In the last issue of the magazine «Electronics» №3 we started talking about the problems of the quality of electronic products. Then our questions answered, Andrei Nasonov, head of the Department of Electrical Control Group OSTEK. At our conference, «Testing and testing of electronic devices» on 6 June 2013, we continued the conversation and again — with Andrei Nasonov.
This time we publish the interview with Nikita Fyodorov, head of the Civil OSTEK control technologies. During the conversation we had the impression that Nikita Fedorov has a truly encyclopedic knowledge in the field of imaging. In any case, any question followed by an immediate comprehensive answer. He managed to infect us with their enthusiasm, and we became strong supporters tomography. But its capabilities are very high indeed. We hope that our interviews and conference will facilitate understanding of the quality of readers and participants in these activities.
— Tell us briefly about the direction in which you are engaged.
— When OSTEK created line quality control techniques, it was assumed that we will only work in the electronics industry. However, over time it became clear that it makes no sense limited to electronics, as the problem of quality control in various sectors are often similar and are carried on the same type of equipment, one manufacturer. We have expanded the range of applications of its efforts, and now in addition to electronics and microelectronics OSTEK working with manufacturers involved in metal processing and casting, as well as oil and gas companies. Today, the task of our control technology Division (TCI) TCI is to provide enterprises equipment. As you can see, even the same abbreviations. Our department is engaged in the equipment of automatic optical inspection and X-ray computed tomography.
On the latter, I propose to talk more.
— Good. Let’s start with history.
— We began with X-ray systems, the 2nd-company Phoenix | x-ray, a leader in X-ray inspection and computed tomography. Fluoroscopy we have been more than 10 years, since the beginning of cooperation with Phoenix | x-ray. In 2007 the company became part of General Electric, but our cooperation continued. This company started its activities with the development of X-ray tubes and managed to get the products with unique characteristics. These tubes still produced and the market demand. And while conventional X-ray systems are exploring an object, usually in two dimensions, Phoenix | x-ray began to produce 2D-function imaging system and full ZD scanners. Since General Electric divided dealers X-ray systems and CT scanners in 2008, our company began to supply the Russian market of 2D-fluoroscopic imaging function. However, General Electric for a number of reasons not to start supplying scanners in Russia, and in 2011, we conclude a dealership agreement to supply the equipment. In the same year we signed two contracts for the supply of test scanners to the Russian market, and both successfully completed. One of the scanners was launched in 2012, in Kazan State University. This year we put a few scanners to Russia.
— Tomography — a relatively new trend in OSTEK. Tell us more about it.
— Tomograph is a very sophisticated modern production equipment. It can not be installed and operated if the company has no personnel with relevant experience. As a rule, installation and training carries a manufacturer, but one of our customers, the company has become the «Start» from the closed city of Zarechny. Tomograph they needed to control the quality of molded pieces. Representatives of the manufacturer could not get into a closed city, so went to Germany two experienced engineer OSTEK with solid experience in 2D-fluoroscopy. They were held for six months training and commissioning of the launch of scanners. This is a unique case when General Electric trained installation of such complex systems engineers dealer. These two experts will soon go to Germany to take the next level of education — after-sales service of the second level. At the moment, we — the only Russian company that can run on their own for use scanners Phoenix | x-ray and to conduct their service.
We have established strong business ties with General Electric — the company only sells us their scanners in Russia. Even if from the Russian company comes to them a direct request, they redirect it to us. The companies value their name and understand that errors at startup and operation of such a complex device able to distort the result, which, in turn, damage the image because poor results can be written off on the scanner.
— With the installation and service understandable. But here is a scanner in operation. All the problems behind, and you can start to work?
— Commissioning and service — some of the problems. It is very important to learn to correctly interpret the results. This involved the use of engineers. It’s time to digress and briefly describe the features of the scanner.
