San Jose, Calif. - As tolerances tighten for contract electronic manufacturers (CEMs) and printed-circuit board assembly (PCBA) houses, manufacturers of inspection systems are rolling out equipment able to detect tinier flaws at higher speeds. The benefits of X-ray and video inspection systems are lower materials and manufacturing costs, thanks to the ability to catch problems earlier in the manufacturing process, thereby cutting waste.
Among the inspection systems on display at EtroniX are a new PCBA Analyser from Phoenix X-Ray Systems + Services Inc. (Camarillo, Calif.), the 4-axis NXR-1510 Plus from Nicolet Imaging Systems (San Diego, Calif.), a GenRad Company, the RTI-7500 optical inspection system from CR Technology (Aliso Viejo, Calif.) and the Observatory video inspection station from SMG Enterprises (Sonoma, Calif.).
In EtroniX Booth 2021, Phoenix's PCBA Analyser is a PC-based X-ray system designed for CEMs and high-end inspection laboratories that incorporates the company's open-tube technology. The system is said to be able to detect manufacturing errors before, during and after PC board assembly. Features include an "open" vacuum chamber, 360 degree axes rotation, autopositioning control, oblique view at highest magnification (OVHM) for magnification at angles, and optional software tools for imaging and analysis. The system offers magnifications beyond 2,500x and can detect down to 1 micron.
The open-tube design is said to contribute to 360 degree rotation and high magnification of samples on boards up to 28 x 22 inches. It can maintain the maximum geometric magnification while inspecting a component with a large oblique angle, and without the need for adjustment, it can rotate the sampled component simultaneously within the horizontal plane while magnifying in real-time.
The system can identify manufacturing and process faults in standard surface-mount and through-hole solder joints as well as in flip-chip, ball-grid array and other IC package types. It can locate short circuits, missing solder connections, solder wetting and voiding, and variations in the shape or diameter of solder joints, among other problems.
An image optimizer and an image explorer, both based on Windows NT, are available as options on the system, which includes a 9-inch image intensifier and a charge-coupled device (CCD) camera. Other NT options include automated ball-grid array (BGA) analysis, wire sweep measurement, 2-D measurement and die voiding calculation. The system is available with 160, 100 and 225-kilovolt tubes, and a typical configuration costs about $220,000.
In Booth T2201, Nicolet's NXR-1510 Plus, for inspection of large, densely populated pc boards, features 800x variable magnification and 5-micron resolution. It can inspect and verify boards up to 457.2 x 609.6 mm with BGAs and micro-BGAs, flip-chips and devices with hidden connections. Other features include four-axis manipulation with standard rotation control, dual-field image intensifier and image-processing software.
CR Technology's RTI-7500 is a high-speed, in-line vision inspection system that features color image processing. Company president Richard Amtower said the system uses high-resolution cameras to check solder joints and verify part installation quickly and accurately. Color inspection capability is provided by a megapixel camera said to extract three times more information than a gray-scale system and, thus, reduce "false failures." The system can be installed over an existing production line and can accommodate boards up to 18 x 20 inches. The system offers "self-learning programmability," wherein it extracts part information from a CAD pick-and-place file and steps automatically through a board that is known to be good. The process typically takes less than 30 minutes per board, after which the board program files can be saved to a local hard drive or to a network. Board defects are reported on the system's display screen and logged to a defect file for rework. Solder defects can be reviewed on the system monitor, printed for later use or sent via network connection to the optional Rework Data Server. There, defects can be reviewed and verified off-line after inspection is completed and defect data is presented for rework.
SMG Enterprises' Observatory video inspection station will be shown in ExtroniX Booth T2442. The station features a high-resolution color CCD, dual-illumination source and laser-positioning indicator, all in an ergonomically designed dome. The system mount clears workstation space and limits maintenance to lens cleaning. As it hovers over the workstation, the dome provides unlimited viewing angles from room-view images to 130x micro-images. The station can interface with S-Video monitors, video printers and personal computers.
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Nicolet Imaging Systems
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Phoenix X-ray Systems
+ Services Inc.
EETInfo No. 630
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