Device-Related Testing and Laser Marking Systems Displayed at Electronics Show

May 1, 2000

4 Min Read
Device-Related Testing and Laser Marking Systems Displayed at Electronics Show

Medical device engineers attending NEPCON West 2000 held February 29–March 2 in Anaheim, CA, were met by nearly a thousand exhibitors serving the electronics manufacturing industry. The range and diversity of products and services featured at the show—the largest of its kind in North America—is too great to capture in one article. Featured below are some of the most innovative products that caught our eye.

Fischer Technology (Windsor, CT) displayed the Fischerscope XDVM, an instrument that measures the coating thickness and alloy composition of nearly any metal coating system, including single, binary, and ternary alloy coatings; double coatings; double coatings with one alloy layer; and triple coatings. The technology involves bombarding the sample with x-rays, causing its coating to fluoresce. The instrument can then distinguish various coatings because they flouresce differently.

The system uses a microfocus x-ray tube, Ni and Be primary filters, a xenon-filled proportional counter tube (with internal 4096-channel ADC spectrum processing with compression to 256 channels for external display), and four focal planes for measuring close to steps and inside recesses with height differences up to 90 mm.

Despite the Fischerscope's high-tech capabilities, it has been designed with ease of use in mind. When the company representatives demonstrated several tests, the results were immediately available. The instrument is suited for high-volume coating thickness measurements on electronic components such as screws, connector contacts, contact strips, and PC boards. Specific medical applications include checking coatings on heart valves, hip joints, and medical tools and instruments.

At another end of the huge convention hall, a testing device of another kind was being demonstrated. Instron Corp.'s (Canton, MA) Model 5548 universal test system is designed for microelectronic and micromaterial testing. According to Fred Otto, a company representative, "The unit performs tensile, compression, flex, shear, and cyclic tests" on a variety of materials and components. After Otto showed how the unit can test the force required to pull a lead out of a circuit board, he connected another fixture and explained how it could now be used to test the strength of the joints in an IV bag.

The unit's design ensures position accuracy and resolution for testing subminiature specimens requiring high accuracy for minute deformation measurements and control. It delivers accurate specimen deformation measurements, force-displacement data, and system control.

GSI Lumonics (Kanata, ON, Canada) introduced a laser marking system that they are pitching to the medical device industry. According to Scott White, the company's sales manager, "Many device manufacturers are now assembling circuit boards in-house. For that reason, they need laser marking systems that are not only relatively inexpensive but that also meet their process and product-traceability requirements."

The PCM6800 can mark any combination of text, bar codes, or 2-D cell codes anywhere on a circuit board. It is completely self-contained and is designed with an integrated PCB conveyor. The system can be inserted into SMEMA-compatible assembly lines or matched with a wide range of PCB stackers and destackers for stand-alone operation. Permanent, high-contrast marks can be placed at high speeds on board sizes up to 500 x 500 mm.

An entirely different type of product was displayed by Süd-Chemie Performance Packaging (Colton, CA). Its desiccants protect medical devices and electronics from moisture damage. The company works closely with manufacturers to customize desiccants and packaging products for individual requirements.

0005p8b.jpgThese desiccant injection-molded plastic parts were featured at NEPCON West 2000.

Süd-Chemie's most recent product offering is 2AP, a desiccant injection-molded plastic. 2AP combines precise amounts of desiccant with injection-molded plastic for OEM components, packaging, and handling systems. "2AP incorporates the moisture-eliminating characteristics of desiccants with the durability and cleanroom and molding qualities of plastic," says Jerri Traylor, a Süd-Chemie representative. Unlike desiccants packaged within nonwoven materials, it can significantly reduce particle emissions—an important feature for medical applications. According to Traylor, 2AP is especially suited for such medical applications as diagnostic test kits.

These four products are of course just a small fraction of what was presented at the show. Look for more of these show products to be featured in the Products and Services section of future issues of MPMN.—Karim Marouf

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