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SMT & Inspection | February 01, 2006

Agilent &amp; Speedline to<br> cooperate over lead-free

Agilent Technologies Inc. and the Advanced Development Group of Speedline Technologies Inc. are conducting research on the implementation of closed-loop process control for paste printing of printed-circuit-board assemblies (PCBAs).
This research will utilize Agilent's lead-free-ready post-print inspection systems and Speedline's award-winning Accela printer for measuring and providing accurate compensation in order to achieve maximum process performance in lead-free manufacturing.

Based on their recent jointly developed lead-free study, Agilent and Speedline determined that the positional accuracy of the paste deposit relative to the pad is a key element for ensuring high quality in fine-pitch and small-device lead-free assemblies. This conclusion suggests that closed-loop process control could be very advantageous for achieving superior quality during the transition to lead-free manufacturing.

In follow-on testing still under way, Agilent and Speedline have demonstrated that there is potential to establish a closed-loop control method between the AOI system and the printer to manage positional accuracy of the pasted deposits. Further details regarding this testing will be discussed at the upcoming APEX trade show in Anaheim, Calif., Feb. 8-10, during Technical Conference S16: Equipment II -- Closed Loop. Joe Belmonte of Speedline will give a presentation titled "Closed-Loop Process Control in the Solder Paste Printing Process." A joint preview of this technology by Agilent and Speedline and discussion of the research project will be presented at the Speedline booth, No. 1207.

Legal mandates for lead-free technologies are forcing manufacturers to transition to robust, lead-free processes. Based on this significant change in manufacturing methods, there is typically a noticeable increase in defects, which lowers production yield and dramatically increases costs. This project represents an ongoing collaboration between Agilent and Speedline to understand and mitigate challenges faced during the transition to lead-free manufacturing.

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