Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

Automated inspection of printed circuit boards

An advanced 3-dimensional inspection system for detecting soldering defects has improved product quality and provided cost-savings in the manufacture of electronic circuit boards.

In the manufacture of electronic assemblies more than 60% of soldering defects occur at the solder paste printing stage. By the time these are identified at the final test stage full value has been added to the board, and rework is time-consuming and costly. Trends within the industry towards finer pitchs (distances between joints) and an increasing number of joints per board impose further quality demands.

An advanced inspection system with 3-dimensional capability solves this problem, providing clear advantages in terms of optimization of the printing process. Based on advanced laser technology, the Tri-scan system, developed under the TRIOS project, allows for the automated inspection of soldered joints. The 3-dimensional solution provided by Tri-scan offers clear advantages in terms of processing speed and reliability. In addition, 3-dimensional capability provides a link to computer aided design/computer aided manufacture (CAD/CAM) systems while providing an optimum solution to detecting 3-dimensional shaped defects.

Solder pattern formations are scanned using a specially-developed high speed 3-dimensional microscope. Once in the machine, each board is scanned twice. In the forward stroke, board dimensions are checked against CAD data for translation, rotation and stretch. During the backward stroke the board is scanned at up to 1000 scan lines per second and the solder paste deposit parameters are calculated with minute accuracy. Scanning of each board takes approximately 9 s.

TRIOS has benefitted the European electronics industry by increasing the speed and accuracy of board defect detection. By testing for defects early in the manufacturing process expensive rework is avoided, while productivity and product quality are increased.

Reported by

Siemens AG
Otto-Hahn-Ring 6
81739 Muenchen
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