Precision measurement for automotive electronics

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Many automotive electronic components have always been classified as safety-critical devices. However, with the advent of autonomous vehicles and ADAS, control over the quality of the sensors used and their associated electronic and semiconductor elements has increased in importance. To measure such components reliably and efficiently, Nikon has developed a new, high-speed video measuring system that it says provides accuracy, repeatability and reliability in a shop floor or in-line production environment.

Also known as an optical video measuring system, the NEXIV VMZ-S3020 is well suited for automated quality control, and the company says it is designed to meet the needs of companies worldwide manufacturing printed circuit board assemblies (PCBAs) for the automotive sector.

The system measures components within its 300 x 200 x 200mm working volume. The company says that numerous enhancements to the robustness of the unit and its functionality have been made compared with the instrument it replaces, model VMZ-R3020.

For example, proprietary optical measuring, image processing and analysis technologies are employed to detect feature edges at high speed, automatically capturing the shape and dimensions of even complex and multilayer PCBAs. Results can be fed back to the production line to ensure that parameters remain within tolerance, providing real-time optimization of the manufacturing process in a smart factory.

The system also uses Nikon’s in-house developed, high-resolution linear encoders to feed back the precise position of the stage axes to a control center. The company also employs its own optical elements, and says it has made enhancements to the through-the-lens (TTL) laser auto focus, giving repeatability to better than half a micron.

Larger NEXIV versions, the VMZ-S4540 with X, Y, Z strokes of 450 x 400 x 200mm and the VMZ-S6555 with strokes of 650 x 550 x 200mm, are scheduled to be released in 2021 for measurement of larger objects such as printed circuit boards or critical mechanical parts loaded in batches.

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Lawrence has been covering engineering subjects – with a focus on motorsport technology – since 2007 and has edited and contributed to a variety of international titles. Currently, he is responsible for content across UKI Media & Events' portfolio of websites while also writing for the company's print titles.

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