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Question on Nitrogen Consumption during Reflow


Question on Nitrogen Consumption during Reflow | 25 June, 2001

I'm trying to hammer out the setup and operational costs to add Nitrogen to our SMT reflow process. Anyone have an idea on how much liquid N2 they consume monthly on an Electrovert or Conceptronics reflow oven?

Thanks in advance for your help.

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Question on Nitrogen Consumption during Reflow | 25 June, 2001

Please consider the forty some postings on nitrogen in the SMTnet archive to be a starting point for your investigation.

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Question on Nitrogen Consumption during Reflow | 26 June, 2001

Sure did. Found 13 w/keyword "Nitrogen". Although, nothing on consumption rates. Thanks for the help.

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Question on Nitrogen Consumption during Reflow | 26 June, 2001

Try this link out.

Air Liquide has done many studies on this topic. There should be some useful information there.


Caldon W. Driscoll ACI USA 610-362-1200

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Question on Nitrogen Consumption during Reflow | 26 June, 2001

Yer welcome.

The cats & kitties at SMTnet like to keep us guessing. [I don�t think they did well in �dodge-ball� in their younger years.] They offer two "search tools" at the top of the page and each produces substantially different results. I used the one from the blue button => 49 hits on nitrogen, you probably used the one with the entry window => 13 or whatever hits on nitrogen. Here is my take on what you missed by using the other seach:

Date: May 26, 2001 04:57 AM Author: Brian Sloth Bentzen Subject: Nitrogen Reflow

Dear Frang.

The right O2 level are mostly determined by the products you produce (E.i. PCB surface and component solderability).

In reflow I would say the window is between 100 and 1000 ppm, depending on the issues above. Personal I choose a maximum O2 level on 500 ppm for my Ersa Hotflow 7.

You can read more about my considerations in my article on Nitrogen in reflow soldering on:

Date: May 24, 2001 03:07 PM Author: caldon Subject: Nitrogen Reflow

You should be able to get assistance from

Caldon W. Driscoll ACI USA 610-362-1200

Date: December 21, 2000 01:08 AM Author: Bentzen Subject: Re: N2 vs. Air Reflow Soldering Check out my article about reflow soldering in nitrogen atmosphere on Hopefully you will find some answers and more detailes on my web-site.

Date: May 23, 2000 08:37 PM Author: Dave F Subject: Re: Nitrogen reflow

Gabby: Trying to avoid accusations of plowing new ground eh?

Inert soldering: R Curthers et al, "Optimizing A No-Clean Circuit Board Process Using Nitrogen Inerting In A Conventional Wave Solder Machine," NEPCON West 1991 T Walsh, "The benefits Of Establishing A No-Clean Wave Solder System In Reducing Soldering Defects," NEPCON West 1991 G Schouten, "Benefits Of Inert Gas Soldering In Reducing Soldering Defects," NEPCON West 1991 H Hartmann, "Nitrogen Atmosphere Soldering," Circuits Assembly 2 (1), 60-66, 1991

SEHO was the first company to produce machines with nitrogen inerting. Now, all machine suppliers do. Check with machine suppliers. Also, check with inert gas suppliers. Some of them talk about retrofitting older machines.

Good luck Dave F

Date: October 16, 2000 08:33 PM Author: Dave F Subject: Re: N2 reflow

MK: If you are getting good product with air, here�s what you should do: * Turn off the N2. * Sell that N2 cracker machine. * Pat yourself on the back. * Go out for beers. [Not any of that Canadian Fosters crap, tho][Did you know that Ozzies don�t even drink that stuff???? Right, Dreamster????] * Live well and live long.

Now, if that�s not the correct answer, here�s some thoughts: * Is 900 ppm your N2 purge rate? What is the duration of your purge? * Is 1000 ppm your O2 maintenance level? If so, that�s approaching "thin" * Is someone turning the N2 off? * Are your N2 curtains in place and working properly?

Think about: * Checking Marc and Earl�s comments on N2 reflow in the fine SMTnet archives. Altho, there does seem to be an echoecho inin herehere * Talking to techietypes at BTU * Searching SMT Magazine. There�s at least 20 nitrogen soldering articles on their site. * "Circuits Assembly" lists the following as Top 100 Articles: - Nitrogen Atmosphere: Who Needs It? By Dr. L. Lawton July 1998 - Reducing the Cost of Inert Soldering By M. Theriault and P. Blostein July 1998 * SMTA Journal - Inerting The Wave Soldering Process With Membrane-Generated Nitrogen, C. Shea 09/12/1999 - Solderability Of Different Board Finishes Under Nitrogen Atmospheres With Different Rols, J. Tauchmann 09/12/1999 - Solderability Of Printed Wiring Boards With Organic Solder Preservation Under Nitrogen Atmosphere, T. Zachert 08/23/1998 - Technical Advance Improves Reflow Process Reliability And Consistency, B. Bailey 04/28/1997 - Reducing Solder Defects Under Nitrogen With Varying Oxygen Concentrations, H. Hsiao 04/28/1997 - Implementation And Production Test Results Of A Closed Loop Control Of Atmospheres For Soldering, N. Saxena 09/10/1996

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Question on Nitrogen Consumption during Reflow | 2 July, 2001

Thanks. I saw your response to Gabby on May 23 2000. Sent a request to Christina Cotto at She's going to send me copies of the Nepcon papers you referenced.

Although, I did some guestimating and ballparked a monthly cost of $338k assuming...N2 is $0.50/gal, N2 consumption is 16 cubic meter/h, 160hrs/mo, and operating at 100% oven utilization. Later I heard back from the Conceptronics people and our oven (an early inert design) is earmarked for 2100cfh or 59 cubic meter/h! This places the total cost at about $1.2M/mo!!!!

With this in mind I'd think it be safer to ask for a day off than try to justify this project!

Thanks again for the help!

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Question on Nitrogen Consumption during Reflow | 2 July, 2001

It's possible that N2 vogued at the dawn of the NC age. Once practitioners jiggered their profiles and more importantly, paste suppliers developed a decent product; the demand for inerts declined.

Day-off sound like a fair trade.

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Pro-Con Technologies


Question on Nitrogen Consumption during Reflow | 11 July, 2001


If you're calculations determine you will spend 338K-1.2M/month on N2 for one (1) machine, you mydaswell hang up the towell. You're company will never turn a profit at that operating cost. >50cents/gallon for N2 is steep, plus that is Liquid not gas??? As for conceptronics stating that your oven will consume 2100scfh is another situation. If your system operates on Air Amplifier technology it will consume alot of N2 and should be scrapped for a fan technology system. If it is a fan equipped blower system, you could easily maintain under 1000PPM at approx 400-800 scfh depending on the size of the unit and you can drastically cut down on N2 consuption by keeping only the reflow zones at that PPM and not be caught up in keeping the entire oven at that PPM. Some small modifications can drastically reduce your N2 performance without sacrificing quality.... The most important aspect of N@ reflow is when the solder is liquidous not during the ramp-up and soak stages.

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