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Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited
OMRON - automatic optical inspection
Article Type: New products From: Sensor Review, Volume 28, Issue 3
Production automation system specialist, Contax Ltd, has recently installed 15 Omron AOI (automatic optical inspection) systems at nine different customer sites in the UK and Ireland. The machines range from the large in-line VT-RNS, through to the smaller benchtop VT-RNS-ptH system. Contax’s customers include: Building Block Video (BBV) Ltd, Prima Electronic Services Ltd, RFTRAQ Ltd, Hosiden Besson Ltd and Deep Sea Electronics plc.
All the users wanted to improve the quality and reliability of their optical inspection. And in some cases the new Omron has been instrumental in developing new procedures. Several manufacturers are now using their systems to identify and correct errors in product design.
One company benefiting from both these applications is BBV Ltd An existing Contax customer, BBV has now purchased a benchtop VT-RNS-ptH to automate its inspection process.
“We had already bought a number of different machines from Contax, and have always found them very helpful and their service excellent,” commented Trevor Malton, Process Service Manager at BBV Ltd “So when we wanted to incorporate AOI into our processes, it seemed only natural to turn to them.”
“Traditionally, we were inspecting everything under high powered magnification, but when you are looking a numerous boards it is easy to become ‘snow-blind’ and human error can happen.”
“AOI takes the uncertainty out of inspection,” said Trevor. “There are 3 specific elements that attracted us to Omron’s system,” he added. “Firstly, the benchtop unit is a good, compact size; secondly, we are able to connect it to our rework station; and finally, it is very easy to use. You just load the board, push the button and all the relevant information appears on the screen,” he said.
The Omron system is also being used to fine-tune product design. As Trevor Malton continued, “The AOI is helping us to monitor our PCB design and identify any faults with the pad. We can then feed this information back to our design team, so that they can upgrade the library. The next time that board is made, those changes will be incorporated”.
Concluded Trevor, “The Omron AOI system has not only increased the reliability of our boards, but has also ensured that any design faults can be corrected in future,” he finished.
Prima Electronic Services have also purchased a benchtop system, although its new VT-RNS-ptH L is specifically designed to handle boards of up to 650 × 550 mm. “We were concerned about post reflow inspection and decided to automate our processes,” explained Mike Rogers, Director at Prima. “Fine pitch components are becoming so small that it is difficult to inspect the joints accurately even under high microscope magnification. Added to this, as a leading CEM, we manufacture a wide range of boards, so we needed a system that could handle the larger sizes”.
Mike continued, “We attended Nepcon this year and looked at 4 different systems. We wanted a unit that offered fast and easy programming and was reliable. In my experience, many AOI systems flag up false failures - an error that is both expensive and time-consuming. We need to be able to adapt quickly to our customers’ needs whilst keeping a tight rein on unnecessary expenditure. So set-up costs must be kept to a minimum, and accuracy is extremely important.”