Automatic or automated optical inspection, AOI, is a key technique used in the manufacture and test of electronics printed circuit boards, PCBs. Automatic optical inspection, AOI enables fast and high accurate inspection of electronics assemblies and ensure that the quality of product leaving the production line is negative and the items are built correctly and without manufacturing faults.
Despite the major improvements that have been made, modern circuits are far more complicated than boards were even a few years ago. The introduction of surface mount technology, and the subsequent further reductions in size mean that boards are particularly compact. Even relatively average boards have thousands of soldered joints, and these are where the majority of problems are found.
This increase in the complexity of boards also means that manual inspection is not a viable option these days. Even when it was an accepted approach, it was realized that it was not particularly effective as inspectors soon tired and poor and incorrect construction was easily missed. With the marketplace now requiring high volume, high quality products to be brought to market, a quickly and reliable method is needed to ensure high quality. AOI, automatic optical inspection is an essential tool in an integrated electronics test strategy that ensure costs are kept as low as possible by detecting faults early in the production line.
One of the solutions to enhance quality efficiency is to use automatic optical inspection system. Automated optical inspection systems can be placed into the production line just after the soldering process. In this way they can be used to catch problems early in the production process. This has a number of advantages. If the faults were found on the production line, the correction would be instantly therefore the defect rate will decrease. Additionally processing problems in the solder and assembly area can be seen early in the production process and information used to feedback quickly to earlier stages. In this way, a rapid response can ensure that problems are recognized quickly and rectified before too many boards are built with the same problem.
AOI, automatic optical inspection systems use visual methods to monitor printed circuit boards for defects. They are able to detect a variety of surface feature defects such as nodules, scratches and stains as well as the more familiar dimensional defects such as open circuits, shorts and thinning of the solder. They can also detect incorrect components, missing components and incorrectly placed components. As such they are able to perform all the visual checks performed previously by manual operators, and far more swiftly and accurately.
They achieve this by visually scanning the surface of the board. The board is light by several light sources and one or more high definition cameras are used. In this way the AOI machine is able to build up a picture of the board
The automated optical inspection, AOI system uses the captured image which is processed and then compared with the knowledge the machine has of what the board should look like. Using this comparison the AOI system is able to detect and highlight any defects or suspect areas.
As technology has improved it has been able for AOI systems to very accurately predict defects and have a small number of no defect found scenarios. As such AOI systems form a very useful element in a sophisticated manufacturing environment.
About Shenzhen Sipotek Technology Co., Ltd
Started in 2002, Sipotek Technology is located in Shenzhen in China. The company designs and manufactures visual inspection systems with its avant-garde R&D department and a great experience in artificial vision technologies. The Sipotek Technology staff supports customers 360 degrees, from listening to their requests to the development of ambitious machines for quality control.
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Contact Person: James Yuan
Company: Shenzhen Sipotek Technology Co., Ltd
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