Starting whistle: National League referee Knut Kircher opens this year's Viscom Technology Forum and User Meeting in Hanover

Volker Pape, Executive Board Viscom AG, greets the participants in the event
Volker Pape, Executive Board Viscom AG, greets the participants in the event

Hanover, May 2013

On the 13th of March, it got loud for a moment in the large conference room of the Viscom AG. Knut Kircher, National League referee and former FIFA referee, opened the Technology Forum in Hanover with a piercing whistle. With it, he also gave a hint to his presentation topic, "Secure leadership in difficult situations". In his contribution, Kircher allowed the guests an interesting glance into the world of professional soccer and with many well-chosen examples showed that there is not much difference between what happens on the corporate playing field and on the soccer field. Using video material, he challenged the expertise and capacity for judgment of his guests in difficult plays and reported about his experience with soccer stars and audiences. This was also a great deal of fun for the participants. Thus in the end, experience of important boundary conditions of leadership and good mediation, as well as of unpopular decisions, was gained in a very entertaining manner. The opening presentation was a successful start to the event and carried across well to the participants - the enthusiastic applause made this more than evident.

The first presentation to the topic of electronics manufacturing was taken over by Michael Schlegel (General Manager of Smyczek GmbH & Co. KG) and Roman Dyck (AOI operator at Smyczek GmbH & Co. KG). In their case study, they explained the use of the Viscom inspection system S3088 SPI for 3-D solder paste control. Through a number of interesting examples, they reported on the benefits of the system and the advantages of the Viscom Quality Uplink – from inspection program generation up to statistical process control. Thanks to Quality Uplink, SPI images can be transferred to the AOI verification station and increase traceability. Because both the AOI as well as the SPI images are available with all the inspection data here, process weaknesses can be understood exactly; this information can be applied for optimization. The company Smyczek has used this, for example, for the printer set-up and to improve the cleaning cycles. One of the most notable results was the knowledge that cleaning the stencil too often dramatically worsens the paste properties.

After a brief pause, the event resumed with the topic of process optimization. Stefan Haerter from the Chair for Factory Automation and Production Systems (FAPS) referred to the topic "Secure processing of highly miniaturized components". In his comprehensive presentation, he pointed out how increasing miniaturization as technology driver in electronics manufacturing also requires adaptation of the process technology. Here, right at the beginning is the printing process with all its complexity and thus susceptibility to error. Here too, according to Haerter's perception, the 3-D SPI is well-suited to identify quality features with the use of characteristic parameters. Furthermore, he also referred to the potential for optimization; for example, during manufacture of printing stencils and solder paste selection. Yet his particular attention was on the theme of expert systems, which he recommends for the technical diagnosis of production facilities.With this, the subsequent process steps can also profit from a software-supported provision of machine and process knowledge.

As always, on the first day of the event the Viscom Users' Meeting took place in parallel to the presentations in the Forum. This year the participants had the opportunity to inform themselves about key issues such as "SPI in practice", "Methods of throughput optimization" or also about "Manual X-ray" and "Wire bond inspection". Seven free workshop to these themes were on the program. As before in 2012, this year too all presentations and workshops were offered in English. Viscom customers were able to share experiences among themselves and with Viscom employees, and take away valuable suggestions and tips from the experts.

Afterwards Production Hall 3, where the evening Get Together traditionally takes place, was opened for all participants. Yet before that Peter Krippner (Vice President of electronic assembly department) and Detlef Beer (manager of product development) demonstrated the performance features of the 8M camera technology and the new XM module on the AOI systems S6056 and S3088 flex in a live presentation. Here it was evident that the already technically first-rate 8M module solution with its angled view, switchable resolution and color image analysis could still be clearly outdone by the XM module. Krippner and Beer showed that with the XM technology, Viscom has again taken a major step in further development of the camera modules. With an image capture rate of up to 1.8 gigapixel/s, the new XM module is currently the fastest and most flexible AOI camera system on the market. The increased illumination intensity and additional four-color illumination from all spatial directions achieves the optimum contrast for all recognizable solder defects. The optional projection module facilitates complete 3-D measurement of the field of view. Thus not only the speed but also the inspection depth can be raised.

