Why digital microscopes could replace traditional magnification tools in quality control

18 December 2018

Credit: Armed with Science

Using a digital microscope instead of traditional magnification tools to repair and/or rework defective boards will improve the operator’s user experience and pave the way for more efficient quality control – thanks to the bigger working area and real-time image display.

Once a PCB has been identified as faulty during quality control, repairing and reworking will most likely include soldering by hand. However, due to the miniaturisation of components in – for instance – smart phones and tablets, traditional tools such as magnification lamps and optical microscopes become insufficient or inexpedient.
Digital microscopes replace traditional magnification tools

Today, higher magnification levels than ever before are needed when hand soldering integrated circuits and capacitors, due to increasing reductions in component size. In fact, many operators find that magnifying lamps are no longer able to provide the required magnification levels. Moreover, optical microscopes, usually considered the alternative to magnifying lamps, have a small field of view, creating a limited perspective to work with.

In contrast to such issues, a digital microscope not only offers an increased field of view, but it does so to the point of allowing co-operation between colleagues, who can look at a shared monitor. This facilitates a more hands-on and collaborative approach to quality control when repairing and reworking defective boards.

Repair and rework in real time

A digital microscope will also display a live image of what happens beneath the camera with no delay, eliminating moments of delay and further improving the working conditions in quality control.
Improved ergonomics and hand-eye co-ordination

With a digital microscope, the user can see the magnified object on a monitor, preventing the users from experiencing unnecessary neck pains and headaches: this is as they are no longer bending their necks to look through an ocular or magnifying lamp. Cases show that the elimination of straining work postures leads to less sick leave and staff infirmities.
With the help of an inline flex arm, the operator can also stand directly in front of the camera and object under the microscope. This further improves the ergonomics and hand-eye co-ordination of the operator, which paves the way for more efficient rework.

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