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How Dynalab Switched to AOI

YESTECH FX AOI systems as part of the assembly line at Dynalab.
By Jerry Giles, General Manager, Dynalab and Don S. Miller, President, Nordson YESTECH

Maintaining the highest quality standards have always been paramount to the success of Dynalab, a Columbus, Ohio-based Electronics Manufacturing Services (EMS) provider. Founded in 1981, Dynalab's 300-plus associates presently occupy 100,000 square feet in the company's headquarters and manufacturing facility, providing engineering and manufacturing support for Fortune 500 companies.

Dynalab is a full service EMS company offering benefits typically found in both large and small companies. They offer the technical capabilities and customized supply chain management programs found with larger EMS companies, along with the agility, flexibility and responsiveness usually found with smaller companies.

Although PCB assembly and test is the strongest area of growth, the company offers complete turnkey services, including wire harness/cable construction and electromechanical assembly, also referred to in the industry as box build. Since the company is continuously presented with unique manufacturing opportunities, its capabilities have stayed diverse and vertically integrated. Remaining flexible and in control of these special requirements has led to the development of many hard-to-coordinate, integrated processes.

On-Time Delivery
Dynalab manufactures products for customers who primarily compete in the industrial controls, precision instruments, energy, healthcare, military (IPC Class III) and telecommunications industries. The company's customers receive: on-time delivery, quick response, flexibility, short cycle times, high quality, customized program and technical support, and an overall good value. Dynalab is focused on continuing to expand its capabilities in keeping with technological advances.

Over the last several years, the EMS provider has implemented several advanced manufacturing techniques, including automated test and inspection solutions, to help ensure its high-quality standards. Initially, the objective for acquiring the first AOI was to enhance existing internal controls and final inspection procedures to help ensure that the company delivered quality and fully functional products regardless of the run size or time and budget constraints.

Once it was decided to implement AOI, Dynalab embarked on an exhaustive evaluation to assess the capabilities of the different systems from a wide variety of established manufacturers. For several weeks they ran products with known defects through competitive AOI systems and then assessed the results. What they discovered about the Nordson YESTECH AOI system was compelling. The YESTECH FX system not only offered the best performance overall, with superior defect detection and the fastest programming times, it also offered the quickest return-on-investment of all the systems considered.
AOI defect coverage diagram.

Ultimately, Dynalab decided on the Nordson YESTECH AOI. They installed their systems to inspect for solder and lead defects, component presence as well as position, correct part, polarity and through-hole parts. YESTECH's YESPC software also played a key role in Dynalab's decision, offering fast setup and customized programming to meet their unique needs. Using it, operators typically take less than 30 minutes to create a complete inspection program, including solder inspection. "The team at Nordson YESTECH was very responsive," said Craig Reiselt, Director of Manufacturing for Dynalab. "We were able to work directly with engineering to optimize the software to meet our specific needs. After much careful research, we discovered that the FX offered us the most powerful inspection capability, with the best overall value."

Early Problem Detection
The reporting features of the AOI system provides detailed information, not only for quality monitoring and reporting, but also for on the line repair. With the Nordson YESTECH AOI system, the Dynalab technicians are able to call up the image and see exactly where the suspect item is. "The FX AOI provides us with the critical feedback we need," said Jerry Giles, General Manager of Dynalab. "By utilizing AOI at the beginning of the line, and throughout the manufacturing process, we are able to detect any potential issues early on, which save us time and money. The FX AOI has proven to be a very effective quality control tool for our organization." Now that the AOI systems have been in use for some time, the EMS provider is well aware of the benefits of automated optical inspection for its assemblies. Since installing the FX AOI, there has been a reduction of the number of defects by as much as 15 percent. By understanding the key benefits of AOI, Dynalab has been able to maximize its effectiveness as an integral part of its manufacturing process and quality assurance program. The systems are in use for short manufacturing runs as well as high-volume production. This inspection strategy has helped Dynalab ensure quality throughout all phases of production. AOI has proven not only to be an excellent defect detection tool, but also an efficient vehicle for SMT process improvement. The FX AOI has also made quite a difference in production time efficiency, which rolls directly to the bottom line. The equipment fits in well with the established quality procedures already in place, and remains a highly effective component in the company's quality program.

In-Process Verification
Dynalab's inspection approach includes: first article, in-process verification and final verification. Process control is a vital step to producing quality products. the company utilizes AOI early on in the manufacturing process, to ensure quality down the line. Quality products start with the first board off the line on the first production run. AOI test equipment quickly provides inspection routines for the first board, and immediate feedback to correct errors, thus saving time and money.

AOI allows Dynalab to consistently monitor the SMT process, providing critical feedback, and allowing for early detection of defects. Operators can shut down the production line if any of the inspection results get out of range. The company's Continuous Improvement Team relies heavily on the information acquired from the AOI systems. This constant feedback improves the process, and prevents the need for costly rework. In addition, any errors that occur are pinpointed so that they can be communicated and fixed immediately, and the board is put back into the manufacturing process quickly.

Final verification is the last phase of Dynalab's quality assurance program. A final inspection ensures that all quality standards are met, with the ultimate benefit of this approach resulting in reduced field failures. Inspection and test process dramatically improves the reliability of the product in the field. Because AOI can detect a multitude of defects, customers experience fewer product returns, resulting lower overall product cost.