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Buying an X-ray System? Start Here!

We’ve long been fans of Mike Konrad’s The Reliability Matters Podcast, so when Creative Electron’s own David Kruidhof was invited to join in, we did our happy dance.  David did a mind-meld with a panel of experts to discuss how to go about acquiring an X-ray system.  It a really informative conversation, and importantly void of all the salesy nonsense that usually pollutes such presentations.

  • How much does an X-ray machine cost?
  • High end vs. economy systems
  • 2D, 21/2D (?), 3D

How much to spend?

How much does an X-ray system cost?  This always seems to top the list of our FAQ’s, and it’s not because we are trying to be coy, but we are loathe to give a straight answer.  But on Reliability Matters, they are out with it.  Once the numbers are revealed though, it becomes clear why the question itself is so complicated.  It will, however, give you a ball park if you are about to start budgeting (no spoiler here; you’ll have to listen and learn).

Capabilities vs. Cost

Arguably more important than the price of the system is it’s capabilities, and whether they suit your needs.  This discussion delves into the broad range of capabilities of systems across the cost spectrum.  More importantly, there’s emphasis on matching the systems capabilities to your actual needs.  A million dollar CT system  can produce amazing 3D images, but likely isn’t practical if you’re making boards for low-end consumer electronics.

The D’s

Speaking of CT, the 3D flavor of X-ray inspection, it is absolutely remarkable technology, but just not practical for most production applications.  Manufacturers will more commonly employee what we call 2 1/2D, or oblique viewing, which allows for better analysis of BGA (ball grid array) components and their critical solder joints.  The simples, and typically lowest cost systems provide 2D images, which, depending on your application may be all the information required.

Consider this post a 2D examination of this episode of The Reliability Matters Podcast.  Watch or listen to the episode to get the full CT, and wealth of information that goes with it.  When you are finished, please reach out with your list of questions.  We’d be thrilled to help.

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