Industry-first imaging tech + AI for PCB AOI requires less qualification & improves high-precision inspection

10 November 2021

AI-Powered PCB Inspection System Omron VT-S10 Series
AI-Powered PCB Inspection System Omron VT-S10 Series

OMRON's next-generation 3D AOI PCB inspection system, the VT-S10 Series, uses innovative, multi-direction, multi-colour imaging, MPS (multi-phase shift) 3D hardware & advanced AI to reduce false calls, improve first-pass yields & optimise defect detection.

Specialist in AOI, AXI, SPI & other advanced automation systems, OMRON has announced its new PCB inspection system, the VT-S10 Series, featuring industry-first imaging technologies and AI (artificial intelligence) to automate high-precision inspection processes for PCB (printed circuit board) electronic sub-assemblies, thus eliminating the need for specialist operator skills. With increased call for the new global wireless standard, 5G, electric vehicles (EVs) and autonomous driving, the inspection of complex electronics, such as in-vehicle PCB assemblies, becomes increasingly challenging. OMRON’s new VT-S10 solution allows for high-precision inspection of such key components to maintain and enhance quality, thus contributing to security and safety.

In recent years, the demand for PCB assemblies for 5G, EVs and autonomous driving has grown rapidly, also raising the quality requirements of PCBs, since these applications can turn out to be a risk for humans. As PCB assemblies become more dense and even smaller, inspection is accompanied by increased challenges. Conventional PCB inspection systems struggle to take accurate images of solder shapes, for example, thus limiting the scope and parameters of inspection. Meanwhile on the factory floor, and confronted with a growing shortage of skilled workforce, employees are required to avoid close contact and movement to prevent the spread of COVID-19. As a result, the frequency of visual inspections has to be reduced. Other demands are lower experience and skill requirements for the implementation of new inspection equipment, alongside improved inspection accuracy. As automotive and 5G markets continue to grow, the product supply chain will be expanded. So, shape inspection, such as IPC standard, becomes more useful to maintain the inspection quality.

Equipped with OMRON's proprietary MDMC (Multi-Direction Multi-Color) imaging technology, the VT-S10 Series automatically optimises irradiation angles, colours and light intensity of illumination during the inspection of the PCB assembly, taking characteristics such as the shapes of electronic components and soldering on the PCB into account. First tests show that this new technology can reduce the human-hours required for set-up by approximately 70%. Furthermore, with the assistance of AI, this PCB inspection system can automate inspections that have until now had to rely on human senses, significantly improving inspection accuracy. OMRON has more than 30 years of experience in the field of both appearance and solder inspection.

Innovative solutions & AI require less qualification & lead to improved high-precision inspection
Innovative solutions & AI require less qualification & lead to improved high-precision inspection

Through the integration of the widest range of control devices and the use of AI fully versed in solder inspection, the VT-S10 Series is the latest OMRON offering that embodies its "innovative-Automation" concept for manufacturing, offering three key innovations: integrated (evolution in control); intelligent (developed through information & communications technology); and interactive (harmonisation between humans & machines). Going forward, the company wants to continue to evolve production floors hand in hand with customers. By expanding the scope and parameters for automated inspection, operators shall be freed from simple, monotonous work so that they can engage in more creative work, ultimately improving the security and safety of our society.

Key features of the VT-S10 Series:

3D imaging from all angles for accurate inspection of complicated solder shapes
3D imaging from all angles for accurate inspection of complicated solder shapes

1. MDMC imaging technology significantly lowers chances of erroneous decisions

By utilising its proprietary MDMC illumination, OMRON has developed an imaging technology for high-precision inspection of ever-advancing substrates and components. Through the flexible manipulation of irradiation angles, colours and light intensity, it’s now possible to capture solder shapes more accurately than with conventional imaging methods, eliminating the interference of shadows of neighbouring tall components and distinctly reading patterns on substrates and prints on the surface of components.

2. Minimising programming human-hours by quantitative inspection & AI-assisted qualitative inspection

Based on the knowledge that OMRON has accumulated in both component and solder shape inspection, as well as images gained through MDMC illumination, OMRON has developed AI dedicated to solder inspection. This AI-assisted inspection is combined with quantitative inspection by MDMC to achieve reductions in both the required level of teaching skills and the chances of erroneous decisions. In a validation test with a customer, OMRON verified a reduction in visual inspection human-hours by 85%.

Preventing defects & improving quality & first-pass yield
Preventing defects & improving quality & first-pass yield

3. M2M system for production of defect-free products

Linking data with production equipment at other manufacturers utilising Omron’s proprietary QupAuto process software, allows for improved monitoring quality, minimising defects. This new series can improve visualising quality by developing a database of inspection results, including numerical values and images, from each process. Additionally, the VT-S10 technology enhances the first-pass yield rate by automatically optimising post-print/post-placement inspection criteria based on the inspection results at the final process. It can also link data with other production equipment manufacturers to reduce and prevent defects. A validation test with a customer showed that, with the introduction of this M2M system, the defect ratio was reduced by more than 50% by detecting and dealing with quality variations before defects occurred.

For more information, please visit: https://inspection.omron.eu


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