PCBs and the components that are soldered onto them are getting smaller and smaller. So small, in fact, that it is no longer possible for a human to efficiently check the quality of a PCBs' manufacturing process. The inspection of PCBs has become one of the most important applications for industrial cameras.
This highly specialized task is often called "AOI" (Automated Optical Inspection).
Primarily, the aim of AOI is to avoid incorrectly manufactured PCBs from being shipped. Similarly, optimization of manufacturing processes is equally important. The two basic aims in this context are to avoid and to detect flaws.
AOI helps manufacturing errors be avoided by making parameters available for each step of the process. The values of these parameters are used for optimization purposes. If the optimum has not been reached, i.e. one or more errors have occurred, they must be detected before the next step of the manufacturing process.
The Imaging Source manufactures a wide range of industrial cameras for PCB inspection. Please follow the link below for an overview: