What’s Driving AOI Innovation and Collaboration?


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Industry 4.0 Discussion

Big data is the foundation for Industry 4.0, so advanced inspection systems must evolve from simply judging “pass/fail” tools into highly intuitive, dynamic decision-making systems that emphasize the need for reliable, traceable data. Artificial intelligence (AI) engines can empower tools to help customers analyze and optimize the production process by managing process data from connected SPI and AOI systems.

When we look at the optical inspection market growth trajectory, we can see how process challenges helped create innovations. For example, solder paste inspection (SPI) has undergone a shift from 2D to 3D because the 2D inspection technologies manufacturers traditionally used to collect solder deposit images could not solve shadowing problems. Thus, companies developed 3D SPI to capture the printed solder paste height to accurately measure the total volume of paste printed. Several years later, we see the same need for surface-mounted component inspection with AOI systems.

KohYoung-fig1.jpgAs today’s board complexity is increasing with more components and joints, higher density, and shrinking package technologies, such as the 0201 metric (008004 imperial) microchips (Figure 1), basic AOI technologies using blob analysis or high megapixel cameras may no longer be practical. Most decisions made are based on a “good/bad” comparison of reference images, which can easily be affected by variables like component surface finish, board condition, component proximity, and more.

Although 2D AOI is still a technology in the market, more manufacturers are adopting 3D AOI to increase board quality. The benefits are clear. Using clearly defined thresholds backed by accurate data will eliminate the need to constantly debug inspection programs. Moreover, measurement data generated from some 3D AOIs provides meaningful insights about the process and helps eliminate the root causes of a defect. Combining a 3D SPI with 3D AOIs enables manufacturers to accurately control and monitor the board assembly process.

To read this entire article, which appeared in the February 2020 issue of SMT007 Magazine, click here.

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