Interview: Volker Pape, VISCOM AG

At the recent SMT Hybrid Packaging in Nuremberg, Germany, Trevor Galbraith spoke with Volker Pape about the latest 3D inline x-ray products at VISCOM AG.

Hr Pape, you have launched your latest 3D inline x-ray called the X7056. Can you tell us a little about the features in this machine? 

Actually, this model is a brand-new prototype of the -2 model of the 7056, which contains a lot of improvements against the predecessor model. Specifically, it can inspect a bigger board size. This makes the machine larger, but only slightly. It can still be equipped as a combo-system, with an optical inspection sub-set, so you can integrate both into this machine. The biggest highlight is the speed of handling, which is supported by the, X-FastFlow, which make it possible to exchange boards in this system within four seconds, which is quite fast for an x-ray system.

You are referring to the speed of handling, for example, loading and unloading? 

Exactly, yes. If you don’t use the X-FastFlow, it is still fast, around about eight seconds. The usual amount of time you need is ten to 12 seconds, or even longer. This system is fundamentally fast, But with X-FastFlow, it gives you double the speed for exchanging boards, loading and unloading.

What about the inspection quality you receive? What kind of tube are you using and what kind of image quality are you getting? 

Actually, we utilize all the variation of tubes we used in our predecessor model. We have changed in sensing the x-ray, we have a bigger portion of the flat-panel inspector, so we can use bigger flat-panel devices with a higher pixel count. This means we can be faster again, or we can increase the resolution by adjusting the system accordingly. Also, we have improved this XY unit for the image detector by using linear motors which gives them higher speed so that we can acquire the many images for the 3D CT much faster. Another point that is very important, we have improved the recalculation algorithms drastically, so we have much higher image quality. We also have process to suppress pariodic structures so we have less disturbances in the resulting image, and that makes it easier to handle the shifts in the 3D image to detect the faults. We can also do vertical slicing, which is helpful for detecting specific faults.

I believe you can also run it in 2D mode to cover most of the board then really narrow-down with the CT to a specific area of interest? 

This is the point. We can flexibly program where on the specific board we can utilize the high-speed 2D analysis, which is still faster than 3D. We can then choose selected or full-board inspection to utilize the 3D planner CT analysis, which is a little bit slower, but with all these features, this system is really inline capable. It is one of the few systems that is able to be inline and meeting the cycle time needs.

You’ve always, historically, focused heavily on the automotive sector, which is the real sweet-spot at the moment. Is this still the case? 

Yes. Automotive is actually booming again, so we are lucky with that, as we are strong in this market. But never-the-less, we currently have high-demand from the high-quality EMS manufacturers and manufacturers of other devices, such as industrial controls etc. Especially as the components and PCB continues to get more complex and stacked components get in there, all these features have to be inspected by 3D. That is why the demand is increasing in these businesses.

The complexity is really ramping-up. There is an average of 1.3 sensors in every car, which is going to rise to about eight in the next few years.

Yes. For example, cellphones get slimmer every day, and you have to care for the 3D stacking—it fits within the right amount of space, and so on. All these features have to be measured and they have to be measured with the 3D equipment, depending on what you measure, it needs to measured optically or with a 3D system.

It is a productronica year. Everyone brings out their best toys for that show. What do you have planned? 

I tell you what. The best is to come along and have a look, and we will tell you then. You know that VISCOM is a technology-driven company, so we have a lot of developments ongoing, and we will wait right up to the last-minute before we decide what we will show at productronica. This also depends on the demands from our customers. We make plans, but they may be changed just before the show.

Hr Pape, thank you for joining us today. We will look forward to seeing you at productronica. 



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