IPC APEX EXPO convenes in Las Vegas

IPC APEX EXPO convenes this week in Las Vegas, with the exhibit hall open Tuesday, March 25 through Thursday, March 27. Sponsoring organization IPC said the exhibit hall will host 440 companies, including 57 first-time exhibitors, showcasing new technologies, products, materials, and services for the electronics manufacturing industry. Exhibitors will introduce more than 300 new products.

Test and inspection companies including Agilent Technologies, Digitaltest, GOEPEL electronic, JTAG Technologies, Koh Young, TEXMAC/Takaya, and Seica have already provided previews of the products and technologies they will be featuring at the show.

Flying probers

First, up, TEXMAC, the distributor of Takaya flying probers in North America, is introducing high-performance Takaya APT-1400F Advanced Flying Probe test system. Roy McKenzie, Takaya group manager at TEXMAC, described the APT-1400F as the next-generation system from Takaya, building on the company's 25-year history as the inventor of flying-probe test technology.

The APT-1400F architecture provides average head-speed increases of up to 50% with throughput improvements of 30-50% over existing models, making it the industry’s fastest flying-probe test system, McKenzie said. The APT-1400F incorporates a new 6-flying-Z-axis design, including two vertical flying probes that provide access to test points where conventional angled probes failed to contact. Improved “soft touch” controls virtually eliminate probe contact marks without compromising probe speed. New probe tips are available, including dagger-head probes for through-holes and inverse-cone-head probes for connectors, to fully utilize the advantages of the new vertical probes.

The completely upgraded XY stage of the APT-1400F, combined with the positioning accuracy from its enhanced optical system, provides a 25% improvement in probing accuracy over the APT-9411. (TEXMAC will as showcase the APT-9411 at the show).

The APT-1400F's new measurement system includes multiple 4-quadrant source and measurement units, an AC sine and square waveforms generator, and a frequency counter, providing the ability to perform dynamic characteristic tests of components and circuits. Two LED sensors can measure both color and brightness. The system also includes a new CCD color digital camera with high-intensity ring-shaped white LEDs.

Functional, boundary scan, and in-circuit test

Agilent Technologies will demonstrate its latest PXI Functional Test System, plus boundary scan and in-circuit test systems. Agilent experts will demonstrate these products and capabilities:

  • The new, cost-effective Agilent TS-8989A integrated high-current switch with PXI-based measurement system-in-a-box for automotive functional testing.
  • The versatile x1149 benchtop boundary scan analyzer, which offers quick test turnaround and extensive coverage, from design and validation to new product introduction and mass manufacturing. Demonstrations of the x1149 will also include testing of solid-state drives and support for Intel Silicon View Technology.
  • The low-cost Medalist i1000D ICT, which, Agilent says, has the smallest manufacturing footprint in the market. This system comes complete with an integrated board handler for automating manufacturing tests of products such as smartphones, LEDs, and automotive fuse boxes.. The i1000D includes digital testing, boundary scan, and serial programming capabilities.
  • The fully integrated inline Medalist i3070 Series 5 in-circuit test system with short-wire fixturing, which facilitates test transportability and repeatability.
  • The Agilent i1000D diagnostics test set, a custom, modular ICT-featured instrument for use in R&D, repair, and functional test.
  • The use of the G200 Nano Indenter with a new technique, Express Test, to map the hardness/mechanical properties of a SAC 305 solder joint with gold plating.

Solution partners at the Agilent booth will demonstrate cost-effective, state-of-the-art software for analysis, simulation, and implementation of the most demanding circuit-board production tests.

AOI plus embedded test

GOEPEL electronic will exhibit its OptiCon THT-Line AOI system in a configuration variant that enables the check of THT solder joints in the carrier return transport in a production line. The company will also display an OptiCon AdvancedLine AOI system, featuring angled-view camera (Chameleon), telecentric lens, and color code inspection. The multi spectral illumination used in all OptiCon AOI systems will be extended to add additional lighting types. The newly developed CoaxFlash Illumination provides increased safety in fault detection on reflective surfaces (such as pads), and it provides register mark detection.

In the field of electronic test, programming, validation, and emulation via JTAG/boundary scan, GOEPEL will demonstrate the technical and applications benefits of its software and hardware solutions. The company will introduce new software and hardware modules supporting bit-error-rate test (BERT) for Xilinx FPGAs. The company will demonstrate its full line of Embedded System Access (ESA) technologies that support chip-embedded instruments, in-system programming, or processor emulation tests. The company will also highlight its VarioTAP and ChipVORX offerings, with experts on hand to discuss new dimensions in accessing components and assemblies with Processor Assisted Programming and Test and FPGA Assisted Programming and Test; they can also comment on emerging standards such as IJTAG and SJTAG.

Boundary-scan focus

JTAG Technologies will showcase its latest boundary-scan controller hardware for PCB assembly and system testing—the JT 5705 Series. This new design concept incorporates both JTAG/boundary-scan controller functions and mixed-signal I/O channels. Extensive input protection is provided to ensure high levels of in-service reliability and low maintenance. Connection to the tester is via a USB interface.

