Why use a Digital Microscope for PCB Inspection


4k Inspection

Why use a Digital Microscope?
Is there a need for this technology?
Why not just use the traditional, stereo microscopes and ‘eyepiece-less’ stereo viewers that are available?

The need for PCB inspection equipment in the production area has risen sharply as SMT components have become smaller and more complex. Stereo Microscopes were used for post production inspection in quality departments to check for problems and ensure quality was being maintained. As SMT reduced in size, these Stereo Microscopes were required in production areas for inspection of PCB assemblies during production and for rework applications. SMT continued to reduce in size and the stereo microscope became a standard feature when reworking small components.

Unless a dedicated stereo microscope is purchased for each operator, the scope needs to be adjusted to suit each operator before starting work.
The height of the stereo microscope, the distance between the eye pieces and adjusting the focus of each eye piece to correct any particular vision differences operators may have.

Operators need training, as using the stereo microscope whilst working ‘blind’ is difficult.
Locating the area to be reworked with the soldering iron and wire means having to look through the scope and then at the work piece, time a  time again.

The scope obscures the operators view when trying to use the naked eye therefore you have to look to the side or remove the PCB completely to see.
The stereo microscope certainly helped see the small SMT for rework but this was not a perfect solution.
Working at a stereo microscope for a long period is not comfortable as it is difficult to adjust for correct posture.

‘Eyepiece-less’ stereo microscopes, such as the well known ‘Mantis’ and ‘Lynx’ stereo microscopes were introduced, the eye pieces had been removed, the image displayed instead on a viewing screen, certainly a huge improvement and setting the ‘eyepiece-less’ stereo microscope up for different operators was much easier.

A certain amount of skill and training was still required with the ‘eyepiece-less’ stereo microscopes, it’s still not possible to look at the magnified image and at the soldering iron to see were you are working, as even the ‘eyepiece-less’ stereo microscopes are still obscuring the view of the work piece from the operator.

Now we can inspect PCBs using a Digital Microscope, no adjustment is required for the operator apart from their chair.

The operator is seated comfortably with good posture and there is no equipment obscuring the view of the work piece from the operator.

In fact the images displayed on a HD monitor are easy for several persons to see at once, no need to take it in turn to look through the microscope!

We have come full circle, back to the days when PCB’s were inspected by the naked eye and reworked without the need for microscopes.
There are other advantages of the Digital Microscope, images can be saved easily, measurements can be taken and software integration allows for features like..

Web Meeting

Allows the user to show inspection issues remotely, to colleagues working at home, customers or suppliers to discuss quality issues.

OAI – Overlay Assisted Inspection

Overlay Assisted Inspection provides a semi-automated inspection solution for improved inspection yields and requires no board training. Simply snap and image of a known good board then convert this to an overlay feature over the live board. The timer controller interval display makes any differences more obvious and easy to see – speeding up inspection whilst improving quality!

The Digital Microscope is now the preferred tool for PCB inspection, SMT rework and used general electronic production for inspection of PCBs before or during production and the list of applications are growing!

Other Features & Applications

Improved Documentation (collect images, measurements & annotations and report them easily)

Great for Training, everyone can see!

4k Ultra HD Digital Microscopes – even better images than full HD.

In-line Camera Systems – perfect solution for pre-reflow inspection applications or post reflow inspection and rework.

If you would like to see how Inspectis Digital Microscopes can help improve your inspection, please Contact Us.