Needle in a Circuit Board Haystack

Red River College is home to the Technology Access Centre for Aerospace and Manufacturing. Through the Centre, aerospace and manufacturing organizations can get access to equipment, assets and expertise to tackle problems in designing and manufacturing the advanced parts essential for their work.

In this project, the Centre worked with Parker Hannifin, which manufactures motion-and-control automation systems used in industry and aerospace. The company uses surface-mount technology to assemble circuit boards, but many of its boards were defective, with missing or misaligned parts being found during final quality inspection and testing.

Parker Hannifin turned to the Technology Access Centre for help. In this case, the problem was revealed using the College’s expertise in high-speed imaging, which can gather real-time data on robotic assembly, and allow experts to analyze the root causes of the defects.

To create circuit boards through surface-mount technology, hundreds of parts are picked and placed in a matter of seconds. High-speed imaging captured and distilled that process, and when the data and imagery were studied, the problem was shown to be parts being flipped and mis-oriented by faulty part feeders. Once this problem was identified, these feeders were isolated for repair or replacement.

“Collaboration with Red River College was instrumental in finding the true root cause of our ‘pick’ issue,” said Bob Dann, Technical Services Manager at Parker Hannifin. “Finding and correcting the root cause gave us a significant step improvement in quality and productivity.”

Industry: Manufacturing
Partner(s): Parker Hannifin

About Red River College Polytechnic

Red River College (RRC) is Manitoba’s largest institute of applied learning. The institution is renowned for providing accessible, innovative, applied learning and research in an... Learn more