In carrying out 2D-X-ray picture is taken the study area of the sample. Her selection is done by the turntable. When computed tomography sample is rotated by manipulator (analogue turntable in X-ray unit, but the rotation axis is perpendicular to the radiation) at small angles, and made several thousand pictures. Thus, a set of projections of the sample from all sides. Then, using a powerful PC using specialized software, this set of projections is transformed into ZD model of the object. This model can be carried out any section of the object plane, and then the analysis of voids. At this time, scanning may last from a few minutes to several hours depending on the complexity of the sample. By the way, perhaps the so-called reverse engineering — a model of an object obtained by scanning is imported into CAD (see. Fig. 1).
It is understood that an untrained operator is not able to start work on such a complex device. It’s hard to imagine a specialist, combining the skills and knowledge of launching and maintaining tomography skills on it, the ability to interpret the results. Although obtained in ZD tomograph image and powerful software reduces the human factor as compared with 2D-fluoroscopy, the final decision rests with the operator. That he will make a final decision on the basis of the received data set, the scope of which is often in the tens of gigabytes. Computed tomography station (of which I will discuss later) has a very great potential for the processing of information, but it will not give the answer «good» or «bad.» The last word always remains with the operator.
As a result, we opted for General Electric and divided the functions of the experts — one engaged in installation and service and application engineer is busy training the operators of the customer, who will work in the tomograph. To emphasize the importance of education, I would say that the plant Phoenix | x-ray in Germany there are 10 application engineers. Such a specialist is available and we have, in OSTEK. In addition to its functions include customer training and support of our sales managers. He spends the test samples for scanning tomography, helps the customer to choose the desired configuration.
We are often asked about the radiation hazards associated with imaging. I can reassure potential customers — such a danger does not exist. The manufacturer guarantees the level of radiation is 10 times less than that required Russian standards. Our measurements confirm this — the radiation level concrete walls in the room is higher than the emission tomograph!
— Imaging — high-tech equipment and the price it is probably not small. Almost every producer can afford such a purchase. And all you need to control the quality. What to do?
— Let me start by answering the first part of the question. General Electric’s product line forms a wide range of settings — from small scanners height of 2 meters and weighing several tons to as much as tomographic rooms 6×3,5 m and weighing 65 tons, of which the manipulator is mounted on a granite base. In addition, the large list of options — up to 20 names, so the choice is big enough. For example, the installation can be completed with two X-ray tubes: microfocus with a large accelerating voltage and nanofokusnoy with lower accelerating voltage for the study of small objects with ultra-high resolution.
Specialists in electrical engineering and electronics certainly be able to appreciate the complexity of the devices, if I add that the nominal acceleration voltage in them, depending on the type is in the range of 180-450 kV. The cost of scanners varies between 30-130 million rubles.
For example, Figure 2 shows the appearance of the imager Phoenix | xray v | tome | x m. The cost is shown in Figure tomography — from 30 to 55 million rubles.
Of course, such a purchase can hardly be mastered a small company. But I want to emphasize that the scanner is designed for sampling! You can not, and do not need to check each product in the party. With advanced automated manufacturing technology differences between the products produced on the same line, it is extremely small.
Checking tomograph necessary when changes in technology when abnormality is found in the parameters or in periodic reviews within the standard quality control procedures. Tomograph needed and where costly manufactured unique products. As a rule, military and aerospace technology. Thus, to check for the tomograph many companies resort to outsourcing is more logical than to buy such expensive equipment. In this case, and helps OSTEK — we are always ready to advise potential customers or send them for consultation and examination of samples to its customers that already have similar equipment.
In addition, the tomograph world is large enough. There are other methods of inspection: optical inspection, 2D-fluoroscopy. It all depends on the needs of the customer. For example, at a relatively low packing density when the number of layers of the printed circuit board at least eight, more advantageous to use 2D-fluoroscopy. Specific recommendations can be given only after consulting with the needs of the customer. Believe me, we are not interested to sell an expensive scanner where it is possible to manage a simple solution. It is important to give the customer the best option. By the way, the cost of 2D-fluoroscopy is 9-25 mln., And the units are equipped with the most advanced imaging function. All these devices have in our line of supply.
