ChipCheck ready to inspect your components!
Counterfeit PCB electronic components are of increasing concern to EU electronics manufacturers. The threat arises from the continual growth of Asian operations where there is minimal concern for quality and ethical issues, and little legislative protection of intellectual property which encourages the production of counterfeit components. Currently, an electronics manufacturer does not check all PCB components at "goods inwards". Although some manufacturers make random checks on single components from batches of components, it would be impossible to check all components in a cost effective manner. This is especially so when considering that surface mount components are supplied on feeding mechanisms such as reels or tubes, where the number of components can range typically from 1,000 to 20,000 items. The ChipCheck consortium has been working on an inspection solution to solve this problem. They have been working to produce a fast and automated inspection system and have recently completed and successfully demonstrated their prototype for detection of counterfeit electronic components. The intention of the ChipCheck project was to make a number of technological advances combined into a prototype that would take the electronics industry sector into a new era, where risk of counterfeit components in electronic products is considerably reduced. The proposed objectives were to develop a new and novel real time digital radiography (DR) inspection system for the detection of counterfeit components at good inwards. Now, at the project end, the finalised ChipCheck system prototype has met its objectives. The inspection system is fully automated and can inspect each electronic component in less than one second. The inspection of all electronic components entering good inwards, whether they are supplied on tape & reel, waffle tray or tube carriers, is now a reality. Field trials have proven the ChipCheck prototype flexibility and capability. The technology readiness level of the finished prototype is very high and, after some refinement and testing with a wide range of electronic components, it is expected that the first commercialised system could be on the market in as little as 6 to 12 months. A video of the ChipCheck project has been recently uploaded to YouTube: http://youtu.be/JHEUVY3MXAE
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