OMRON Integrates AI Into PCB Inspection Imaging System

August 26, 2021 by Sara McCaslin

OMRON announced a PCB inspection system that integrates an AI system with image capture tools to increase the speed and accuracy of the inspection process.

OMRON recently announced the launch of the VT-S10 Series PCB inspection system, which includes a dedicated AI for solder inspection and an industry-first approach to capturing accurate, clear images.


PCB Inspection

PCB boards require precision inspection of the electronic substrates to ensure quality. This has become even more challenging as the demand for circuit boards has increased, driven by emerging technologies related to autonomous systems, electric vehicles, and 5G.


The OMRON VT-S10 Series PCB inspection system combines an “industry-first” multi-direction multi-color with an artificially intelligent system dedicated to solder inspection. Image used courtesy of OMRON


Along with an increasing demand for effective PCB inspection solutions, higher quality standards are often related to safety and security. For example, consider the PCB boards such as those by Royal Circuits that are key to controlling ventilators.

In addition, these solutions must process inspection quickly with minimum error, even for miniaturized or very dense boards. This can be difficult using conventional PCB inspection systems because of issues involved with taking accurate images of solder shapes. All of this is complicated by a shortage of skilled workers trained in high-precision PCB inspection and the social distancing challenges related to COVID-19 that discourages having multiple workers in close proximity to each other.


OMRON VT-S10 Series PCB Inspection System

OMRON’s solution to these challenges is the OMRON VT-S10 Series PCB Inspection System, which automates the inspection process by combining a proprietary imaging technique with AI (artificial intelligence) tools. Not only does this provide high-precision PCB inspections, but it also eliminates the need for specialists.

The proprietary imaging technique used is MDMC-based (multi-direction multi-color), which achieves results by setting light intensity, irradiation angles, and colors. They are optimized for the shape of the inspected components and the soldering used on the substrate.

The high-quality 3D images and precision measurement made possible by the MDMC are then passed to an AI system that leverages OMRON’s 30 years of experience in automated inspection, and its extensive knowledge of solder inspection in particular.


Key Features of the OMRON VT-S10 Series

As mentioned, the OMRON VT-S10 Series PCB inspection system uses an MDMC imaging technique, which has been shown to significantly lower the probability of erroneous decisions and has, according to OMRON, “reduced the human-hours required for setting up by approximately 70%.”

The ability to manipulate characteristics such as color and irradiation angles while capturing 3D imaging means that technicians can accurately inspect solder shapes and characters.


The OMRON VT-S10 series can capture even the most complicated of solder shapes for accurate, precise inspection. Image used courtesy of OMRON


The AI system is dedicated to solder inspection, one of the most challenging aspects of inspecting modern PCB boards. Combining the data gathered through MDMC imaging with the dedicated AI-assisted inspection supports the quick and accurate inspection of PCB boards. A validation test with one of OMRON’s customers reported that visual inspection human-hours were reduced by 85%.

The VT-S10 series also aids in preventing defects by allowing users to monitor quality trends. Users can be alerted to fluctuations in measured values, visualize defect trends associated with certain pieces of production equipment, visualize information key to quality monitoring, and optimize the inspection criteria.

Control and automation engineers whose jobs involve PCB inspection and quality control will undoubtedly be interested in the OMRON VT-S10 series as more detailed information about purchasing and technical specifications is available.