AI Into PCB AOI Machines, Delvitech has a 25 Million Euros Development Plan: Roberto Gatti

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  • Delvitech recently exhibited its AOI machine based on AI at the India Technology Week
  • The company sees India as a strategic market
  • It also has a plans to expand in Singapore, Japan and China
Roberto Gatti, CEO, Delvitech,SA

Roberto Gatti, CEO, Delvitech, in an exclusive conversation with Electronics B2B, shed light on how the company is implementing AI into machines used for PCB manufacturing. Gatti informed that the company has already charted out a 25 million euros development plan.

Incepted in 2018, Delvitech designs, produces and implements automatic optical inspection (AOI) systems for assembled printed circuit boards (PCB). The Switzerland-headquarted company has recently appointed T.V.Thomas as head of its Asia operations.

Excerpts from the interaction

EB – What was the inspiration behind creating an AI machine for testing PCBs?

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Ans – Delvitech is a new company. It was clear to us that in the market there are especially important and respectable competitors with an extraordinarily strong market share. It also was clear that all the systems were and are still fighting one against the others with microns of precision and resolution and with several different types of systems for the customer’s needs.

Delvitech is running in the opposite direction. This includes one system, flexible, scalable, easy to use, with an extremely high error classification capability. The question we faced was “How to obtain all of this?”

There was only one way. Use as much as possible AI technologies applied to the heart of image processing. Customers need to have a huge freedom in using an AOI. This was the inception point of the machine that Delvitech is proud of today.

EB – Can you please provide us with an overview of your D.ONE machine?

Ans – We can describe the D.One machine by Delvitech as a cost-effective post-solder AOI solution. It has been designed to deliver excellent results for improving the product quality and boosting productivity. In fact, its aim is to ensure superior accuracy and precision with minimized false calls.

Our strength is the advanced optical head: it gives the highest performance in resolution, detection and inspection speed utilizing five digital cameras. Let me say that Delvitech technology allows us to obtain different benefits.

First, our D.ONE has a relevant storage capacity. The integrated library system allows us to manage an important amount of data, avoiding all the problems generated by a big quantity of pictures.

Secondly, the library is completely customizable: the machine works using the information from a complete data set, but every client can add different elements to the library. In addition, thanks to D.ONE Analysis and D.ONE Report, it is possible to use the repair and programming data stored to generate reports. D.ONE Core offers two different inspection methods: TBA (Threshold Based Analysis) and MLBA (Machine Learning Based Analysis).

The advantage of having both is reflected in the highest detection with the lowest false calls. But our diamond tip is without any doubt artificial intelligence. We use the most advanced neural network techniques to give the best outcome in the error classification. All the upcoming developments will progressively enhance the usage of deep learning techniques to allow the system to be self-programmed and give nearly absolute results. In the next few months we will communicate some important news. For this reason, I invite the readers to stay informed through our social media.

EB – Are Delvitech machines any different from traditional 3D AOI machines?

Ans – Compared to the classical 3D AOI machine, which currently dominates the market, our machine is 3D but different. This is due to unique and innovative features. For example, let us just consider that the acquired images come from 5 cameras (1 top and 4 sides) placed in different angles.

Through the acquired pictures (without any rendering) the algorithms are capable to work on 3D for the error classification. Obviously, these algorithms must have specific features and the cameras, and the machine must have an extremely high image acquisition speed. In addition, we cannot forget the use of artificial intelligence to improve all our performance and to allow our unique inspection capabilities.

We use artificial intelligence to obtain the best performance possible in terms of detectability programming time and false calls. Our arrival point is the conversation of the AOI into an inline black box. The setup is implemented onsite, thanks to machine learning algorithms, which are able to take standard information desired by the client.

EB – Is there a price difference too?

Ans – The D.ONE system is in line with the cost of the high-end competitors. The difference is not coming from the cost of the system, the difference is coming from the benefit of its usage.

The difference will increase dramatically once the new technology connected to the D.ONE system will be introduced in the market. We are talking about two digits percentages difference, so a huge amount of money

EB – How can it benefit the Indian PCB industry?

