3D measurement is the latest development trend in assembled PCB inspection. It’s creating quite a stir and it does indeed offer many advantages in terms of improved accuracy & stability of inspection results. Having quantitative data gives much tighter control than “classic” AOI and is a big step forward in improving the quality assurance and process control of assembled PCBs.
Unfortunately, the term ‘Full 3D’ is often used inaccurately. Full 3D implies that the height profile across the whole PCB is being measured, but most of the time, the majority of systems can only measure height selectively, and only on component bodies, NOT the solder joints. And even then, only the components that the programmer has specifically identified and selected for height measurement. For the remainder, classic 2D algorithms and lights are used for the inspection.
Our 3D AOI solution, the Mek ISO-Spector series delivers a genuine, Full 3D inspection that measures a complete height profile across the whole PCB, including the solder joints. As solder joints are shiny, as are some glass or cylindrical shaped components, it can be quite difficult to measure their heights because projected light beams reflect in all directions. But Mek has successfully overcome that challenge.
ISO-Spector uses dual, telecentric, violet color, almost vertical (80 degrees) laser projections and a specially developed 12 mega pixel capturing sensor that can measure 3D but also capture 2D images simultaneously. Its’ powerful software enables what is probably the fastest programming time in 3D AOI.
Compared to the PowerSpector selective 3D AOI systems, used by many Mek customers, the ISO-Spector is completely different from both a hardware and software point of view. But the PowerSpector range has also been greatly developed recently and latest generation models (GTAz) have 9 cameras (1 main and 8 side) and standard Z-Axis. The side cameras can be used for active inspection next to comfortable verification of defects. But the biggest feature is that the multiple cameras can be used for height measurement using the stereoscopic method on the bodies of passive components for coplanarity tests.
Which type of system is the best fit for you and your manufacturing facility is dependent on a number of factors. What sort of production is taking place? High mix/ low volume? Are you looking for an inline solution or desktop? What are the max PCB dimensions you are looking to work with?
We have demo ISO-Spector and PowerSpector units in our showroom in the Netherlands where interested customers are highly welcome as visitors. We’d love the opportunity to demonstrate their capabilities and help you in making the decision on what type of AOI you really need.
If you’d be interested in visiting, contact us today.