At Lens R&D we are strong supporters of STEM education and as such in close contact with the Leidsche Instrumentmakers School (LiS).

Today two LiS students finished the mechanical activities on the units associated with our new automatic nitrogen storage system.


Nathan Wijnands and Milo van Es (both in their fourth year of becoming a precision mechanic) finished the last assembly activities on the new facility.

The storage system consists of three components.

  1. A storage box (with pressure gauge and over-pressure release valve)
  2. A control cabinet and
  3. A stainless steal table to hold the components and turn it into a complete system

The system will be used to store moisture and/or oxygen sensitive components without continuously flushing the storage compartment.

More common systems used to store this type of components generally use a continuous flush to keep the components dry and protected from oxidising.

This type of storage uses a lot of nitrogen and is therefore increasing operational costs.

Spilling a lot of nitrogen is also worse for the environment.

The airtight box can be used to store the components while the control cabinet will take care of executing a controlled purging cycle.

The cycle consists of creating a vacuum in the storage chamber to extract water and moisture before putting the system at a 0.2bar overpressure with dry nitrogen.

by repeating the cycle three times automatically it is ensured that the remaining air has a very low humidity and oxygen content.

By automating the cycle it is ensured that the storage conditions are optimal with minimum effort and maximum repeatability.

The system can operate either with a N2 tank and vacuum pump or a centralized N2 and vacuum system.

By keeping the system at overpressure the ingress of moisture and humidity during storage is prevented.

The chosen purging and storage scheme will keep the stored components in pristine condition over a very long period of time while using minimum energy and nitrogen.

The PLC based control box will automatically cycle the vacuum and nitrogen supply and monitor the internal pressure.

This will enable Lens R&D personnel to check the proper functioning remotely over the internet from all over the world if needed.

Nathan and Milo will now progress towards their final assignment and graduation.

We collectively want to thank them for their cooperation, wish them all the best for the future a lot of learning experiences and wisdom, and a little fun on the way 😉