I mention and a significant limitation of imaging to monitor electronic products — the maximum size of the board, as a rule, should not exceed 100 mm. This is due to the fact that the board and the electronic components used in the metals, which to a large extent absorb X-radiation. This restriction does not apply to products made of aluminum, magnesium, titanium alloys. In this case, the rotational diameter may reach 0.8 m, and the size of the sample — 2 m.
— To control the scanning process, process and visualize information requires powerful calculators. Tell us about this aspect of tomography.
— As a general rule, the installation is equipped with two computers. One of them controls the scanning, and the other represents a powerful workstation (e.g., RAM varies GB 32-196 depending on the design), on which is processed results. However, even such a powerful workstation reconstruction of the object takes a few minutes! When processing 3D-model is displayed in one of the four parts of the monitor screen, and the other three are the projection of the product.
The operator can move in any plane and analyze the results. The software package of the company Volume Graphics allows you to create different effects and helps analyze the results: it is possible to make a semi-transparent metal, plastic; You can highlight the different colors of skin defects, create cross sections, measurements, make comparisons with CAD data, etc.
— OSTEK two years engaged in imaging. There are examples when obtained by this method the results would be very difficult or impossible to obtain earlier, to «tomographic era»?
— I know not all the interesting results — for obvious reasons, the customer is not always in a hurry to publish them. I note, for example, a study of low-temperature co Boards of veneering ceramic (LTCC). Colleagues have asked us to examine the sample and were very pleased with the results. According to them, before they could not see such a clear and accurate picture. Tomography allows layer upon layer to investigate the chip inductor and chip capacitors. Good results are obtained when using MEMS. Tomograph is increasingly used in microelectronics. Let me give another example. Our colleagues managed to solve the mystery of a medieval castle, which was not possible to open several centuries. Tomographic examination revealed the secret, and the lock opened. Although this result is not related to electronics or casting, it demonstrates the possibilities of the method. We illustrate them as paintings. Figure 3 shows the result obtained by imaging BGA- translucent solder, voids visualized depending on their volume, clearly visible solder joints and wetting manual. Figure 4 shows the results of inspection and X-ray computed tomography memory. Figure 5 shows the tomography chip inductor 0805.
I want to mention one more opportunity tomography. For example, you send the customer a small but complex and expensive product. After finishing its assembly can be carried out scans to make sure there are no defects. Results of the study Dispute serve as proof that when you send a product from the manufacturer it was no marriage.
— Imaging — a complex system consisting of several parts. How OSTEK supplies and assembly of the system together? Tell us also about servicing this equipment.
— We complete turnkey solution, configure it to the needs of the customer. Actually tomographic installation we purchase from General Electric. The graphical software package provides us Volume Graphics. I note that we are official distributors of the company, and our engineers have been trained in Volume Graphics. Before we bought the installation of «turnkey» from General Electric, but now the manufacturer convinced of our qualifications, our ultimate trust acquisition and subsequent maintenance of tomographic systems.
Thus, we not only sell, but also we complete the installation, maintain it and train the customer’s staff. We need to support and coordinate communication with manufacturers and customers. It is not an easy task, especially when you consider that the staff of our department consists of only three people. However, service engineers are not included in their number. In OSTEK there is a separate support service. Now we’re actively looking for new employees.
We offer our customers a variety of configuration options tomographic installation, best suited to their tasks. Our standard offer, as a rule, includes shipping, rigging, launching the installation, training and service support.
— You have already gained experience with scanners. Do offer new services? How do you assess the future development direction?
— Yeah, sure to offer new services — are now working on making ends scanners GE’s State Register of measuring instruments. Before us, nobody did. What is it for? Assume found a void in the cast, which occupies 25% of the product. Defective or not? The manufacturer claims that the emptiness does not exceed 20% of the volume. If the scanner is not a means of measurement, the results can not be considered evidence of impairment. If the scanner is included in this register, then its measurement supported by appropriate documents. This work will write a separate article.
Prospects have very good. We started with two scanners in 2011. This year, a number of planned installations, as is only July. The main thing is that we have entered the market scan. We already know, convinced of our capabilities and qualifications. I think a year or two we can be one of the leaders in this market.