Altus Looks Back at Ten Years of 3D SPI Innovation

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3D Solder Paste Inspection (SPI) systems have been a game-changer in reliable electronics, ensuring that complex PCBAs are fail-safe. A trailblazer for this innovative inspection is Koh Young. Recently celebrating 20 years of innovation and ten years since they introduced the concept of 3D measurement-based solder paste inspection, Altus, a leading distributor of capital equipment in the UK and Ireland, looks back at how 3D SPI has revolutionized the inspection industry.

Joe Booth, Altus CEO, said: “During the last ten years, we have seen an increase in manufacturers investing in 3D SPI systems. As technology has advanced and electronics have become more complex, the value of the 3D measurement data has increased. The data not only helps to ensure high quality print processes and production results, but it also improves reliability, quality and performance of the PCBA. Investment in 3D SPI is no longer an optional extra but a necessity on any SMT line.”

Since the Koh Young systems use light measurement, they produce the most accurate measurements of a PCBA; therefore it can be used to set the tightest tolerances. This results in better quality inspection, PCBA quality and a large reduction in false calls. Thanks to this intelligent automated technology which has the highest level of connectivity for all the inspection stations, overall automation capability is enhanced.

“Smart customers know that investing in an SPI often leads to the highest return on investment of any inspection or test process in production,” said Joe Booth. “They know this because it offers the earliest opportunity to ensure that solder paste performance is optimised and any failures are caught early before the cost of correcting those errors significantly increases.

“It is widely accepted that 70-80% of SMT production errors are linked to solder paste and, so controlling that aspect of a line has always and will remain a priority. SPI is where Koh Young began full 3D metrology, and now, one of every two SPIs sold globally is a Koh Young platform. This market dominance is reflected in the UK and Ireland by the consistent sales performance over the years, and the saturation effect we see with many sites utilising both Koh Young SPI and AOI on all their production lines.”


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