Printed Circuit Boards (PCBs) are crucial electronic components, serving as the support structure for electronic devices and carriers for electrical interconnections. Whenever electronic components such as integrated circuits are involved, printed boards are used to facilitate electrical interconnection between the components. Printed circuit boards consist of an insulating base, connecting conductors, and solder pads for mounting electronic components, providing a dual function of conducting circuits and insulating the base.

Driven by advancements in technology, the manufacturing techniques of PCBs are continuously improving, aiming for higher manufacturing efficiency, quality, and lower production costs. The qualification rate of products becomes particularly crucial in this context.

Manual inspection poses challenges due to high labor intensity, eye strain, and a high rate of oversight. As electronic products trend toward miniaturization and digitization, PCBs are also evolving toward high density and precision. Traditional manual inspection methods are insufficient for higher-density and precision circuit boards (0.10-0.12mm), leading to a qualified rate of only 50-60% due to outdated inspection methods.

Conventional testing instruments require operators to visually locate and identify test points, consuming significant time and labor, resulting in inefficiency that falls short of the demands of modern industrial high-speed production.

Various surface treatment processes are employed in the PCB and Flexible Printed Circuit (FPC) industry, including hot air leveling, organic solderability preservatives (OSP), electroless nickel/immersion gold (ENIG), immersion silver, immersion tin, and electroplated nickel-gold processes.

The tin immersion process forms a flat copper-tin intermetallic compound, endowing it with excellent solderability similar to hot air leveling without the flatness issues. Tin immersion avoids the diffusion problems associated with electroless nickel/immersion gold—copper-tin intermetallic compounds can stably bond together.

Chemical nickel plating and gold immersion (ENIG) offer excellent solderability for printed plugs (gold fingers) and touch screen switches. Nickel, as an isolating layer and a solderable coating, requires a thickness of ≥3µm. Gold serves as a protective layer, forming a covalent compound (AuSn4) with tin in the solder. Excessive gold content (>3%) at the joint makes it brittle, and too much gold substitution for nickel causes “gold embrittlement.” Therefore, it is essential to limit the thickness of the gold layer for soldering (ENIG: 0.05-0.3µm).

Hence, coating inspection is indispensable, and the challenge lies in efficiently and quickly inspecting a large volume of products.

Elite XRF aids in PCB coating inspection:

The XD-1000/XTD-200 X-ray fluorescence spectrometer plays a crucial role in PCB line inspection, contributing to quality control in PCB manufacturing.

The XD-1000/XTD-200 can detect whether the solder joint thickness of components meets the standards, enhancing production efficiency and product quality while significantly reducing errors and time costs associated with manual operations.

Advantages of the Solution:

  1. High Precision: Minimum measurement area of 0.01mm².
  2. High Efficiency: Automated moving platform with a movement accuracy of 2μm, allowing unattended detection of hundreds or thousands of samples with one-time programmed coordinate storage.
  3. Non-Destructive Testing: No need to destroy samples; testing can be conducted immediately after sample placement.
  4. Multiple Collimator Options: Various collimator sizes can be chosen based on sample size, catering to a diverse range of products.
  5. Advanced Algorithms: Utilizes a proprietary EFP algorithm for the coating of Li(3)-U(92) elements, accurately measuring multiple layers and elements, even when the same element is present in different layers.

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