SMT, PCB Electronics Industry News

Inspection System Can See Under BGAs

Apr 07, 2003

Metcal April 7, 2003

The innovative VPI-1000 optical inspection system is the only benchtop SMT inspection system capable of inspecting BGA devices as standard, without necessitating a lengthy lens reconfiguration.

It is also now available with a powerful 3D modelling software option.

The sleek and ergonomically designed VPI-1000 optical inspection system captures clear, crisp images of any SMT device or assembly feature including wire bonds, through-holes, J-legs, gullwings, leaded heel fillets, solder paste and adhesive deposits and height measurements.

It can also inspect BGAs without demanding a cumbersome lens change.

By contrast, competing BGA inspection systems require a separate, expensive lens to be purchased for SMT inspection: adding in the region of 20 to 60% to the total cost of the system.

Moreover, it generally takes 15 to 20min of downtime to interchange between inspection lenses.

With the VPI-1000 optical inspection system all that is required is for a small (patented) high focus mirrored tip/lens interface to be removed (for SMT) or replaced (for BGA) and this takes just a few seconds.

The VPI-1000 optical inspection system is able to look under not only BGAs, but any ultra-low-profile package (such as CSPs and LGAs) with a standoff height as low as 0.127mm, and as little as 0.275mm from surrounding devices.

The special tips are also disposable and cost less to replace than other inspection systems.

The overall inspection system capabilities focus on applications where increasingly smaller tolerances, diminishing board real estate and lower device profiles are required, such as the mobile phone and medical device markets etc.

Another new feature on Metcal's VPI-1000 optical inspection system is a powerful 3D modelling and analysis software option that allows users to take a 3D image of a solder ball to inspect the surface texture for evidence of surface defects such as stress cracking.

The synthetic 3D image can be rotated 360 degrees on-screen and is based on the intensity spectrum of reflected light shone onto the solder ball.

As such, the 3D modelling capability can be used to quickly and easily establish whether there is stress cracking, and if so, whether or not it is simply cosmetic (and can be safely left) or serious (a structural defect).

The VPI-1000 optical inspection system is also capable of catching (storing) images, which can be measured and annotated for future reference or inclusion in reports.

Reports can be emailed or archived and can be used for documentation, training, R and D or QA.

In operation, central to the VPI-1000 optical inspection system's capabilities is Metcal's articulating lens, which rotates 90 degrees (left/right) for easier inspection of interior rows and features an angle swing of 5 degrees (up/down) for closer inspection of top and bottom connections.

With a slight turn of the lens adjustment ring, the operator can move through the underside of the component to check for bridging, cold solder joints, open circuits, excess flux, contamination and other process-related failures that X-ray inspection systems cannot easily detect without highly educated and technical interpretation.

The VPI-1000 optical inspection system floods the underside of the component with bright-white metal halide light that replicates natural daylight, enhances the colour rendering and produces sharp, clear, crisp images on the system's high-resolution flat screen colour monitor.

Completing the system is a 12.7mm CCD camera, which accounts for the system's compact size and a high-resolution flat LCD monitor that frees bench space.

The VPI-1000 optical inspection system also offers a user-friendly software package, which includes measurement and process analysis, multi-focusing, tiling and image enhancement and a specially designed visual defect diagnostic programme.

This software completely eliminates the need for calibration, as this function is preset within the system.

The software has also been designed to help users get the most from the system without the need for extensive training.

Also available is a board holder which secures boards up to 305 x 305mm.

The handler simply attaches the board holder to the unit's built-in x-y table, which offers variable height adjustment from 12.7 x 83.82mm.

Boards 457 x 406mm can easily be inspected, although not secured, with the VPI-1000.

"The VPI-1000 optical inspection system again raises the bar for SMT optical inspection systems", explained Howard Rupprecht, VP of Marketing at Metcal.

"We've been able to increase functionality while substantially lowering cost.

The result is an optical inspection system that makes industry sense.

Small to medium volume manufacturers can now add BGA inspection capabilities without the prohibitive expense of X-ray.

High volume houses can now supplement X-ray with optical inspection for optimum process control, ultimate quality and improved traceability.

As such the VPI-1000 optical inspection system continues to be an invaluable and extremely versatile assembly tool".

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