Furthermore, they explained the advantages of the unique Viscom Quality Uplink and showed how data from the SPI system can be effectively linked with the information from AOI, AXI and MXI in many ways to enable convenient operator support and easy process control. That many participants remained gathered around the systems well into the evening points out the keen interest in this topic.

After this comprehensive information, the following evening event with its exotic flair was just right. The participants reinvigorated themselves at the South American buffet, at the beer tap and at the cocktail bar, where there was a small but excellent selection of drinks. With bossa nova and jazz standards, the band Solid Jazz provided the appropriate musical setting. Later in the evening, saxophonist Natalie Machenko took care of the entertainment with her live appearance. Thus ample opportunity for further exchanges of experience among the visitors and Viscom experts was offered in a comfortable atmosphere.

The next day was started by Silke Kraft, with the presentation "Sintering instead of soldering – Motivation, processing and challenges". She is expert in the topic of sintering at the Fraunhofer Institute for Integrated Systems and Component Technology and offered an impressive overview of the low temperature connection technology. This technology is especially suited for high temperature applications and products with high demands for a long life span. Ms. Kraft spanned the entire range from the composition of the sinter paste through the sintering process and also named examples from application areas such as power modules, semiconductor discs or LEDs in optoelectronics.

In the case study that followed, Dr. Matthaeus Sigl, production manager of the BMK professional electronics GmbH, gave listeners a comprehensive overview of the diverse application possibilities for optical inspection in electronics manufacturing. He started with 3-D paste AOI and continued through placement control and electronic assembly scanners to post-reflow AOI and automatic X-ray inspection. In the process, he went into the detailed inspection possibilities and speeds as well as the respective performance spectrums of the inspections and their limits.

The X-ray inspection – but this time the manual variant – also stood at the center of the next presentation from Volker Pape and Rolf Demitz from the Viscom AG. Mr. Pape (Executive Board, Viscom AG) introduced the NP division with the inspection solutions wire bond inspection, customer-specific special solutions, infrared/semiconductor inspection and off-line X-ray inspection. Mr. Demitz (Vice President, NP at Viscom) then took over the presentation of the system portfolio and explanation of the individual applications. Of this, new and especially pertinent for the listeners was the information that now the Viscom SI software is also available for the X8011 PCB. With it, electronics manufacturers can draw on the first class automatic analysis routines of the Viscom AXI family X7056 with this offline solution as well. The Viscom Quality Uplink is also available for the X8011 PCB. Through the linking of inspection results from SPI, AOI, AXI and MXI, this function provides for a simplified classification and effective process control.

To conclude the Forum, Hubertus Andreae from dreiplus addressed the question of Germany as location for electronics manufacturing. Here the focus was on the question of how cost disadvantages can be compensated by process optimization and increased efficiency.

After giving a short market overview of the contract manufacturer in Germany, he directed his attention to time and efficiency as success factors. With practical examples, Andreae pointed out the factors leading to loss of efficiency and potentially profit and at the same time suggested solutions for optimization. These include, for example, a good ERP system, timing chains, meticulous schedule planning and a well thought out project management during run-up of new products. In detail, he specified process cycles, setup optimization and lot size management as essential tasks for a successful manufacture. It was clear that cost pressure on the one hand represents an enormous challenge but on the other, unleashes creativity. If the human factor is sensibly applied, especially in Germany, and process disruptions rectified in parallel, according to Andreae the location Germany definitely has its advantages.

After this closing view, the system exhibition was on the program in Hanover. Many participants were happy to take advantage of this offering in order to be introduced to the performance spectrum of the individual systems by the experts from Viscom, or even to already discuss wholly concrete projects. The substantial positive feedback at the end of the Technology Forum and User Meeting were a great pleasure to the organizers of the event and made clear that the expectations of the visitors had been met.

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