Nitrogen gas has been used increasingly during Electronics Manufacturing to help maintain a clean, dry, inert atmosphere as well as for more specific uses depending on the application. Production and manufacturing for electronics requires very particular temperatures, timing, structures, and environments for success. N2 gas helps create the controlled atmosphere necessary for these applications.
Circuit boards are used throughout the electronics industry and act as the “brains” of the electronic components of the device. A television, for instance, uses circuit boards to process audio and video signals. Likewise, a remote control uses a circuit board to complete a particular connection and output the correct commands. Personal computers use circuit boards for a variety of purposes – graphics, memory, etc., including the motherboard, the circuit board in your computer that allows all the parts of the computer to receive power, and communicate with one another.
Circuit boards contain conductive pathways, or traces, to connect electronic components and are built using etched copper sheets often with soldered surface mount components laminated onto a non-conductive substrate, such as fiberglass. Modern printed circuit board (PCB) technology uses surface mount components in many instances to replace through-hole technology that would fit components with wire leads into holes in the circuit board.
How is Nitrogen Gas Used with Circuit Boards?
Nitrogen gas is used with printed circuit board manufacturing during processes including reflow soldering and selective soldering to attach surface mount components to the PCB. Nitrogen gas is used to prevent oxidation for both selective soldering and convection reflow soldering. Oxygen and resulting oxidation can weaken the solder so N2 Generator Nitrogen gas is applied to maintain a clean, dry, inert atmosphere during the process to create a strong and lasting bond.
Why Use a Nitrogen Generator for Circuit Board Manufacturing?
A Nitrogen Generator is an ideal alternative to high pressure N2 gas cylinders. Nitrogen Generators produce high purity N2 gas from the air using a simple PSA technology or membrane technology to separate the Nitrogen gas particles from the air. It produces a limitless supply of N2 gas, on-site and on-demand, without need for gas company contracts or dependency.
Selective Soldering is a process used in electronics manufacturing as an alternative or follow-up to reflow soldering where the heat of the reflow oven may be too high for particular surface mounted components on printed circuit boards.
Selective Soldering may follow the reflow oven process for soldering other surface mount components able to withstand that level of heat. In these cases, great care must be taken in the selective soldering of additional components to the printed circuit board in order to avoid damaging those reflow soldered components.
Nitrogen gas may be used in the process of Selective Soldering to eliminate the possibility of oxidation that would weaken the solder. The chances of oxidation increase with the added heat that is required for soldering. Nitrogen is a clean, dry, inert gas that, when applied during the soldering process, can work to displace the presence of oxygen and therefore avoid the threat of oxidation.
South-Tek Systems engineers and manufactures Nitrogen Generator units that can produce high purity N2 gas from the air around us using simple PSA generator or membrane generator technology. Nitrogen Generators can supply a steady source of N2 gas as needed on-site and on-demand without having to deal with gas companies or high pressure cylinder deliveries, storage, or handling.
Nitrogen gas is used with electronics manufacturing in situations where it’s critical to reduce oxygen and maintain a clean, dry atmosphere.
One such example with electronics manufacturing is Reflow Soldering and Reflow Ovens. With the increased use of surface mount technology that is replacing through-hole technology, reflow soldering of surface mount components onto printed circuit boards has become more widespread. Reflow ovens provide a time and temperature controlled environment for effective soldering of surface mount components.
For reflow soldering, components are placed on top of the printed circuit boards on solder pads with solder paste applied. These boards are then conveyed into the reflow oven that ultimately melts the solder particles in the solder paste, bonding the components to the pads on the circuit boards.
There are different styles of reflow soldering but convection soldering generally uses Nitrogen gas applied to base metals. The N2 gas minimizes oxidation of the surfaces to be soldered. The chemical reactions necessary for soldering require high temperatures but metal oxidizes at a faster rate with heat applied and oxidation weakens the solder. Therefore, Nitrogen gas is used in order to create a clean, dry, inert atmosphere that eliminates the presence of oxygen.
South-Tek Systems is an engineering and manufacturing company dedicated to Nitrogen Generator technology. Nitrogen Generators produce high purity N2 gas straight from the air we breathe using simple PSA Technology or membrane technology without the need for handling high pressure cylinders or relying on a gas company contract.
Interested in learning more about how our nitrogen generator systems can help with your electronics applications? Read about our customized N2-GEN® Nitrogen Generator Series below or contact us today at 888-526-6284.