Our notebooks, cell phones and MP3 players wouldn’t run without them: Electronic printed circuit board assemblies populated with many electrically conductive connections. To ensure that those connections work as precisely and reliably as possible, they are soldered under a protective gas atmosphere. Nitrogen is used as the shielding gas here. It minimizes the error rate by preventing undesirable reactions with the surrounding air.
The best way to store nitrogen is cryogenically in its liquid state. For the soldering process, however, it must be in its gaseous state. That’s why it is first evaporated, whereby it releases its cooling energy. That cooling can be used – for the solder machine’s cooling circuit. This eliminates the need for the electrically operated cooling system that would otherwise be required.
The dual utilization of the nitrogen’s cooling energy also provides the heat needed for evaporation, whereby the released “cold energy” is consistently provided to the cooling circuits of the printed circuit board assembly process. This makes it possible to reduce electrical power consumption and CO2 emissions.