What is an X-ray Inspection system for PCBs?
An X-ray inspection system for Printed Circuit Boards uses X-ray radiation to detect hidden defects of a PCB like solder bridging under a BGA, tilted BGA, BGA voiding, BGA missing balls, BGA poor wetting, solder voids in pad areas, thermal via defects, defects under QFN components and a number of other such issues which can not be seen by regular cameras or by the naked eye during inspection.
The X-ray inspection machine allows the PCB to be inspected from any angle. Nowadays, in-line X-ray measuring equipment is used in automated inspection of PCB assemblies containing BGA and QFN components. In an in-line automated PCB assemblies, the X-ray measuring system is placed next to the reflow or wave soldering oven to detect the hidden defects.
An X-ray based inspection system consists of a chamber with a small gap where the PCB can be inserted and removed. Typically, inside the chamber, the X-rays source is positioned at the bottom of the chamber, and a digital detector (phosphor screens) is positioned directly above it. The PCB that needs to be inspected enters the chamber by means of an edge conveyor belt and is positioned in between the source and detector. The backside of the PCB is exposed to the X-ray. Hence, the X-rays pass through the components. The different molecular densities within the component attenuate the X-rays by different amounts resulting formation of light and dark areas on detective media.
As a result of this, we can easily identify crack i.e the attenuation level of the dense part of the solder ball is heavy as compared to the attenuation level of the crack (air). Because of different attenuation levels, the crack appears as dark, and the dense part of the solder ball appears as a light in the image.
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