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Automated Flex Circuit Bonding & Inspection System

Attaches and bonds a flex circuit to a substrate with 20-micron accuracy. Also processes different products simultaneously.

 

High precision, automated assembly system to accurately attach and bond a flex circuit The bonding and inspection tool uses recipe-controlled temperature and pressure to bond a printed flex-circuit onto a metallic substrate containing pre-applied adhesive. Flex circuits are hand-loaded via custom carriers and stacked in an automated elevator on the tool, while substrates enter the tool on trays loaded at the input rack.

A set of compliant grippers transfers a single flex circuit from the topmost carrier to the align and stake assembly, while a custom X-Y-Θ robot transfers a tray with substrate from the loading rack to the vision inspection station. As the substrate moves toward the vision station, a barcode reader identifies the part type and selects the appropriate recipe. Prior to vision inspection, a peeler tool lowers, grips, and then strips the protective cover layer from the glue surface on the substrate.

At the vision inspection station, a COGNEX camera inspects and confirms the shape and orientation of previously applied glue dots on the face of the substrate. The robot then moves the substrate and tray to the staker assembly, where three additional COGNEX cameras verify alignment before the flex is temporarily staked to the substrate. The robot now transfers the tray and staked assembly to the next available press assembly set to the per-product recipe.

At the press, per-process heat and pressure are applied to complete the bonding process. After bonding has been completed, the press opens and the robot transfers the tray and bonded assembly to the output rack for operator removal. 

Technical Specifications
Control System:

PC-based, running on Windows XP.

Servo Control, 7X Galil:

Robot Z, R, Θ; Flex Z, and Table X, Y, Θ axis

Operator Interface:

Touch-sensitive screens designed in C#.net

Discrete I/O:

B&R distributed I-O using CANBUS.

Machine Vision:

COGNEX VisionPro 3.5: 4 cameras

Material Handling:

Custom robot and end effector.

Environment:

Class 10,000

Accuracy:

±20μm (pre-press)

Throughput:

2 parts per 180 second cycle: (pick, assemble, orient, bond, inspect, output)

Material Tracking:

Barcoded material tracking using 2D Data Matrix.

Inspection:

Adhesive (size, location, quantity) component orientation.

Storage Capacity:
  • Load station, 80 parts.
  • Presses, 70 parts. 
  • Unload station, 80 parts.
Temperature Control:

Watlow pre-press staker press controls.

Pick and Place:

Custom flex handling.

Safety:

Fully interlocked enclosure with light curtain.

Quality:

Integrated with Q.C. Calc Data Collection & Reporting Statistical Software.

pressure bonding flex circuit automation equipment