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Guido Bornemann, head of sales for Asia at Viscom AG, provided his insights regarding the impact of automated optical inspection (AOI) on cycle time. He also talked about the latest technologies in AOI—such as combining different types of inspection, as well as having integrated communications between different inspection points in a line—that can help customers reduce their inspection cycle time.
Stephen Las Marias: From your perspective, how do you define cycle time?
Guido Bornemann: In our perspective, cycle time is the time needed for inspection. Really, from the time the board goes into the machine, until the board goes out of the machine.
Las Marias: How important is reducing cycle time?
Bornemann: It is very important because this is defining the efficiency of the line. The more time you need, the less you can produce; in the end, it’s a very important process. The thing is, Viscom, being a high-end supplier, cannot reduce cycle time based on sacrificing the quality of the process. We know some people are just looking for the throughput; but for us, the first priority is finding the defect and of course for the benefit of the customer, reducing cycle time to make the machines more efficient.
Las Marias: Can you equate that to the cost of inspection?
Bornemann: Cost is an important factor, and the thing is, usually our benchmark of the line is the slowest machine. Usually that’s the pick-and-place machine; so what customers are giving us is the cycle time of the pick-and-place machine—and based on which we should not be slower. As long as we are not slower, then we can handle the board before they are piling up in front of the machine.
Las Marias: What about in-circuit inspection; do you have some ballpark figure on the hours spent on a particular board?
Bornemann: It really depends where you are coming from. In the automotive industry, the boards are a little bit smaller. When you go into telecommunications, IP networks, and server boards, they are really big boards, so usually the production process or pick-and-place processes are longer, and therefore the inspection process.
Editor's Note: This article originally appeared in the October 2015 issue of SMT Magazine.