Printed circuit board assembly has come a long way in recent years. Now that PCB assembly can easily be performed by machine, PCB manufacturers have been able to increase their production and drastically reduce the time required for this process. In fact, a few PCB assemblers even offer standard turnaround times of three days or less — 75% faster than the industry average. However, clients who rely on these circuit boards will never be willing to sacrifice quality for speed. In order to ensure PCB production maintains a high-quality standard and exceeds customer expectations, PCB assemblers must prioritize testing during the prototyping and mass production processes.
One of the best ways to do this, especially when BGAs (Ball Grid Arrays) and other leadless components (like DFNs and QFNs) are involved, is through 3D X-Ray testing. This inspection process is vital during printed circuit board assembly because it can catch errors that might otherwise go undetected until the board is powered up.
The 3D X-Ray inspection process is relatively simple, in practice. A printed circuit board is placed inside the X-Ray machine. It is then scanned to create an accurate layout image in three dimensions. These layout images can actually be magnified up to 36,000 times to check for errors and inconsistencies.
Typically, there are three main faults that PCB assembly services technicians look for when examining these images: solder bridges (which occur when solder melts and crosses over into other areas); solder voids (which are missing areas of solder that are found when a board is processed too quickly or slowly, often in the prototyping process); and missing, inadequate, or excess solder. The X-Ray system can also be utilized by technicians to troubleshoot a PCB, particularly in cases where misalignment, poor connections, or other internal defects play a part.
Using these 3D X-Ray machines, technicians can detect errors in a matter of minutes. In the past, similar processes could have slowed down or even stopped production for several days. But because these machines provide both speed and immense accuracy, the boards can be examined and given a stamp of approval quickly — or, alternatively, fixed in a much shorter amount of time. In either case, technicians can ensure these boards work as intended, improving customer satisfaction and maintaining PCB quality at the same time.
At Advanced Assembly, we take great pride in our use of X-Ray inspection technology. This machine allows us to provide superior circuit boards for our clients and catch errors early on in the process. To find out more about our printed circuit board assembly services and how our PCB testing can improve the quality of your products, please contact us today.