Advanced automatic inspection for printed circuit board assemblies

The MTC, in partnership with Nikon, has developed test circuit board assemblies for improving advanced automatic soldier joint analysis and inspection algorithms.

“Working with the MTC enabled Nikon to speed up development cycle time and provide value added functionality to new and existing customers.” – Kamran Iqbal, Product Marketing Manager, Nikon

The Challenge

Electronic designs are increasing in density and complexity whilst shrinking in size. Nikon identified a growing trend and demand for powerful multifunction inspection platforms which can automatically perform intelligent analysis with high throughput and low false call rates.
Nikon approached the MTC to design and produce complex circuit board assemblies to further the development of artificial intelligence algorithms for solder joint defect detection.
The challenge was to produce assemblies exhibiting a mixture of acceptable joints and specific controlled solder joint defects using a range of challenging package styles.
MTC’s solution

The MTC provided support in selecting, developing and validating advanced automatic inspection and assembly tools for circuit board and semiconductor packaging.
The MTC designed and manufactured circuit board assemblies that are representative of complex mixed technology designs. Assemblies included a broad range of packaging styles such as fine pitch ball grid arrays, area array packages, passive devices and traditional through hole components on a multilayer circuit board. The MTC produced boards with a range of capability levels, so that the sensitivity of the algorithm could be evaluated.

The Outcome

A batch of complex multilayer circuit board assemblies were designed and fabricated featuring varying degrees of controlled hidden assembly defects. The boards were supplied with a complete build report for traceability purposes. Root causes of PCB assembly defects and significant process control variables were determined. Nikon used the assemblies to develop and fine tune their unique automatic inspection algorithms and improved defect detectability and inspection time.

Benefits to the client

Nikon were able to accelerate their new systems development time. The client was able to benchmark current inspection methods to identify limitations. Value has been added to new and existing customers who can now have access to more advanced automated defect detection and analysis. The product development has been used as a launch pad for more advanced analysis tools.

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