The first in the series—JT 5705/USB—is supplied as desk-top instrument, primarily aimed at hardware-validation applications in design, small-scale production test, and in some cases field service and repair. The JT 5705/USB features two 15-MHz TAPs and 64 I/O channels available through 0.1” IDC connectors. 56 of the I/O channels are always digital, 16 of which also feature a frequency function. The remaining eight channels can be used as either digital I/O or analog I/O. The unit also contains a user-programmable FPGA to facilitate application-specific digital I/O options. Via the built-in Multi-Sync feature, several JT 5705/USBs can be combined into a single JTAG controller to provide multiple TAPs and hundreds of I/O lines.

The second model in this new range is the larger JT 5705/RMI, a 1U high 19” rack-mountable instrument for use in systems or as a bench-top tester. This unit features four 15-MHz TAPs and four groups of 64 mixed-signal I/O channels, providing a total of 256 I/O channels available through 0.1” IDC connectors. As with the USB version, within each 64 channels group, 56 channels are permanently digital with 16 available as frequency inputs. The other eight channels of each group can be individually programmed as digital I/O or analog I/O channel. Furthermore the JT 5705/RMI features a total of 4 user programmable FPGA’s for creating application specific digital I/O options.

Managing director Peter van den Eijnden said of the new concept, “We received quite some market feedback on how the next generation of JTAG/boundary-scan testers should look, and increasingly we have been asked to provide analog stimulus and measurements alongside more traditional digital I/O systems. The new JT 5705s provides all this and more in really convenient and low-cost package.”

Also on exhibit will be JTAGLive CoreCommander and JTAG’s ProVision. The latter is a software suite used to generate boundary-scan tests and in-system programming applications for assembled PCBs and systems. ProVision simplifies the test engineer’s task of developing reliable tests with the best possible fault coverage.

Solder-paste inspection

Koh Young America and Koh Young Technology (Seoul, Korea) are demonstrating new PCB inspection capabilities—including KSMART Remote Control, the new Foreign Material Inspection capability; and KSMART Warp, a tool for compensating for PCB warp during the 3-D solder paste inspection (SPI) process.

KSMART Remote Control, a process-control and optimization system, helps customers achieve effective process management for flexible manufacturing. The KSMART system communicates machine status, yield information, and real time defect information from all Koh Young SPI and AOI machines in multiple production lines, enabling a factory manager or remote operator to monitor defects, analyze root causes, and apply changes to inspection programs in real time.

Koh Young's new Foreign Material Inspection functionality helps operators identify defects caused by foreign-material contamination such as hair and dust, ensuring that such defects are not incorrectly identified as process defects. Remote operators also can check foreign material defects via KSMART Remote Control System. Finally, KSMART Warp automatically compensates for PCB warp in real time during inspection, using CAD information or learned PCB geometry prior to inspection.

From ICT to software

Digitaltest, a maker of in-circuit, flying probe, and fixtureless test systems as well as functional test and production software solutions will be demonstrating its enhanced test capabilities at APEX.

With the release of its 5th generation measurement solutions (AMU05), Digitaltest provides customers with faster test through the use of the latest ADCs with higher internal resolution; samples are saved during measurement, double sampling note for measurement.

Other improvements include higher stability, higher accuracy and increased reproducibility, higher reliability, improved protection of stimulation and measurement channels, and improved productivity. The modular systems are prepared for additional modules and functionalities. These enhanced capabilities are available on all of Digitaltest’s functional, in-circuit and flying probe test solutions.

At APEX Digitaltest will be showing the following specific new and updated test platforms that use the 5th generation measurement solutions:

  • Condor MTS 500 Flying Probe 5th generation test system.
  • MTS 30 Sparrow 5th generation measurement system that combines ICT and enhanced switching with full functional test capabilities in a 19″ rack-mount platform.
  • EAGLE MTS 180 in-circuit test system, which provides full non-multiplexed test capabilities combined with the cost effectiveness of the company's PDU (Push-Down-Unit) interface. The system is configured as standard to support 1,400 nodes.
  • C-LINK CAD processing software, which supports 68 different CAD formats and allows the import of schematic and bill of materials (BOM) data.
  • QMAN quality-management software solution, which is focused at the test and inspection processes and which can collate all test and inspection results in a central relational database.

Green tester and more

And finally, Seica at APEX is marking the North America debut of its Pilot4D flying prober, which can serve in board prototyping, production test, and repair. In the area of functional test, Seica is highlighting its new Compact Multi Power—a green tester that can recycle up to 80% of the power used for testing a motor inverter, up to 24 kW. The company is also presenting its Compact TK and Compact Multi Systems—two members of the Seica Compact Line for automotive test.

IPC said the exhibit hall will span 137,600 square feet and that the exhibition is the largest for IPC APEX EXPO in five years.

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