Ans – The Indian industry can benefit from the use of this technology in several different aspects including

  • No more need to do very complex investments with very different systems in production to
  • cover different processes
  • No more need of extreme AOI experts to do AOI programming
  • No more need of long time for programming
  • No more need of complete tuning of programs to get better performances

Huge impact on costs due to the yield of the line that will benefit from the D.ONE system and from the new technology, D.ONE embedded that Delvitech will shortly introduce to the market.

EB – How are you managing the Indian market right now? Do you cooperate with agents/distributors/salesmen?

Ans – As for now, we are managing the Asian market through our Head of Asia Operations, Mr.T.V. Thomas. Through him, we have signed a distributor contract with Sanson Technologies based in Bengaluru, thanks to which we can offer both commercial and technical support to our customers.

T.V.Thomas, Head-Asia Operations, Delvitech,SA

They can benefit from the presence of local distributors, or from the direct support of the Swiss headquarters. This is because we want to guarantee the best international support possible to our international customers. Delvitech is also organising training for Sanson engineers to keep them up to date with Delvitech technologies.

As for marketing, it is managed directly from the headquarters in Switzerland. Marketing drives our sales strategies in the world and for this reason we have a high consideration of this activity. For this reason, we have decided to go to the market with a unique tone of voice in the world, which is defined by the headquarters for its strategic importance.

EB – Including India, what are Delvitech’s plans in the Asian market?

Ans – We consider the Indian market a strategic market for Delvitech but at the same time only our starting point. Delvitech wants to more and more establish itself as a multinational company investing in the Asian market.

In recent years, for the ASEAN countries, the manufacturing sector has been (and will increasingly be), one of the main drivers for the economic growth in the region and Delvitech must be ready. We are planning to establish a new branch office in Singapore and Hong Kong to expand, and then into China.

EB – Mr. Gatti, what is your role within the company?

Ans – I have a technical and commercial background in the electronics field, where I have maturated more than 30 years of experience in various activities: I started out as a support engineer for CAD, CAM, and CIM systems, then I became product manager, then sales manager, and finally I started managing my own companies, in Italy, in Germany, in Tunisia, in the US and in Asia. Since 2018 I have been CEO of Delvitech and chairman of its board of Directors.

EB – As you said Delvitech just started, how was the idea born?

Ans – Delvitech was born in 2018 based on a personal business idea, which was to create excellence in the inspection industry, funding a company in the field of AOI systems for PCB (Printed Circuit Boards). But the electronic sector is just a starting point since we are planning to expand into the food and pharma market.

At first, Delvitech was supposed to be opened in Virginia (US), but then together with the technological investors, it has been decided to open Delvitech SA in Tessin, Switzerland.

We started in October 2018 with TiVenture (Banca Stato Foundation) and with a family office based in Lugano as main investors. Delvitech is a young company specialised in cutting edge technologies, with the support of Swiss partners and universities specialised in AI, new technologies, and applied science. Our main goal as of today is to develop systems with high inspection performance, but most of all with an entirely AI-based technology.

EB – What is your core business then?

Ans – Our core business is to produce machines that can be used in the field of optical inspection for the assembly of electronic boards, in the stages of post-paste, post-placement, post-reflow, post-wave and post-selective soldering.

In the future, our business will also involve the development of optical inspection systems to be used in the pharma and food markets. Delvitech will be an increasingly technology-oriented company with only final assembly in house operations in our headquarters here in Switzerland.

EB – Is there a growth plan charted out?

Ans – Yes, of course! First, we go to the market with the release of the Head+, which consists of an especially important and further enhanced upgrade. But the breaking news, especially for the Indian market, will be the self-programming, a software totally based on AI and totally developed by Delvitech and its partner IDSIA.

The self-programming will allow a completely automated optical inspection with an important reduction of time. It will reduce the programming time by 80 per cent. In addition to reducing the optical inspection time, what is crucial is that common errors that occur with manual programming will no longer be possible.

We have a 25 million euros development plan, which does not only include the release of the Head+ and self-programming, but also the development of the D. ONE and a brand-new technology for the post-placement which will be announced in November this year and officially installed by some customers starting from the second half of next year.

Story by Mukul Yudhveer Singh

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