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Automated Optical Inspection Increases Quality and Accuracy

Category: GeneralPublished on 2017 Nov, 09Author Telan

Automated optical inspection (AOI) allows PCBs to be inspected quickly and accurately, ensuring they have been built correctly and in accordance with quality standards. Thanks to advances in board design and assembly - such as surface mount technology - today’s circuit boards are increasingly complex and compact. Even relatively simple boards feature thousands of soldered joints, which is where the majority of production problems are found. The complexity of boards (especially multilayer boards) and the rate of production often mean that manual inspection is no longer a viable option. Automated optical inspection provides a faster, more accurate method that ensures quality standards never slip.


Automated optical inspection (AOI) allows PCBs to be inspected quickly and accurately, ensuring they have been built correctly and in accordance with quality standards. Thanks to advances in board design and assembly - such as surface mount technology - today’s circuit boards are increasingly complex and compact. Even relatively simple boards feature thousands of soldered joints, which is where the majority of production problems are found. The complexity of boards (especially multilayer boards) and the rate of production often mean that manual inspection is no longer a viable option. Automated optical inspection provides a faster, more accurate method that ensures quality standards never slip.


Automated Optical Inspection Basics

As the name implies, automated optical inspection systems use visual methods to check printed circuit boards for defects. They can detect a variety of surface feature defects (such as scratches, stains, and nodules) along with dimensional defects (including shorts, open circuits, and thinning of solder). AOI systems can also detect incorrect or missing components and incorrectly placed components. Essentially, these systems perform the same visual checks as manual inspectors with better speed and accuracy.


This is done by scanning the surface of the board with one or more high-definition cameras while the board is lit by several light sources. The type of lighting used makes it possible to highlight various defects more easily. Specifically, the AOI machine builds up a picture of the board and compares it with the information about the board that it has been programmed with. This comparison allows it to detect and highlight any defects or areas that need further inspection.


Automated optical inspection systems are often placed on the production line just after the solder machines, catching problems early in the production process. This helps keep production costs low as faults are costlier to repair the further into production they are found. Additionally, the information gathered by the automated optical inspection allows for a rapid response to the early stages of production, ensuring problems are quickly recognized and corrected before too many boards are produced with the same problem.


Telan: Ensuring Quality for Over 35 Years

At Telan, we are committed to producing the highest-quality printed circuit boards for our clients. Our thorough inspection methods and adherence to IPC-A-610D Workmanship Standards have made us a leading PCB assembly service for nearly four decades. If you are looking for a trusted contract electronics manufacturer to partner with, call us today at 215-997-7603.

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