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3D SPI takes shape with SSM

PCB Pulse Article

3D Solid Shape Modeling | SSM

A picture is worth a thousand words. It's especially true when using a solder paste inspection (SPI) system to inspect surface mount assemblies. This is an area where Agilent is redefining expectations for electronics manufacturers worldwide. Two Agilent imaging platforms -- the Agilent SJ50 and Agilent SP50 systems -- provide 3D solid shape modeling functionality, making it possible for the first time to get detailed 3D views of paste prints for ultra-precise analysis of solder-related defects. Solid shape modeling (SSM) transforms an SPI system from a simple defect catcher into a powerful tool for improving processes, reducing costs and increasing margins. It's especially relevant for early adopters of lead-free technology who are required to characterize the processes associated with lead-free pastes and assess the impact on reliability across the entire surface mount line. As a complement to traditional 2D defect review, 3D SSM is ideally suited to that task.

SSM on the Agilent SP50 transforms an image from the already available 3D laser triangulation information into a fully rendered 3D picture. Process engineers or operators using the SP50 can improve call accuracy by using SSM to get visual verification of defects. The most subtle profile changes that might not be evident from a finite data representation can jump from the screen with SSM. Process control also comes alive with SSM: users can experiment with such things as print parameters -- a critical variable when new processes such as lead-free or new package technologies are adopted -- and then do a pictorial SSM representation of each change as it affects the exact solder paste deposit. Prior to 3D SSM, it was simply not possible to visualize the implications of subtle changes in print parameters.