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AOI optical inspection lets here it!!!!!!


AOI optical inspection lets here it!!!!!! | 3 February, 2000

Looking through this months SMT mag every other page has an add for a new AOI system. This forum has had a few disscusions about these sytems but I think its time to have a good one. It seems like the technology may be getting to the point that it could make many of our jobs easier with the process feedback and continual 100% inspection that the manufacturers are now touting.

So here's my challenge to all: 1. everyone and there brother is selling these sytems. Who has a good one, what systems has the forum members already used. I'm sure there will be some leaders in technology that will come to the surface as far as system manufacturers.

2. do you think it is a valuble resourse, experience and opinions.

3. different system specs, what are systems currently capable of as well as options and pricing.

I think many here would be interested in a good thread like this so please contribute..

AOI automatic optical inspection

maybe no more " the inspectors should have caught the problem before the product went out the door"

thank you greg

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Michael Parker


Re: AOI optical inspection lets here it!!!!!! | 4 February, 2000

My first comment is "Buyer beware". I think that there is enough skepticism already from potential end-users that we are all maybe too wary. I endorse the concept, it has tremendous potential for process improvements, and making life easier. I have been trying to evaluate systems for the past 3 months. Most of my information has been culled from the 'net, some of it here in this forum. What I have learned so far is there exists a wide range of AOI technology, from simplistic systems that use "Golden Board" reference to sophisticated software that can take an engineer up to 2 days to program one assembly. Technologies with single light sources, multiple light sources, single camera, multiple camera. What is right? For an OEM, it may be easier to determine 1 type of machine is good, contract houses are at a greater disadvantage (high mix of assemblies) to find 1 machine-they may need several different types. Price ranges are from $50K to $300K. You get what you pay for. Or do you? I think the high end units are way over priced. $150K is more reasonable for "Cadillac". The rest is paying for investors profits and expensive R&D costs. A lack of installed base also makes it difficult for one like myself to get independent corroboration of sales pitches. So far I have seen slick demos on a lap top computer- I will have to go to a trade show to see the real thing- to lift the hood and kick the tires.

I would like to see details of current evaluations for specific machines- experiences shared from current users- please give a brief description of your assembly type, whether it is high or low populated, tact time ( if AOI is in-line), yield, etc.

I would like to share more and will later on- this is probably already too long of a message but it is a BIG subject.

Michael Parker QA Manager Unigen Corp.

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Leslie Hall


Re: AOI optical inspection lets here it!!!!!! | 11 February, 2000

What would you use this equipment for? checking the placement of componets or the correct component? Sorry for the question I just started recently as a Manufacturing Engineer just trying to get a feel wha it can be used for?

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Rick Thompson


Re: AOI optical inspection lets here it!!!!!! | 12 February, 2000

I have to agree with Michael's comments. We've been evaluating systems for a month or so. There's a pretty wide range depending on what you're looking for. I'd say the first thing needed is to define your expectations. Are you looking for solder inspection, component inspection, both, etc.? What types of these problems do you want to find and on what type of component? Primarily surface mount, through-hole or both? Questions like these will give you a better feel for what to look at.

We've had extensive demos on a couple of systems to date. One from Orbotech, one from CR Technology. Based on our limited exposure so far, these are examples of equipment aimed at different markets. Orbotech is of the multi-camera, multi-angle variety. Appears to be very good at finding all types of solder defects, not so good if you want to identify wrong components. CR Technology on the other hand is a top-down camera only system. They do have 2 or three cameras, but they're only for different focusing objectives. However, they can identify wrong parts, allow for multiple part 'images' for a particular location, etc. However the solder inspection is limited compared to Orbotech. Because the cameras only look from the top, J-lead solder joints can't be checked. In our case, CR seems better suited for the faults we need to find as a small contract house dealing with alot of customer consigned material.

One other point to note is that the systems we've looked at so far are much better suited to inspecting surface mount rather than through-hole boards. The grayscale camera systems seem to have a tougher time distinguishing slight color variations on through-hole parts, radial parts are tough to inspect (especially from the top only), and through-hole solder joints vary alot depending on how the leads are cut & clinched.

Bottom line again is to know what you want to inspect for and be prepared to discover that most systems are better at some types of defects than others.

I'm hoping this thread generates some input from current users, as we intend to place a PO by April and I can sure use the feedback. If anybody has opinions on particular vendors, equipment, etc. that they'd rather not post here, please feel free to contact me off-line.

Rick Thompson Director of Engineering Ventura Electronics Assembly (805) 584-9858

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