Excerpt—The Printed Circuit Assembler’s Guide to... SMT Inspection: Today, Tomorrow, and Beyond, Chapter 2


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Chapter 2: Performance Anxiety

A limitation of many 3D optical inspection systems is the cycle time typically associated with processing millions of pixels to reconstruct a full 3D image using data captured from multiple channels. There should not be a compromise between 3D inspection and throughput. A successful inspection deployment should provide oversight for the process, not compromise, interrupt or slow that process.

The performance or speed of inspection equipment falls into two camps. One is the time taken to switch from one inspection program to another. The second is the speed of the individual inspection. The former should be as close to zero as possible and, at worst, not longer than the changeover time of the line. The latter should be at the cadence of a line itself or better. The inspection system should never be the bottleneck on the line or the process that dictates the speed at which boards are assembled.

Processes Optimized With Reliable Data

Some systems capture dozens of unique measurement data sets for each field of view. This produces a lot of data, and equipment makers need to manage the big data processing with parallel computing to satisfy even the most demanding applications.

Equipment suppliers can improve 3D AOI speed thanks to hardware and optical technology that generates reliable and repeatable data. These inspection results are then stored in a central database, which can be used in deploying the optimal inspection program for multiple operations and reduce programming and setting condition times.

Process optimization is desired by manufacturers and equipment suppliers, including manufacturers of inspection equipment. However, this optimization has been difficult to achieve with 2D systems, as most do not offer height information, and cannot accurately measure and quantify shape, coplanarity and solder amount. True 3D AOI systems measure every aspect of the component and solder joint in accordance with the IPC-A-610 standard, and then a significant set of reliable measurement data.

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