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Quality Digest


Nikon Metrology Introduces ‘High.Contrast Filter’

Improving quality control of PCBAs and optimizing X-ray inspection

Published: Thursday, June 1, 2023 - 12:00

(Nikon Corp.: Brighton, MI) -- The Industrial Metrology Business Unit of Nikon Corp. has developed a new filter that greatly enhances the contrast in images produced by its X-ray inspection machines. Aptly named High.Contrast Filter, its principal application is quality control of PCBAs (printed circuit board assemblies) and other electronic circuitry such as BGAs (ball grid arrays), capacitors, and through-holes. However, its power may be used equally well in mechanical engineering for nondestructive examination of castings, 3D-printed components, or welds, and for failure analysis of assemblies, such as inhalers in the medical industry.

Unlike in computed tomography, where a component can be visualized in 3D, a single radiograph has to reveal all details that are present in 2D, from front to back. Typically, visualizing features in high-density areas of a radiograph involves increasing the brightness of the whole image, which risks overexposing the lower-density areas. The strength of High.Contrast Filter is that it can normalize the contrast across the whole image, revealing detail in high-density regions without washing out those of lower density. This allows defects in all areas to be visualized alongside each other in the same image, which results in less operator interpretation, easier decision-making, and more productive, reliable, and repeatable inspection.

High.Contrast Filter is now available with its innovative processing capability for use within Nikon’s automated inspection programs and C.Clear real-time imaging engine. The latter intelligently adapts to changing X-ray conditions and variations in sample position, automatically adjusting parameters to provide clear radiographs. With their powerful microfocus sources and industry-leading detectors with high dynamic range, Nikon’s X-ray machines have always been able to capture the smallest defects in raw radiographs. With the new filter, contrast and sharpness are taken to the next level to reveal any voids, cracks, or flaws in much starker detail.


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