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Inspection systems—such as automated optical inspection (AOI), automated X-ray inspection (AXI) and solder paste inspection (SPI) systems—are now a firm part of every electronics production. Depending on the production size and throughput, these are implemented directly in the line (in-line) or as an isolated solution with automated or manual loading (offline).
However, it is not only the implementation of the actual test tasks that is crucial for an efficient use, but also the meaningful inclusion of the internal company process and data structure. Peripheral modules, such as verification and repair stations, play an important role in this.
Figure 1: Part of a production line with AXI system and inline verification station.
Fault Verification Classic: Directly after the AOI System
Even if inspection systems should no longer be foregone, a necessary evil is attached to them: because of the unavoidable pseudo faults and due to the detailed fault classification, verification stations are necessary for classification after AOI or AXI systems.
Figure 2: Verification station software PILOT Verify with AOI and AXI fault images.
Within production lines, verification of detected faults is typically undertaken by inline workstations, equipped with a PC, monitor, software and corresponding licences. Their main task is often the dismissing of pseudo faults by the operator. Depending on the cycle time of the line and occurring pseudo faults, the employee is only utilized at this verification station for a part of their working time.
Efficiency through Centralization: Mutual Verification for Numerous Inspection Systems
If numerous inspection systems are available in electronic production, then the logical next step is also to have this employee undertake the verification of results from other inspection systems. Depending on the spatial arrangement of the systems (into one or more lines), this does mean that a part of the working time has to be allocated for the distances to the individual verification stations.
To assess the faults recognized by the AOI system, there is often additional, helpful information available (e.g., comparison pictures of a good PCB or angled-views of the respective part). This ensures that a skillful operator is able to undertake an assessment in most cases without having to view the objective PCB.
Verification with Greater Security: Use of All Test Results
This is now possible with verification software tools. One example is the PILOT Verify verification software, which is a part of the inspection systems by Goepel electronic. Using this software, for example, not only is the actual AOI fault image displayed, but also the respective angled-view images from a horizontal angle of 45° or 90°, comparison images of a good PCB, or the 3D view of the PCB or solder joint.
Figure 3: Central verification for numerous production lines with PILOT Supervisor.
If further inspection systems (SPI or AXI) are integrated into the production process, these results, measurements and images are also available for assessment.
Moreover, SPI, AXI and AOI systems from other manufacturers that are already integrated into the production line can also be integrated via the PILOT Connect software module, enabling their results to be presented at the verification station.
Central Verification for Numerous Production Lines
These opportunities shown make it possible to competently assess the detected errors remotely. But how does the technical implementation for central verification take place in a production with numerous inspection systems or numerous lines? A simple solution would be the remote control of existing inline verification stations (e.g., via a remote desktop connection). However, the entire equipment of such a workstation at the respective position in the production line would be required for this, made up of a PC, interface card to the belt module as well as software licences. Both costs and required space for the inline workstation are impacted here.