PIGE Electronique, Armines, MILPIX SA
Circuit board makers typically use automatic optical inspection (AOI) machines to monitor the quality of production runs. Those machines use a reference inspection program to spot defects; how complicated this program is and how well a machine can detect anomalies depends on the type of machine. Easy-to-program machines typically have a low defect detection rating. But since today's manufacturers must deal with highly-complex production processes and large-volume runs--not to mention the pressure to cut employee training costs--they are increasingly turning to machines that can be programmed quickly without sacrificing inspection levels.
AOI machines typically operate by comparing a board from the production line with a "perfect" reference board. These types of systems are easy to program, but are limited in their ability to spot defects due to process variations. Project leader VITechnology intends to develop a program that uses CAD data from the board being inspected in conjunction with a library of models with image processing algorithms. For now, AOI machines are not practical for production lines with a wide product mix due to the complexity of programming a board. This project's main innovation will be to use 3D segmentation of the board being inspected to speed and automate the programming step.