SMART Group - Surface Mount and Related Technologies

EU Projects

SMART Group has been involved with a number of EU Projects which are supported by members of the SMART Group Technical Committee. The projects span a wide range of engineering disciplines where members of SMART have experience and are able to provide support and disseminate technical information to the industry. The first project SMART was involved with was LEADOUT which finished a couple of years ago.

Ship Inspectors 

This project has ended but all of the results are availbale from the project website. The overview video produced bt Peter Grundy and Bob Willis can be viewed Here

Structural failure is a major cause of the wreckage of ships or sea-going vessels. Wrecked ships or vessels contribute significantly to loss of life and pollution worldwide. There has been tremendous growth in the shipment of oil and oil-based products during the last decade and 90% of the EU’s oil needs arrive by sea. Clearly, there is a need to monitor shipping effectively and cheaply so that tragic losses are minimised. Not only are about 1000 deaths attributable to structural failure each year but the clean-up costs are enormous.

The EU decided to fund a project to develop new or novel ways of using phased array ultrasonic emissions so that safety critical areas of a ship can be monitored without the need to place the ship or vessel in dry-dock. This allows constant monitoring of the vessel’s condition in order that visits to a dock or repair centre only occur when suspicious signals arise. This is more cost-effective than before and is also intended to reduce deaths and injuries to dock workers and inspectors who suffer a high accident rate.

In common with other EU-funded projects, various organisations within the EU are set up as technical developers who work on the technology, disseminators who circulate the information gained from the developments to all interested parties, and groups or organisations who act in an advisory capacity. The project has been live since May 2009 and it is hoped that the first set of research and development data will be ready for dissemination by September 2010.

Technical Committee member responsible for this project is Peter Grundy, for further technical information contact technical@smartgroup.org

Micro Ball Grid Array (µBGA) Spheres 

This project has ended but all of the results are availbale from the project website.
There is relentless consumer demand for electronics equipment offering miniaturisation with higher functionality (e.g. cell phones playing music and movies whilst also offering email/SMS/camera functions). The industry is therefore continuously aiming for increases in integrated circuit miniaturization, processor speeds and circuit densities. The resultant increasing numbers of ever finer features on the silicon chip, and the need to electrically connect to them has stretched conventional wired or leaded electronics interconnect technology to its limits. Ball Grid Arrays (BGAs) is a key technology that simultaneously addresses the requirements for high density fine feature electrical interconnect and physical attachment of silicon chip devices. BGA is a 2-D array of miniature solder alloy spheres under the silicon chip that provides both electrical connection and mechanical attachment to a mounting socket or circuit board. The small diameter of the solder alloy spheres helps to preserve electrical signal integrity. BGA technology facilitates a reduction in the silicon chip package size, better heat dissipation, and greater module (circuit) densities.

Technical Committee member responsible for this project is Bob Willis, for further technical information contact technical@smartgroup.org

TestPEP  www.testpep.eu

This project has ended but all of the results are availbale from the project website.
The TestPEP Project addresses the needs of a large community of SME-AGs and SMEs in the huge global plastic pipeline distribution industry sector for gas and water and also the large potential market of civil nuclear power generation and reprocessing. The SME-AGs in the consortium represent a supply chain involving a number of NDE industry associations representing about 25% of the SME suppliers of equipment, sensors and inspection services throughout the EU for the pipeline inspection market Supply Chain

Most leaks in plastic pipe water and gas supply distribution pipe lines arise from improperly fused pipe welded joints. The best method of alleviating the risk of leaks and maintaining the quality of welded joints in plastic pipes is to inspect them prior to service. However, there is no accepted NDE method for the examination of plastic pipes. This has caused a risk to both the public and the plastic pipe industry. Furthermore, the environmental risk, with leaks of effluent, gas and water are severe.

Plastics are relatively new structural materials and they provide significant challenges for NDE. In particular, these materials are very opaque both acoustically and thermally. Furthermore, the application of radiography in the field or in a town centre is totally unacceptable for safety reasons. This has restricted the use of welded plastic pipe systems for more demanding service applications such as in the nuclear industry, because of a lack of confidence in the long term reliability of these systems. But plastic pipe is now being used in the gas and water industries throughout the world. The current best practise for inspection of these steel welds uses ultrasonic phased array NDE [ii/ii]. From this evidence it is clear that the plastic pipe industry is out of step and lagging well behind the steel pipe industry.

Technical Committee member responsible for this project is Bob Willis, for further technical information contact technical@smartgroup.org

The research leading to these results has received funding from the European Community’s Seventh Framework Programme managed by REA-Research Executive Agency http://ec.europa.eu/research/rea (FP7-SME-2008-2) under grant agreement no. 243791

ChipCheck   www.chipcheck.eu

This project has ended but all of the results are availbale from the project website. The overview video can be viewed at the website
www.chipcheck.eu

Development of Novel X-ray Inspection Systems for Fast Automated Detection of Counterfeit PCB Components – ChipCheck

Counterfeit surface mount PCB components are of increasing concern to electronics manufacturers. The threat arises from the continual growth of Asian and Eastern Europeanoperations where there is minimal cultural concern and little legislative protection of intellectual property which encourages the production of counterfeit components. The component supplynetwork to Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) can span multiple partners and agents spread around the world allowing the opportunity for counterfeit components to enter the supply network. There are many reports in the electronics industry press informing of various counterfeit electronic components entering the supply network, ranging from passive components such as capacitors and resistors to active components including transistors and memory chips. In many instances, a failed component is returned by the customer to the manufacturer that supposedly provided the part, leading to the discovery that the part is a non functioning counterfeit of something the manufacturer makes. The consequential costs to the electronics manufacturers of inadvertently purchasing counterfeits resulting in lost yield, field failures, safety recalls, damage to reputation etc. is likely to be many times the cost of the genuine components themselves.

Currently, electronics manufacturers do not check all PCB components at goods inwards. Some manufacturers make random checks on single components from batches of component lots. However, components especially the surface mount type are typically supplied on tape reels to assist with component feed for automatic component placement. The manufacturer cannot check all the components. Typically, a check includes visual inspection and in circuit testing. However, performing these checks is disadvantageous for two main reasons. Firstly, the tests can be time consuming and secondly it requires the component to be removed from the packaging or reel invalidating any guarantee to a claim should a counterfeit component be found.

Currently, no automatic methods exist to speedily check each single component. In addition the cost of modern X-ray inspection systems prohibits their use for smaller manufacturing concerns. This project is for the development of a novel X-ray inspection system for fast automated detection of counterfeit PCB components. The aim of such a development is to address the above issues. The system will be developed so that is capable of inspecting PCB components on tape reels and other component feeding mechanisms. In addition separate PCB components will also be examinable with the developed system. Through the selected combination of SME partners involved in the consortium, a new design uniquely combining lower cost off-the-shelf components used from different industries (Industrial NDT, Medical and dentistry) will be developed to enable production of a prototype of particular suitability for goods inward inspection.

The research leading to these results has received funding from the European Community’s Seventh Framework Programme managed by REA-Research Executive Agency http://ec.europa.eu/research/rea (FP7-SME-2008-2) under EU Grant Agreement: 262212

Technical Committee member responsible for this project is Bob Willis, for further technical information contact technical@smartgroup.org

Other Projects

Currently there are two other projects which are still in the discussion stages.

The SMART Group has a long history of disseminating information for EU projects and is ideally placed to take on this role. For further information on SMART Group and how members can benefit or participate in these projects contact info@smartgroup.org