Use of machine vision in the automation of printed circuit manufacture

Keat, J., 1993. Use of machine vision in the automation of printed circuit manufacture. MPhil, Nottingham Trent University.

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Use of conducting inks and screen printing has now made it possible to produce multilayer printed circuit boards (PCB's) of increased complexity and reliability. High yield production of such circuitry requires a high degree of accuracy and repeatability in both set up and production, attributes that current screen printing technology is barely able to achieve, even at the top end of the market. One solution to this problem is the integration of a machine vision system with an automated screen printing process.

This thesis describes the implementation of a machine vision system for use in the set-up and registration of a Sveciamatic SM screen printing machine, and its particular application with the production of multilayered PCB's. The screen printing process and its application to PCB manufacturing is briefly described and the reasons for requiring machine vision in this application are discussed. The alternative routes to automation of the process, including the incorporation of machine vision, are described with the advantages and disadvantages of each outlined.

The production of the vision system, from an initial prototype manually assisted registration system, to the final automated set up and registration system is detailed. This includes the selection of hardware and the development of software, along with the relationship of the vision system with the overall control of the machine. The problems that can be encountered when incorporating machine vision within a screen printing process are addressed, with solutions where relevant. Through all the stages of development all aspects of image enhancement and processing that were tried are explained along with possible alternatives, with explanations of why each technique was chosen. Throughout the work current thinking on each subject is mentioned, along with its relevance to the work.

Finally the future of the project and its applications are discussed, with consideration of recent developments in image processing and computing. This includes an outline of both short and long term possibilities for the future development of this work.

Machine vision, as a powerful tool, has been poorly taken up by the manufacturers of screen printing equipment. Where it has been used it is generally no more than an alignment aid. For screen printing to remain a strong contender in the PCB manufacturing industry the manufacturers of printing machinery will have to join the lead taken by those few who have realised the potential improvements that properly implemented machine vision can give.

Item Type: Thesis
Creators: Keat, J.
Date: 1993
ISBN: 9781369323160
Divisions: Schools > School of Science and Technology
Record created by: Linda Sullivan
Date Added: 16 Jun 2021 13:14
Last Modified: 22 Sep 2023 13:51

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