Automatic PCB Inspection Systems

M. Moganti
Fikret Erçal, Missouri University of Science and Technology

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There are more than 50 process steps required to fabricate a printed circuit board (PCB). To ensure quality, human operators simply inspect the work visually against prescribed standards. The decisions made by this labor intensive, and therefore costly, procedure often also involve subjective judgements. Automatic inspection systems remove the subjective aspects and provide fast, quantitative dimensional assessments. Machine vision may answer the manufacturing industry's need to improve product quality and increase productivity. The major limitation of existing inspection systems is that all the algorithms need a special hardware platform to achieve the desired real-time speeds. This makes the systems extremely expensive. Any improvements in speeding up the computation process algorithmically could reduce the cost of these systems drastically. However, they remain a better option than increasingly error prone, and slow manual human inspection