams, spent solvents and cleaning debris were reduced by nearly 90 percent. No new waste streams were generated.
  • Waste disposal costs were reduced by around 85 percent, saving over $6,700 in the past two years.
  • A 12 percent reduction in cycle time for electronic assemblies due to the elimination of cleaning steps was realized, equating to $270,000 savings in labor costs in 1996 and 1997. Full implementation of this process will result in $806,000 savings in labor costs in 1998.
  • An additional $10,428 in raw material cost savings were realized as well.
  • Other economic benefits that resulted from this process include reductions in costs associated with hazardous waste disposal liability, waste reporting and tracking requirements as well as raw material and waste handling.
  • Improvements in employee safety have specifically resulted from reduced chemical exposure, less risk of spills and releases, and reduced environmental and public health risks associated with waste treatment, land disposal and incineration.

Any comments or questions?
Contact us at: 625 Broadway, Albany, NY 12233-1750;
518-402-9469 (phone); 518-402-9168 (fax)

This page was last modified March 8, 1999

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