Operator using tilting table and digital microscope to inspect printed circuit board

INSIGHTS

The benefits of using a digital microscope for PCB inspection

The excellent image quality is just one of the benefits of using a digital microscope for PCB inspection. Explore the others here.

For processes such as Quality control, Quality assurance as well as Repair and Rework, being able to clearly see the PCB, solder paste and components without your hands being in the way or your neck hurting from sitting still for long periods of time is crucial.

 

These factors alone highlight the importance of a microscope that:

  • Displays your sample in excellent image quality with no delay as you’re moving it around
  • Is comfortable to use for hours every day

Being able to document and discuss your findings with local and remote colleagues can also be a game changer for those not already using a digital microscope for PCB inspection.

For that reason, other benefits of digital microscope for PCB inspection include:

  • Being able to quickly capture photos of your work
  • Being able to easily collaborate with colleagues
  • Being able to live share the microscope image with remote colleagues in online meetings

Lastly, being able to work more efficiently and making the most of your investments by customizing it with features and software are also key benefits of using a digital microscope for PCB inspection.

Below, we’ll go into more depth with each of these benefits.

Operator using a digital microscope to inspect pcb

Benefit 1 of using a digital microscope for PCB inspection:

See every little details thanks to excellent image quality

When choosing a digital microscope for PCB inspection, it’s important to know how your choice of camera within the microscope affects not only the image quality but also the user experience. Because while it may be tempting to look for a microscope with high magnification capabilities, it’s important to know that high magnificaiton capabilities doesn’t automatically guarantee great image quality.

For that reason, keep your eyes out for a microscope with 1080p image quality (FULL HD) and 30x optical zoom. This will result in extremely sharp images that will show all details of your sample, even at 660x magnification.

It’s also important to check the framerate of the microscope. With 60 frames per second and progressive scan, you won’t experience any delay or distortion as you’re moving the sample around under the microscope. While this may not sound important, you’ll quickly notice the difference if you’re working with lower frame rates or even interlaced scan rather than progressive scan if you need to manipulate the sample under the microscope.

 

 

Benefit 2 of using a digital microscope for PCB inspection:

Why a digital microscope is more comfortable to use

Employees working with manual inspection often use a microscope for hours on end every day. For many, that means bending your neck to look through an ocular. However, by removing the ocular and using a monitor to display your sample, you can obtain ergonomically correct working positions. This will relieve your eyes, neck and back from excessive strain and reduce the risk of Musculosketal disorders, also known as MSDs.

Cases show that introducing ergonomic interventions reduces PCB escape rate and results in less sick leave and staff infirmities. In turn, operators get less tired and can work more efficiently.

benefits_of_using_a_digital_microscope_in_electronics_2

Benefit 3 of using a digital microscope for PCB inspection:

It’s never been easier to capture photos of your samples

All it takes to capture a photo with a digital microscope is A) connecting it to a computer or B) pressing a button on the control box. Although the process depends on your microscope of choice, it’s significantly easier than some of the workarounds we see from people using non-digital systems.

What’s even better is how easy it is to access the photos. Again, depending on your choice of microscope, the images will either be available immediately on the microscope or your computer.  From here, it’s easy to save the photo in a specific folder or forward it to remote colleagues or suppliers if you need to discuss it in more details.

 

 

Benefit 4 of using a digital microscope for PCB inspection:

Inspect a sample with your colleagues – together, not in turns

As new employees join a company, they need training in what to look out for when doing quality control. However, taking turns looking through an ocular is not ideal when you want to show a new colleague something specific on a sample.

However, with the sample being displayed on a monitor instead, both employees can see the sample at the same time, making it easy for the manager to point to a specific area of the sample to discuss it.

Similarly, an employee who is confident enough to work independently, can call a colleague over if an issue occurs to quickly discuss it.

Man using TAGARNO FRONT to inspect PCBs

Benefit 5 of using a digital microscope for PCB inspection:

Being able to discuss issues with remote colleagues or supply chain partners 

It’s one thing being able to call a colleague over if an issue occurs. But what if the colleague you need to talk to is not working on the same location as you? In this case, sharing the microscope live image in an online meeting provides the same benefit as the monitor display.

By sharing the microscope live image in an online meeting, people who do not have the sample or a microscope in front of them, can see the sample as clearly as the person holding the sample.

Being able to discuss issues with colleagues (or supply chain partners) immediately after it occurs by simply jumping on an online meeting makes digital microscopes an excellent tool for efficient issue solving.

 

 

Benefit 6 of using a digital microscope for PCB inspection:

The ability to customize the microscope with features and software that match your processes

Lastly, a key benefit of why a digital microscope is useful for PCB inspection is the ability to add features and software to the microscopes long after you bought it.

This not only creates a customized solution that matches your processes and needs perfectly. By adding new features to an existing microscope rather than replacing it with another system as your needs change, it also extends the lifespan of the product and ensures that you get the most out of your initial investment.

Examples of microscope software

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