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Creative Electron Innovation at IPC APEX February 26-March 1st

We are thrilled to be gearing up for the annual IPC APEX Expo. APEX takes place in our own backyard, downtown San Diego. APEX is the stage for premier innovation in the tech world. Our exhibit will be no different, as will we be showcasing the latest and greatest of Creative Electron’s TruView product line. Come check out what’s new in x-ray image inspection at booth #1932 at the San Diego Convention Center February 27-March 1st.

Follow our APEX status on Twitter at @creaiveelectron

Contact us today to schedule a time to meet us in downtown San Diego. And don’t forget to check out the all new
TruView Parts Counter!

TruView Parts Counter at NEPCON Japan – Jan. 17-19

It’s a brand new year and we’re heading to Japan to showcase our TruView Parts Counter at NEPCON Japan in Tokyo from January 17-19. If you haven’t been to NEPCON Japan yet, well, you must. NEPCON is Asia’s largest exhibition for electronics design, R&D and manufacturing technology Launched in 1972, NEPCON Japan has grown together with the Japanese & Asian electronics industry. Consisting of 7 shows specialised in essential areas for electronics manufacturing and R&D, the show has increased its value as an exhibition representing Asia’s leading one-stop venue for all those involved in electronics industry. Furthermore, adding exhibitions for promising applications such as Automobiles, Wearable devices, Robots, and Smart factories, NEPCON Japan attracts the huge attention as a venue where the latest technologies for “Future of Electronics” are showcased.

Contact us today to schedule a time to meet us in Tokyo. And don’t forget to check out the all new TruView Parts Counter!

Samsung Galaxy S8+ Teardown with CT

How to make a perfect teardown better? Add CT to it! Here’s the CT teardown of the new Samsung S8+. For the complete teardown from ifixt please click here.

Apple Watch 2 Teardown

The day is finally here, the new Apple Watch 2 is also here! Dave is in Australia taking x-rays of the Apple Watch 2 in Sydney while our friends from ifixit are in Tokyo taking the Apple Watch 2 apart. A big thanks to our mates from Circuitwise for letting us use their TruView Prime!


Here’re the x-ray images of the new Apple Watch 2:

Apple Watch 2

We’re running a live teardown of the Apple Watch 2 with ifixit, so check out these links to the amazing x-ray images:

Apple Watch 2

What, Counterfeit Network Equipment?

The counterfeit detection community has spent the past several years developing techniques to determine if an electronic component is fake. Our team has done a lot of work developing x-ray machines and custom algorithms to find counterfeit electronic components. However, we have not been looking for counterfeit components already mounted on the PCB and sold as a finished piece of equipment. In this case the simple replacement of a component for a fake is not the worse case scenario. Things get really worrisome when you consider that this “fake” component can be used as a threat to our cybersecurity.

As an example, the following x-ray images show an authentic memory chip (left) and a counterfeited one (right). Note that externally, when inspecting these components under a microscope, these two devices look identical. Also, they were found in the same reel of components, sitting side by side in neighboring pockets.


Our recent work presented at the latest Symposium on Counterfeit Parts and Materials shows how a TruView x-ray inspection system in conjunction with ICARUS was used to find extra parts added to a network equipment. This work also shows how these devices – and any other – can be inspected inside the box (no need to void manufacturer’s’ warranty) to determine if the device inside the box is what you expect it to be.

Check out these x-ray images, can you tell the differences between them? It’s hard to see given the complexity of these images, so we added a small red box to call your attention to the corner of the image on the right. These two pieces of equipment should look identical on the x-ray, so what is that extra circuitry doing in that corner?


Since this topic is new and there has been a lot of interest from different agencies, we’ve been asked to keep this info under control. Therefore we decided to keep the presentation and white paper from our website. If you’d like a copy please email us at

Counterfeit Electronics Symposium

We’re looking forward to presenting and exhibiting at the upcoming Symposium on Counterfeit Parts and Materials. We’ll be in booth #1. Our paper “The Next Challenge For X-Ray Counterfeit Detection: Electronic Equipment” will show new challenges OEMs are facing with elaborate counterfeit schema.


For the past years our R&D team has presented new algorithms and technologies related to the use of x-ray inspection to identify counterfeit electronic components. Although a critical part of the electronic industry’s value chain, single components are not the only target of criminal enterprises. This year our presentation will focus on another equally important stage of the value chain: electronic equipment. The work presented reflects research and development of hardware, software, and algorithms needed to perform x-ray inspection of routers, switches, and other high monetary value equipment. In specific, we will focus on a case study where a number of routers and switches that were not only counterfeited, but also replaced with other electronics. X-ray images of these devices will be presented, as well as the algorithms utilized to assess the authenticity of these equipment.

