Expanding the measuring choices for die inserts used in multilayer regis-tration systems for printed circuit boards has helped reduce inspection time for Multiline Technology Inc. (Farmingdale, NY).

The design and layout of multiple layered circuit board laminations depend on a perfect die alignment, which is achieved by the company's advanced technology punch, post-etch punch and other registration equipment. To measure the accuracy of these die inserts, Multiline added new measuring equipment to the facility. One of the pieces of equipment purchased was the Trimos V-600 Height Gage supplied by Fred V. Fowler Co. (Newton, MA).

According to John Otto, director of quality assurance at Multiline, "We purchased this device two months ago after conducting time studies of our die set up and inspection cooperatively with Fowler's local representative, JAD Speciality Co., so that we could compare accuracy and operational benefits of the Trimos height gage against other inspection methods, including the use of our coordinate measuring machine (CMM)."

Because the company's CMM was becoming overloaded, die insert time studies were done, which in turn led to the purchase of the Trimos. The studies showed a consistent overall accuracy and an impressive time savings. Otto says that the study results were factored into an annual production schedule, which projected savings in inspection time of 50%. He also calculated that the company could get a payback on the height gage within six months.

Multiline needs to be able to measure die inserts accurately. Previously, part inspection setups for part measuring took quite a while to do, requiring many measuring operations using various gage block combinations and height transfer gages. The Trimos allows fewer and faster inspection setups that take a matter of minutes.

Die inserts used for punching in circuit board fabrication need to be accurate to 0.0002 inch. The features being measured include holes, slots and surface edges inside the parts--including distances to the outside periphery--as well as flatness, parallelism, squareness and various internal and surface features.

The height gage's versatility has helped make actual measuring operations 25% to 65% more efficient. "The beauty of the V-600 gage is that you can establish different datums and measure parts from either datum by simply pressing one button on the Trimos, thus determining the distance from feature to datum, and also from feature to feature," says Otto. "The versatility of the gage is highly desirable."

Multiline says inspection capability plays a major role in its strong customer relations, and the Trimos has helped the company achieve a reduction in inspection time and has helped measuring operations become more efficient.

Fred V. Fowler Co. Inc.
(617) 332-7004