Detecting residual oxygen within solder reflow

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Do you use a mobile phone, tablet or computer every day? With a world that has more gadgets than people, it is not surprising that electronics has progressively become an essential everyday part of modern life. With such a high demand from both the consumer and industrial markets, the expectation is strong when it comes to reliability and quality.

Inside many gadgets you will find a PCB (printed circuit board.) PCB manufacturers worldwide strive continuously to improve quality control in order to minimise product failure. For many PCB manufacturers, the reflow soldering process is the most popular manufacturing method, as it allows mass production of PCB’s with intricate surface mount component soldering of the highest quality.

The reflow soldering process uses a solder paste to attach multiple electrical components temporarily to their contact on the circuit board; after assembly it is then subjected to controlled heat within the solder reflow oven, melting the solder and permanently connecting the joint between the component and the circuit board. Nitrogen is introduced into the solder reflow oven to enhance the quality of the soldering, as it creates an inert atmosphere reducing the risk of oxidisation as well as improving the wetting angles of the soldered joints. The inert atmosphere within the oven is maintained using a gas analyser capable of measuring ppm (parts per million) of the oxygen content.

Designed to detect any residual oxygen within the oven, the Rapidox 1100 PFC also incorporates closed loop control and is capable of sending a signal to a proportional flow control valve (PFC). Parameters can be configured via the Rapidox software, allowing full control of the nitrogen environment within the oven. These results not only ensure quality assurance of the PCB, but also extend the life of the PFC valve, therefore providing significant savings in expensive nitrogen gas.

For further information on gas analysis used within solder reflow ovens or other manufacturing applications that require gas, please contact us on our live chat found on our website, call +44 (0)1480 462142 or email info@cambridge-sensotec.co.uk.

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