Industry Veteran Joins Creative Electron

by Bill Cardoso in Creative Electron, Sales, x-ray Comments: 0

San Marcos, CA – Creative Electron, Inc., a leading American manufacturer of x-ray inspection systems announced today that David Phillips joined the company as Customer Service Manager. A seasoned veteran in the x-ray inspection market, David brings to Creative Electron over 22 years of management and customer service experience fostering positive professional relationships with a variety of diversified clients.

A veteran in the x-ray market, David previously worked in similar roles at FocalSpot, SAIC, Teradyne, and Nicolet. “I’m excited to join this incredible team at Creative Electron. Since they design and fabricate all TruView x-ray machines out of our facility in California, customer service is easy since all software and hardware knowledge is in one place. And I’ll continue working to support the hundreds of customers who own Nicolet, FocalSpot, and Faxitron legacy systems – as I’ve been doing for the past 20 years.”

“Upon our acquisition of the legacy service business from Matrix-FocalSpot, Dave’s experience with the FocalSpot, Nicolet, and Faxitron customers is fundamental in establishing Creative Electron as the only authorized service provider for these legacy systems,” said Griffin Lemaster, Creative Electron’s VP of Engineering. “Dave will also be instrumental in servicing our TruView x-ray customers, especially as we keep up with the tremendous growth we had in the past two years.”

For more information and to learn how you can request service for your x-ray machine, please contact Creative Electron at 760.752.1192, email us at, or contact us online at

Epinephrine Auto-Injector Teardown

For millions of people around the world, having an Epinephrine auto-injector can mean the difference between life and death. According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the Epinephrine injection is used along with emergency medical treatment to treat life-threatening allergic reactions caused by insect bites or stings, foods, medications, latex, and other causes. Epinephrine is in a class of medications called alpha- and beta-adrenergic agonists (sympathomimetic agents). It works by relaxing the muscles in the airways and tightening the blood vessels.

According to,  2.45 billion of these syringe units were sold in 2011 with an expected  3.59 billion to be sold in 2015. Pre-filled syringes form one of the fastest growing markets in healthcare.The devices contain a spring-loaded needle that exits the tip of the device (in some cases through a sterile membrane) and penetrates the recipient’s skin, to deliver the medication via intramuscular injection.

To show you how these incredible devices work, we did the teardown of one of the most Epinephrine Auto-Injectors in the market, the Epipen®. As you can see in the following x-ray image, there are 5 key parts of this auto-injector. Let’s start from the top of the Epipen® (5), which is the actuator (or button) you press to trigger the pen. This trigger releases a powerful spring (4) that can apply several pounds of force to release the medication inside the syringe (3). This force also causes the needle (2) to exit the auto-injector and penetrate the patient’s skin. To absorb some of that impact, the release spring (1) takes some of that shock to provide the patient with a smooth experience (similar to the shock absorbers in your car).



There’s a lot of information on this topic online. We found the Mayo Clinic website specially useful.



EpiPen® is a registered trademark owned by the Mylan companies

Tharium Selling TruView X-Ray in Mexico

We’re really excited to share with you that Tharium Corporation started selling our TruView X-Ray inspection systems in Mexico. This is an exclusive deal that will allow Tharium to not only provide Mexico with a local sales team, but more importantly, a competent local technical team. Here’s a word from our friend Francisco Sanchez, Tharium’s General Manager: “We are thrilled with the opportunity to offer and service the award winning TruView X-Ray inspection systems in Mexico. I’ve been working in the manufacturing industry in Mexico for 20 years, and the TruView equipment by far offers the highest price to performance ratio in the market. What’s more exciting is our ability to tap into Creative Electron’s R&D team in California to customize solutions to our customers.”

Tharium offers other products as well, including rework stations, vision products, magnifying lenses, and AOI machines. For more information please visit their website at

Francisco can be reached at

Free Halloween Candy X-Ray

Over the years we’ve seen several reports of criminals inserting foreign objects in Halloween candy. For that reason we use x-rays to make sure the candy our kids collect is safe for consumption. This year we decided to offer this service to the whole community. If you’d like to have you kid’s candy inspected with x-rays, please come by our facility in San Marcos this Sunday, November 1, from 9AM to 11AM. We’re located at 253 Pawnee St., San Marcos, CA. If you like more information, feel free to contact us here. This is not only an opportunity to check candy for foreign objects, but also a chance to show your kids how x-rays work. We look forward to seeing you this Sunday!

To give you an idea of what we can see if x-rays, check these images of what an innocent Snickers or Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup can hide!


Halloween candy x-ray: Snickers bar with needle


Halloween candy x-ray: Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup with razor blade

Although both examples are simulated, I can’t imagine finding these objects in my kids’ bowl of candy like other parents have! Here’s an example of the x-ray of the whole bowl showing the needle and the razor blade.


What can we find inside Halloween candy using x-rays?

