Agilent Technologies Improves Defect Detection in Printed Circuit Boards

11/13/2003 - Agilent Technologies Inc. (NYSE: A) announced the addition of solid shape modeling (SSM) to the Agilent SP50 Series II Automated Optical Inspection (AOI) System for printed circuit boards (PCBs). The new modeling capabilities -- an industry first -- enable the SP50 Series II (and the SP50 Series II XL for larger board sizes) to create a high-resolution, full 3D image of solder paste deposits that significantly improves defect detection and call accuracy.

The SP50's imaging capabilities at high-speed line rates enable efficient evaluation of solder paste volume -- a key predictor of long-term joint quality. By viewing the detailed 3D shape, users can quickly detect problems before reflow, minimizing the need for costly PCB rework, which is especially important for assemblies with finer pitches and complex technologies. The solid shape modeling also supports higher call accuracy and more accurate process feedback for line characterization and reliable statistical process-control output.

"Solid shape modeling will really help from an operator standpoint," said Jose Mejias, manufacturing technology development engineer, Hewlett-Packard. "It is hard for operators to interpret 2D images or gray-scale portrayals of 3D information to make a fail/accept call. SSM will significantly reduce training time and increase call accuracy since the operators can view images in the 3D world, which is what they're accustomed to."

"The continuing miniaturization of components and increasing complexity of boards is making automatic inspection a critical differentiator in achieving higher product yields," said John Spofford, vice president and general manager of Agilent's Manufacturing Test Business Unit. "Our market-leading AOI solutions give users a clear view into the manufacturing process, helping them achieve higher operating efficiencies and improved quality at the lowest possible cost."

The solid shape modeling capabilities of the SP50 Series II leverage existing 3D information from the system's industry-proven laser triangulation method to render a detailed 3D shape of each solder paste deposit. To ensure efficient but thorough inspection, the SP50 Series II provides industry-leading 20 um/pixel resolution at full line speeds with the flexibility to choose between 20 um/pixel at even faster inspection speeds, or a finer resolution at current line speeds.

The SP50 Series II is partnered with the Agilent SJ50 Series II within Agilent's unified platform, allowing the systems to switch functions quickly and provide industry-leading flexibility for in-line AOI. The SJ50 Series II employs AOI and solid shape modeling to measure and characterize components and solder joints with lifelike 3D visualization, and can be used at multiple points in the line for paste, pre-flow and post-reflow inspection.

U.S. Pricing and Availability
The solid shape modeling and improved resolution flexibility capabilities are expected to be available for shipment with Agilent SP50 Series II products Dec. 1, 2003. In addition, the SP50 Series II XL, designed to accommodate larger boards (up to 24" x 24"), is expected to be available in January 2004.

The Agilent SP50 Series II and SP50 Series II XL are available with standard purchasing and leasing options. More information is available at or at +1 602 458 7085.

About Agilent Technologies
Agilent Technologies Inc. (NYSE: A) is a global technology leader in communications, electronics, life sciences and chemical analysis. The company's 30,000 employees serve customers in more than 110 countries. Agilent had net revenue of $6 billion in fiscal year 2002. Information about Agilent is available on the Web at

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