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Apex Expo underway as IPC announces innovation awards

Feb. 26, 2018

San Diego, CA. IPC Apex Expo is underway, with companies planning to highlight a variety of test, inspection, and other products related to the design and production of PCBs and related electronic assemblies. Exhibitors will include 32 companies who nominated 34 products and services for the Apex Expo 2018 Innovation Awards. IPC today announced the four winners:

DfR Solutions won for the temperature-based FEA capabilities in its Sherlock automated design analysis software, which analyzes, grades, and certifies the expected reliability of products at the circuit-card assembly level.

JBC Tools won for JBC Net, a software system that manages and optimizes the hand soldering process, standardizes parameters, and controls operator performance.

Metcal earned an award for its Connection Validation Robotic Soldering System. IPC said that robotic soldering is becoming more commonplace as manufacturers look to reduce risk and increase productivity. Metcal’s new CV Robotic Soldering System combines its patented CV technology and a new smart interface system.

Orbotech Inc. won an award for its Ultra Dimension, an AOI system for advanced PCB manufacturing processes described here.

“The IPC APEX EXPO Innovation Awards allow us to celebrate the innovators and forward thinkers who are changing the technological landscape of the electronics industry,” said John Mitchell, IPC president and CEO. “The product and service submissions were certainly innovative, and the companies did an exceptional job in identifying their product’s unique value in the industry. The innovative submissions directly indicate the strength of the electronics industry and its ability to respond to new challenges resulting from emerging technologies,” Mitchell added.

The awards will be presented on Feb. 28 during the morning keynote session. Members of the award review board include Dale Lee, Plexus; Todd MacFadden, Bose; Dave Geiger, Flextronics International; Don Dupriest, Lockheed Martin Missiles & Fire Control; Jeff Timms, ASM Assembly Systems; and Rick Lies, Chemcut.

The Orbotech Ultra Dimension and many other products and services expected to be highlighted at IPC Apex Expo were described in a special report in our February issue. Since that report went to print, several companies have announced plans for the event.

For example, Saki, a provider of automated optical and X-ray inspection and measurement systems, said it would demonstrate its new 5th-generation 3D AOI, 3D SPI, and 3D AXI systems and software. In addition, Saki said its 3D AOI system, based on its Quality-Driven Production (QDP) concept for true closed-loop, machine-to-machine communication, will be part of the Fuji SMART Factory Line presented in booth 3539 at the show.

Saki said its AOI and SPI systems maintain position accuracy of 3 μm to 9 μm at 3σ for 99.7% positioning accuracy. The company reports that its systems are the first to offer a choice of three resolutions: 7 μm, 12 μm, and 18 μm. They can inspect and measure all components, from the very smallest to components 20mm in height, come in both single and dual lanes, and handle all size boards.

For AXI, Saki said its 3D BF-3 AXI system achieves 100% head-in-pillow detection and enables LGA inspection and measurement. It inspects for voids inside the solder joints of IGBT modules—a capability important in the automotive industry.

Finally, the company said, Quality-Driven Production, Saki’s tool for M2M communication, ensures that the data and information that is communicated to third-party systems is valid and accurate. A self-diagnostic system with predictive and preventive maintenance management assures stable machine conditions and repeatable, consistent performance, the company said. Every key component is monitored, along with system conditions, and a detailed diagnostic log is recorded. Process stability is improved, productivity increased, and equipment operating costs reduced.

Seica said it will showcase its new, fully automated, Pilot V8 next > Series flying prober, which provides up to 20 mobile test resources for an electronic board, including probes that can supply up to 3 A, high-resolution cameras for automatic optical inspection, barcode-reading capability, lasers, capacitive probes, pyrometers, optical fiber sensors for LEDs, flying connectors for boundary-scan and on-board programming, and high-frequency probes for measurements above 1.5 GHz. Targeting medium and high volume production, the Pilot V8 next > Series will be available in a fully automated version, making its vertical architecture suitable to be combined with board loading/unloading modules, capable of hosting from 1 to 12 board magazines (even of different types). The HR (high-resolution) version allows the system to test very small sized objects, around 30 μm, while the XL version extends the work area from the standard 610 x 540 mm to 800 x 650 mm.

The company will also highlight the Dragonfly next > AOI system, which provides optical inspection capabilities for through-hole technology (THT) as well conformal coating (CC). Both the THT and CC versions can one or both sides of a board, which is conveyed on a standard SMEMA-compliant rail conveyor, driven by an intuitive and streamlined management software, which will allow commissioning and application program development in a few hours, the company reported.

Seica said it would also exhibit its Mini 200 benchtop in-circuit tester, which features up to 768 hybrid channels; its Compact TK, which offers from 192 to 4,608 channels and features a built-in receiver for easy swap-out of fixtures, and its Digital Mixed-Signal Tester (DMT) for component and MEMS testing. Finally, the company said that systems showcased in the booth will be remotely monitored through the Industrial Monitoring solution “4.0 ready” by Seica. Parameters that will be monitored include current, supply voltage, temperature, and system status.

Distributor Ascentech LLC announced it would exhibit Inspectis AB’s range of high-definition camera microscopes and related noncontact optical inspection systems designed for quality control, repair, and rework. Inspectis all-in-one optical inspection systems offer 12:1 optical zoom, auto focus, integrated illumination, and on-board controls, producing a crisp picture of inspection objects up to 100x magnification directly onto an LCD monitor or PC.

Inspectis will also highlight GEN3 Systems’ AutoSIR2 surface insulation test system, which is used to measure changes in surface insulation resistance. It can measure 256 channels in less than eight seconds. It can apply voltages of 1 V to 1,000 V and offers a resistance measurement range of 106 Ω up to 1014 Ω. Finally, Ascentech said it would exhibit the W-30 Freesight and the Flexia BGA inspection systems from Optilia.

JTAG Technologies said it would highlight its Visualizer, which incorporates a range of CAD-tool import filters. Users can import schematic data direct from Mentor (Pads, DxDesigner, Capture) Cadence, Altium, and Zuken tools as well as board layout information in ODB++ and a dozen other vendor-specific formats.

Introduced in the latest version of Visualizer is the new Maps feature, which offers a basic test-accessibility view by a simple click of the mouse. The view can be fine-tuned by adding key component descriptions to a lookup table. Customizable colors can indicate test-coverage levels or access types, and a color-coded schematic can be displayed or printed. Once the design has been optimized for boundary-scan test coverage and committed to layout, final application development can begin in the JTAG ProVision developer tool.

In addition, LPKF Laser & Electronics said it would demonstrate its rapid PCB benchtop prototyping system, the ProtoMat S63, designed to help electronics engineers make PCB prototypes in minutes or hours, instead of waiting for a design to come back from the board house. The system’s high-speed spindle can produce structures as small as 100 μm. Other features of the ProtoMat S63 include automatic tool change (15 tools), automatic milling width adjustment, optical fiducial recognition (camera), and an optional vacuum table. LPKF said it would also demonstrate laser machines for board assembly and manufacturing as well as plastic welding lasers.

And finally, Aegis Software, as previously reported, said it would unveil new quality-management capabilities that complement the existing incoming- and in-process quality-assurance features of its FactoryLogix software. Also as previously reported, more than 20 equipment vendors, software providers, and customers from across the electronics industry will participate in an IPC Connected Factory Exchange (CFX) Showcase.

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