Before we get into the details of what we can and cannot see inside our kids’ candy, let’s review how x-ray imaging works. A special source located underneath the candy produces x-ray photons (x-rays photons are similar to visible light photons, but they vibrate at different frequencies) that travel thru the candy and reach a special sensor located on top of the candy. Unlike visible light, these x-ray photons travel go thru matter. However, we can tune the energy of the x-rays so they stop at some heavy materials (like metals), thus creating a shadow on the sensor. Now imagine we collect a bunch of these x-rays and create a image based on the density of the material they are travelling thru. Like you can see in the above image, the heavy parts of the candy are darker than the light parts of the candy. The metal foreign objects can be seen because they stop almost all x-rays, thus creating a very dark profile of the object (see the needle and the razor blade). What’s really cool is that we can also see the peanuts inside the Snickers bar and little air bubbles inside the Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup! What we can’t see, however, include materials that don’t cast a shadow with the x-ray light. That includes poisons, paper, aluminum, plastic, and other light materials. Like everything in life, technology can’t replace good judgement. X-rays can help us some things, but not absolutely everything a criminal might decide to insert in a candy.

Have a safe and happy Halloween!

The All New TruView Flex is Here!

It took us a while, but the TruView Flex is finally here! For those who have not been part of this development, the TruView Flex is a unique x-ray inspection system because it can be used as an offline  or as an inline machine. It has shutters on both sides of the machine and a conveyor belt inside, so that we insert a sample from one side, perform a full automated inspection of the sample, and spill it out from the other side. In offline mode, the system automatically closes the shutters so that you can run a manual or automated inspection using the joystick in front of the system. We also added a pass through mode so that the TruView Flex behaves like a standard conveyor belt to move the samples from one side to the other.


Let us know if you have any questions about the TruView Flex. You can call us at 760.751.1192, emails us here, or chat live with us right here –>.

January 21 Open House

by Bill Cardoso in Creative Electron, Sales, x-ray Comments: 0

Our open house in San Marcos, CA is an informal opportunity for you to learn more about x-ray inspection and rework. We are very interested in learning more about your application, so please bring your boards. We will take the time to understand what’s going on and give you some pointers on how to proceed. If you’re in the market for an x-ray machine or a rework station, this is the perfect opportunity to “kick the tires” without the pressure of a sales pitch.

To better help you, please register at so we can schedule a 30-minute session exclusively with you.

See you in Maryland!

by Christopher Jimenez in Creative Electron, Sales Comments: 0

The Creative Electron team is on the road again. Next week will be at the Symposium on Counterfeit Electronic Parts and Electronic Supply Chain hosted by SMTA and the University of Maryland Center for Advanced Life Cycle Engineering (CALCE).

The Symposium runs from Tuesday to Thursday, June 24-26. Wednesday afternoon we will present a paper on how to use x-rays to find counterfeit components. We look forward seeing you there!

Here are more details:

June 24-26, 2014
College Park Marriott Hotel and Conference Center
College Park, MD

SMTA and CALCE University of Maryland are pleased to announce the 2014 Symposium on Counterfeit Electronic Parts and Electronic Supply Chain. Don’t miss this opportunity to learn from and share your insights with experts from government, industry and academia who are addressing the counterfeit problem. This symposium is the best forum in the country for presenting and learning about the latest technology and policy developments in the area of electronics supply chain and counterfeit electronics prevention.

The rapid and drastic changes in supply chain in recent years has contributed directly to the scourge of counterfeit electronic parts. Less well known, however, is how counterfeiting and piracy are also impacting other related sectors, including energy storage and generation eqipment, electromechanical parts, wirings, switchgears, connectors, fasteners and bearings. To address these problems, innovative scientists and entrepreneurs are developing robust products and processes, new standards are being created, and government and international bodies are developing new policies and legal structures.

Topics covered in this symposium will include the following:

  • Impact of supply chain changes on component management practices: quality, reliability and manufacturability
  • New areas of counterfeit concerns: materials, energy storage
  • Industry and international working groups and standards on electronic part supply chain and counterfeit electronic parts
  • Solutions from Original Equipment Manufactures (OEMs)
  • Solutions from Original Component Manufactures (OCMs)
  • Authentication techniques for securing the electronic part supply chain
  • Inspection tools and techniques for detecting counterfeit parts
  • How distributors can prepare themselves to be part of the solution
  • Program Finalized!
  • The program includes fourteen presentations over two days from University of CALCE – University of Maryland, Rochester Electronics, SMT Corporation, University of Connecticut, University of Florida, University of Freiburg, China CEPREI Lab, and more. Workshops will be offered for more in-depth learning on Supply Chain Evaluation and Managing Part Obsolescence and the Latest Tools and Techniques for Identification and Mitigation.

For more information about conference participation or registration, contact Patti (Hvidhyld) Coles ( Click here to view the Symposium Technical Committee