Defect Detection Goes Online Print E-mail
User Rating: / 0
Written by Dr. Davide Di Maio   
Friday, 31 October 2008 19:00

Our newest column is not just informative, it’s interactive.

The National Physical Laboratory (NPL) has created an interactive assembly and soldering defect database (, allowing searches through a range of defects covering components, printed circuit boards and assemblies. The aim is to add more process, material and environmental defects each month to complement online submissions from Circuits Assembly readers.

The database will take time to populate with defects, but with worldwide cooperation and the introduction of defect types from research studies across Europe, this will result in a unique resource. We are very excited about our cooperation with Circuits Assembly and support from the SMTA. We hope this interactive tool will help engineers solve problems and obtain practical advice, day or night. A practical benefit is its online global availability 24/7 as a reference and training resource.

Future columns will show such defects as white residue rings on BGA joints, copper separation on PCBs, and conformal coating cracks. Each column will include photos of the defect, plus possible causes.

Here, Figure 1 shows the front page of the NPL Defects Database. Engineers can search the database by defect, process, alloy type, etc. Alternatively, if the defect is not available, a photograph may be submitted with ease.


Figure 2 shows an example of one of the defects found after a search of the database, providing information on the defect, how it occurred and possible corrective action.


Figure 3 highlights how selecting the image provides a larger view of the defect and the opportunity to print out the results for shop floor staff and discussion with other engineers and suppliers.


The NPL Industry Defects Database is now available to allow Circuits Assembly readers to search for solutions to common problems, or to submit defects online with full details for the purpose of requesting or sharing advice and possible solutions to process issues or failures. We welcome your comments and contributions.

Dr. Davide Di Maio is with the National Physical Laboratory Industry and Innovation division (; This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .



Eastern-US: China’s New Competitor?

Parity emerges among EMS Factories from Asia, Mexico and the US.

For the first time in years we see parity in the Eastern US among EMS factories from Asia, Mexico and the US. This EMS market condition will permit American OEMs (the EMS industry refers to OEMs as customers) to have more EMS pathways to choose from. Now more than ever, such EMS assignments will require deeper investigation relating to the OEMs’ evaluation of manufacturing strategies.

The Human Touch

For those who count on the electronics industry for big feats, it’s been a remarkable couple of years.



Advances in Concentration Monitoring and Closed-Loop Control

Contaminated bath water skews refractive index results. New technology can accurately measure aqueous cleaning agent concentration.

Circuits Disassembly: Materials Characterization and Failure Analysis

A systematic approach to nonconventional methods of encapsulant removal.





CB Login



English French German Italian Portuguese Russian Spanish


Panasonic Debuts PanaCIM Maintenance with Augmented Reality
PanaCIM Maintenance with Augmented Reality software provides instant communication and information to factory technicians -- when and where it is needed -- so they can respond to factory needs more...