Electronics > Manufacturing & Assembly

Good AOI system to start with?

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Hi All,
 first post here. We are a small (still) PCBA company based in San Diego. We have some experience in the PCB/Assembly process, but I am pretty sure we could be lacking of UPDATED knowledge:
What are the  most affordable AOI systems in the market for low/medium size runs? Any recommendation? When I say LOW, I mean, 100-500 medium size PCBAs to be inspected. MEDIUM: 500-4000 PCBAs to be inspected. Every batch should be inspected within 2-3 days (4 top)
Are they reliable? Are they good detecting short-circuits?
We have contacted several AOI companies but they all just tell you how good their systems are and how fast we will amortize the equipment.


There are too many out there to easily say for sure exactly which ones you should look at (must be 20+ manufacturers), it only takes a manufacturer to have released one since you were last in the market, or for an appropriate model to come out from someone who isn't linked to you via a distributor who has you on their list of sales leads and you are out of date. To be honest as I said in a different recent thread, if your are looking for something new, talk to the distribution get the pricing get demos, understand what the machine can do, what you need it to do and work from there. I for instance won't be choosing any system not supported by a UK agent with UK engineers and preferably on site training.

I'm on Blakell Europlacers list for instance so I have seen and had demoed the ALeader system they sell in the UK, the entry level model seems a decent price for what it can do, I haven't followed it up with any site visits or existing user opinion... yet.

I think you might be most comfortable in the desktop bracket, inline tends to be much more 100k+ and the number of options is still high. The trouble is without starting the conversation, unless you've picked info up elsewhere, you literally have no clue what tier or price these things are, they don't publish pricing and people don't share it.

I asked someone about their Mirtec unit when on their site last year, they seemed happy enough with the unit but they were of the opinion it was not worth it (full AOI in general) for batches under 500.

Shorts is a pretty trivial fault to look for, if that is your target, such low hanging fruit can be caught with low end products based on scanners or possibly the AgnosPCB service discussed elsewhere.

Random thought, experiment with this to see if it's suitable


We're currently doing some evaluation with this (inbetween more urgent projects) https://bitbucket.org/guenterneust/examinator/wiki/Home

Early results are promising but it's still too early to give any useful advice. We're in the same kind of volume as OP but plan to use it in a semi-automatic process before and after the reflow oven (the board stops on an inspection conveyor, the software gives the operator a pass or fail and then the operator presses the "pass" button ton continue the board along the production line).

Thanks for all the comments. We will give Agnospcb a try, seems interesting and the price/service cost (if it works! Beats every other option)
Anyone has tried this Agnospcb neural network service before? Looks powerful, but I guess it is heavily dependable on the camera used, at least during the test stage where we are not willing to expend money on a new camera. Let's see how everything goes with a regular smartphone. At least, we can run the test not renting or buying any "infrastructure".
Again, thank you for all the comments  ;)


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