AOI and quality of manufacture
Printed circuit board suppliers in the automotive sector are significantly accelerating their marketing by using automated optical inspection (AOI) systems during circuit board assembly. However, this new generation technique is not limited to the automotive industry – it has strong implications for the entire PCB industry.
What is 3D AOI?
To better understand the benefits that 3D AOI offers, it is worth comparing it to its predecessor, 2D AOI. In the past, automated optical inspection processes allowed electronics manufacturers to identify manufacturing defects and other problems during the final stages of PCB assembly.
In a typical AOI configuration, a top-mounted camera takes accurately measured photos. the results to a very detailed schematic file. Parameter differences that exceed a certain threshold are reported and a human operator inspects the product in question.
The result of this process is that human operators no longer need to manually check all the parameters of a printed circuit board. it would take a lot of time. Now, a small team of operators can check a very large volume of PCBs and select those that are faulty with great accuracy.
3D AOI builds on this premise using two cameras to develop a three-dimensional image of the PCB. This allows the AOI process to check smaller components than ever before. In some cases, adding a set of side stereo cameras allows optical imaging technology to create a complete rendering of the PCB, enabling unprecedented accuracy and quality control.
Who uses 3D AOI for inspection of PCBs?
In mid-2017, this technology is almost exclusively used in the autonomous vehicle industry. The ability to quickly identify and measure panel defects when it comes to extremely small components is an important factor contributing to making autonomous vehicles a daily reality.
However, with time, this inspection process will become more common, dramatically reducing the time and energy expended for PCB inspection. Manufacturers are continually looking for better and more effective testing methods that provide real-time feedback. In this way, PCB defects can be identified early in the manufacturing process, sparing the customer's grief and the company's reputation by preventing potential recalls or, in some industry sectors, lawsuits.
minimizing expensive material waste. The combination increases the traceability of the supply chain and helps manufacturers identify the factors that generate production failures.