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Hidden Champions


Koh Young Technologyは、3D測定ベースの検査およびソリューションプロバイダーです。 コ・ヤングは、プリント回路基板(PCB)製造プロセスの実装段階の前にはんだの量を正確に測定する高度な3Dテクノロジーにより、2006年から世界的なはんだペースト検査(SPI)市場をリードしてきました。 同社は、3D自動光学検査(AOI)市場の拡大において先駆的な役割を果たし、スマートな工場変換ソリューションの強化と3D測定に基づく脳手術ロボット開発への多様化により、5年間で1兆ウォンの年間収益を達成することを目標としています 蓄積したデータ

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韓国のロボティクスエンジニアであるKwang-ill Koh(現在はKoh Young TechnologyのCEO)は、2002年に45歳で特定の人生の決断をしました。Kohは、急成長している半導体機器業界で有望な会社であるMirae Corporationで働いていたとき、自分の会社を立ち上げる。そのような決定の背後にある主な理由は?彼は「私が欲しかったすべての製品を研究してすぐに作成する」ことを夢見ていたと語った。




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    During their 6-month visits to production field and manufacturing sites, Koh and the founding members asked hundreds of engineers about the pressing issues during the manufacturing process of electronic products.

    The biggest concern that the engineers had shared was the product defect issue. Where exactly did the defective products come from? Koh discovered that the defect issue typically had to do with the solder paste, which is a type of adhesive used when mounting the electronic components onto the printed circuit board (PCB). Specifically, if the amount of solder printed onto the desired area is insufficient, the electronic components do not adhere well. But if an excessive amount of solder is applied, the components will be stuck together more than the required level, creating a short circuit. Koh figured that 70% of PCB defects occurred early in the process, during the solder printing stage of the production line.

    The issue at hand was that it was extremely difficult to inspect every single PCB, produced at amounts ranging from several hundred to tens of thousands per day. Considering such circumstances, the typical practice in the industry was to inspect only a selected number of samples with 2D microscopes. There was another issue with the microscopes being 2D – the inspector could confirm the location of where the solder was applied, but could not measure the amount or the volume of solder that was in place.  

    Koh judged that his company could secure these electronics companies as new customers if he could come up with a 3D optical inspection equipment that automatically inspects every single product on whether the solder had been properly printed onto PCB.

    The initial reaction of his colleagues to Koh’s ambitious idea was negative. In order to properly inspect the solder printed in cone-shaped forms, a 360-degree view was necessary. But no such equipment existed anywhere in the world that could so quickly measure and inspect the products. But Koh thought from a different angle. The fact that such equipment existed nowhere was the “exact reason why we must do it”, said Koh and asked his colleagues to follow his lead.

    After more than a year of pulling all-nighters every day, Koh Young Technology finally made a breakthrough success in 2003 by developing a 3D solder paste inspection (SPI) equipment. The reaction of the customers to Koh Young’s success was simply explosive.  

    How 3D Inspection Equipment Is Used in Electronic Product Manufacturing Process

    “The process of producing the PCB by mounting electronic components such as semiconductor chips onto the board is called Surface Mount Technology (SMT). SMT process is composed of 3 stages. First, the solder is printed onto PCB. Second, the electronic components are mounted to the board. Third, there is the reflow oven process during which the board is heated,” said Koh. “How much the cost can be reduced is determined by the stage that the product defects were identified. If the engineers can identify the defects prior to the mounting stage, they can just clean the board. However, if the defects are identified after mounting the chips, the expensive chips must be taken off and destroyed.”

    The customers that experienced the benefits of cost reduction from Koh Young’s SPI equipment further asked Koh to come up with another 3D inspection equipment for the stages after solder printing. They asked for a separate equipment that could inspect first, whether the components were properly placed onto the solder before they could be put into the oven (Pre-AOI stage), and second whether the components were firmly fixed onto the circular board after coming out of the oven. Koh Young again satisfied the customer demands by developing in 2010, for the first time in the world, the 3D Automated Optical Inspection (AOI) that could identify defects in those stages.

    One global customer in Germany had actually conducted an experiment directly comparing Koh Young’s 3D AOI equipment to a typical 2D inspection equipment. The customer inspected 1,000 PCBs with each equipment and compared the results. The 2D equipment concluded that 247 PCBs out of 1,000 were defective, while Koh Young’s 3D equipment identified 23 defective PCBs. The engineers at the German company then further checked the PCBs that were identified as defective with microscopes to confirm the accuracy.

    It was found that only 18 out of 247 PCBs that were determined faulty by the 2D equipment were truly defective, while 20 out of the 23 PCBs that Koh Young’s 3D AOI equipment judged faulty were true. The customer was impressed. CEO Koh stated that “such result means that there had been so many ‘false defects’ that had categorized faultless products as defective ones,” adding, “the cost reduction impact by minimizing such ‘false defects’ is tremendous.”

By Nak-Hoon Kim and Gayung Chu; edited by Daniel Cho (