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56 SMT007 MAGAZINE I OCTOBER 2021 Feature Article by Brent Fischthal KOH YOUNG AMERICA, INC. As we wind down 2021, we eagerly antici- pate the new year, which should bring new op- portunities. With the start of the new year, we oen see new capital equipment budgets roll out, and production engineers and operations managers begin to evaluate how to best spend their newfound resources to improve the pro- cesses. ere are multiple papers readily avail- able from industry experts like Chrys Shea of Shea Engineering about the significance of sol- der paste inspection (SPI) equipment. erein, you can find justification about why adding a solder paste inspection machine should be the first piece of inspection equipment considered. SPI will immediately reduce assembly defects. erefore, let us consider automated optical inspection (AOI). AOI technology has been available for decades, but only since the intro- duction and industry adoption of real 3D mea- surement has it emerged as a major area of fo- cus to prevent defects and improve production yields in pre-reflow and post-reflow positions. Increase Production Yield by Investing in Leading-Edge Equipment Yet, many manufacturers are using antiquated 2D or quasi-3D systems that increase false calls and escapes. In the early days of optical inspection, SPI and AOI systems were based on 2D inspection technology. ese 2D systems were looking at different grey levels for solder joint and compo- nent detection. Most decisions were made by a "good/bad" comparison to reference images or "golden boards." While many 2D AOI systems remain in use, the effort needed to keep this technology at a low level of escape and false- call rates can be exceptionally high. ese an- tiquated 2D systems facilitate false calls and failure escapes. is is because the concept of comparing reference images is still the main technique applied in 2D systems. To help the situation, some equipment manufacturers have added additional cameras and projectors to cre- ate a "quasi 3D" or "2.5D" inspection technolo- gy, but it is still based on the same inadequate concept of comparison or color assessment. Now, aer the introduction of 3D AOI, a transition to true 3D measurement is tak- ing place. e benefits are clear: rock-solid

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