April 19, 2022
The mass production of printed circuit boards (PCBs) took off in the 1950s with a process known as wave soldering. In wave soldering, the underside of the PCB is sprayed with flux and then heated before being passed over a wave of solder. This solders the components to the PCB. Though it is best suited for through-hole assembly, it is also used in surface-mount technology (SMT).
Being an inert gas, nitrogen reduces oxidation by displacing oxygen, which allows for appropriate spreading behavior at lower temperatures. It also reduces defect formation, owing to imperfections not being introduced in the process, material or surface. It improves flow properties and wettability (bonding between the solder and PCB/component). The use of nitrogen also reduces the quantity and intensity of flux required, which leads to further cost savings. More importantly, it leads to high-quality solder joints that require less heat and flux.
The industry preference for nitrogen use in soldering is heavily influenced by the improved process window, as performing the production process in nitrogen compared to air reduces issues such as defect formation. But the cost benefits are important as well, as the savings offset the nitrogen expenses. Therefore, on-site nitrogen generation in particular makes a better case for cost and resource savings.
An on-site nitrogen generator not only gives you control over air purity for soldering purposes (which is critical in ensuring appropriate solder spreading behavior at lower temperatures) but also reduces your operating costs (as compared to third-party supply) and ensures you have a constant flow of nitrogen gas when downtime can interrupt production. Generating nitrogen on your own with an on-site nitrogen generator allows safer handling and ensures a lower carbon footprint. Additionally, on-site nitrogen generators, such as those from Pneumatech, are easy to integrate into existing systems.
Pneumatech designs and manufactures both standard and engineered on-site gas generator products. Explore Pneumatech’s full range of nitrogen generators. Or get in touch with us right away.