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Electronics Production | July 14, 2008

PartnerTech invests in X-ray equipment

PartnerTech aims to bolster its UK fast-turn NPI build capability by investing in an X-Tek X-ray system.
Swedish EMS provider PartnerTech has installed an X-Tek Revolution X-ray inspection system (also known as an XT V 160) at its 2,700 square metre UK manufacturing facility at Poole in Dorset.

The new kit is set to further improve PartnerTech’s capability of providing customers with fast-turn builds of highly complex electronic and mechatronic products featuring devices such as ball grid arrays (BGAs) and chip scale packages.

The X-Tek Inspection System is said to provide the highest resolution and magnification possible within a compact X-ray system for quality control, research and failure analysis. The machine has the ability to inspect substrates at steep angles of up to 75 degrees and is designed for 100% BGA and micro-BGA, multilayer board and printed circuit board (PCB) solder joint inspection, with quick analysis of BGA ball wetting, attachments, cracks and delaminations.

“We do a lot of rapid NPI (new product introductions) for customers at the Poole facility and many of the products feature unusual devices and geometries that cannot be visually inspected. We therefore needed a system that could perform Automatic X-ray Inspection (AXI) using angled views and was also able to test fine pitch devices as well as BGAs and chip scale packages. Most importantly, we needed a system that gave us complete confidence that boards, particularly products that we have not built before, were assembled correctly first time”, Rex Waygood, technical manager at PartnerTech’s Poole facility, commented.

PartnerTech in Poole offers its customers the full range of product lifecycle services, including product design/development, prototyping, NPI, test solutions, printed circuit board assembly (PCBA), full system build, logistics, distribution and after sales. The company works in partnership with original equipment manufacturers across the medical, aerospace & defence, industrial and telecoms markets.

“Having our own X-ray system at Poole is very important as some of the high complexity products are built so quickly – well ahead of any in-circuit, functional or boundary scan test sequences being written – that X-ray is often the only way to validate a printed circuit board without compromising the fast response service offered to our customers,” added Waygood.

PartnerTech is one of Europe’s largest business-to-business contract manufacturing companies with 13 manufacturing centres and some 1,800 employees at sites in Sweden, Norway, Finland, Poland, the UK, the United States and China. In the UK, in addition to its Poole site, PartnerTech has facilities in Cambridge and King’s Lynn.

“We are delighted that PartnerTech has opted for the X-Tek system which is smaller in footprint and lower in price than comparative machines. The system’s intuitive software allows operators to visualise the most demanding defects, and features such as concentric imaging and parallel tracking make it ideal for inspecting single or multiple BGA balls”, Jason Burger, European sales manager for X-Tek, commented.

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