Automated optical inspection (AOI) is the automated system for visual inspection on a printed circuit board (PCB) (or an LCD, a transistor) in which an autonomous camera scans a device which is to be tested for both the catastrophic failure (for e.g. a missing component) and the quality defects (for e.g. a fillet size or a shape or a component skew). It is most commonly used for manufacturing processes as it is a test method which does not require any contact. It is implemented through various stages of the manufacturing process which includes bare board inspections, SPI (solder paste inspections), pre reflows and post reflows among the other stages. Automatic optical inspection enables a fast and an accurate inspection of the electronics assembly and in particular printed circuit board ensuring the quality of a product coming out of production line is best and the item is correctly built without any manufacturing faults. Automated optical inspection system applies different techniques for fault detection in the printed circuit board. One of the techniques is template matching which compares the image of printed circuit board and the golden board. Another techniques used are pattern matching and statistical pattern matching.

The major driver for the automated optical inspection systems market is the fact that modern circuits are more complicated than the ones in the past though there are major improvements in these circuits. Another driver for the automated optical inspection systems market is the introduction of surface mount technology which has led to the reduction in the size of the printed circuit board. Increasing complexity of the printed circuit boards makes manual inspection not a viable option which has led to the growth of the automated optical inspection systems market. Another factor leading to the growth of the automated optical inspection systems market is the high volume requirements of the printed circuit boards owing to the growth in the consumer electronics market. Another factor leading to the growth of the automated optical inspection systems market is the increasing preference for high quality printed circuit boards used in the devices for the default free applications. Low cost of producing printed circuit boards due to the early fault detection in the production line by automated optical inspection systems is another factor driving the automated optical inspection systems market. The major challenge faced by the automated optical inspection system market is that these systems are intolerant of component variations on products. Another challenge faced by the market is the huge fixed costs of buying these systems.

The Automated optical inspection (AOI) market can be segmented based on the type (2D AOI systems, 3D AOI systems), technology (Inline and Offline AOI Sytems), application (Aerospace & Defence, Automotive, Consumer Electronics, Industrial, Medical devices, telecommunication, energy & power) and based on geography (North America, Asia Pacific, Europe, Latin America and Middle East and Africa).

3D AOI systems account for the largest automated optical inspection systems market as 3D technology provides more precision in analyzing the defects. Consumer Electronics accounts for the largest market when market is segmented by application as consumer electronics find the maximum use of the technology. North America is the largest market for automated optical inspection systems and is anticipated to be the largest market in the coming years owing to the increasing use of technology and consumer electronics. Asia Pacific is the fastest growing market for the automated optical inspection systems in the region owing to the rise in miniaturization of electronics systems.

Some of the key players include Omron Corporation (Japan), Nordson Corporation (U.S.), Orbotech Ltd. (Israel), Koh Young Technology Inc. (South Korea), AOI Systems (U.K.), Mirtec Corporation (U.S.), Machine Vision Products (U.S.), Goepel Electronic GmbH (Germany), and Viscom AG (Germany).

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