PCB manufacturers tend to have a lot of questions about switching from third-party XRF measurement services and taking their XRF-testing process in-house. These questions tend to focus around two points – is it possible and, if so, how do they get started? This article will aim to answer these questions.
Advantages of In-House XRF Testing
In-house XRF testing provides a host of great benefits:
Fix Problems Faster
XRF measurements allow manufacturers to rapidly determine if their processes are running correctly, or if the base material they used is correct. The use of a third-party company means manufacturers must wait for this information, resulting in potential problems taking longer to identify.
Whilst solving the problem may remain difficult, the in-house detection of the problem allows the issue to be identified quicker, allowing the issue to be solved sooner rather than later.
Removing the need to ship components to the third-party tester, and then wait for the measurement and the return shipping saves a significant proportion of time.
Now, taking an XRF measurement does take a little time, but minutes rather than days. You can shave a lot off your standard production time by keeping everything in-house.
More Punctual Shipping
More punctual shipping is possible when taking XRF in-house as it saves time, allowing shipping to be carried out sooner, and provides a greater level of process control.
Whilst testing labs are professional, they still require you to fit around their schedule, which can result in the extension of lead times. Running in-house testing means shipping schedules can be adhered to.
Keep Documentation Up-To-Date
Third-party testing labs are good at providing results and attaching measurements to the correct sample batches. However, in-house XRF testing provides more control over this process; facilitating the automated and instantaneous recording of measurements. Having all of these measurements on record is very useful for auditing.
Is it Possible to Take Accurate Measurements In-House?
Taking measurements in-house is definitely possible. The XRF equipment provided by Hitachi is simple to use without the need for specialist knowledge; some training may be required to get operators up to speed but this doesn’t require them to be experts.
Many of the systems provided by Hitachi are pre-calibrated for the measurements required and Hitachi can provide training to ensure everything is working correctly. In addition, their XRF systems are highly robust, meaning they are well suited for use in harsh production and real-world environments.
How Prohibitive is the Cost?
Often the choice to use a third-party testing service is for economical reasons. To help manufacturers get around this cost barrier Hitachi provides leasing options, with the option to spread the purchase cost when needed. This also allows operators to test the system before committing to a full purchase.
How to Switch from Third-Party to In-House Testing
Hitachi can help their potential customers get started with in-house testing, ensure that the systems are working to an accurate level, provide training when required, and help to ensure all of the correct documents for tracing and auditing are produced.
This information has been sourced, reviewed and adapted from materials provided by Hitachi High-Tech Analytical Science.
For more information on this source, please visit Hitachi High-Tech Analytical Science.