Better cell phones with smart math: Camera module alignment assembly, test automation
AEi: Advanced sensor assembly, testing
Active alignment measures key performance attributes in a productduring manufacturing, which enables dynamic adjustments of themanufacturing process to create products with optimal performance. Thisdiffers from passive alignment, AEi says, where components align to eachother based on the accuracy and precision of mechanical fixturing,tooling, and motion stages in the manufacturing process.
AEi CMAT (Camera Module Align, Assembly and Test) platform isdesigned specifically for precision assembly and testing of digitalcamera modules and sensors. AEi says it is unique with use of AEi’s 5degree of freedom active alignment rather than the single degree offreedom alignment typically used. This provides significant improvementsin performance for the camera modules produced as end-customerexpectations of image quality continue to increase. Further, the minimumtechnical requirements of some camera and sensor applications simplycannot be met without 5 degree of freedom alignment. CMAT also providessubstantial increases in manufacturing yield.
Automation Engineering Incorporated (AEi), a global supplier of high precision automation systems, uses advanced algorithms in its CMAT (Camera Module Align, Assembly, and Test) flexible automation platform to speed time to market for ultra-small format mobile phone cameras. The algorithms (smart math) combined with engineering design helps the AEi CMAT to support customers’ alignment, testing and assembly of digital camera modules and sensors.
Manufacturers can use CMAT as a common platform for both new product development and full-scale production deployment. With its five degree of freedom active alignment capability, AEi’s CMAT produces ultra-small format cameras with sensor resolutions up to 16 megapixels. AEi is showing CMAT in booth 1J32, Hall 1 at Mobile World Congress, Feb. 15-18, Fira de Barcelona, Barcelona Spain.
According to AEi chief operating officer, Justin Roe, "Until recently, the limiting factor to better mobile phone camera quality was the number of light sensitive cells on an image sensor – otherwise known as the pixel count. Now, with higher pixel count CMOS sensors and advanced mobile phone control logic and software, the gating factor for improving mobile camera images is the assembly process.
To efficiently produce high-quality ultra-small format mobile phone cameras, alignment is critical to within just a few microns of the focal plane. CMAT optimizes the alignment and assembly of ultra-small format mobile phone cameras for every single sensor-lens pair depending on its particular optical characteristics using AEi’s advanced active alignment algorithms.
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"Additionally, many customers are using CMAT stations in new product development to concurrently create new products and develop manufacturing processes — increasing product performance and lowering cost. They can then quickly transfer the control sequence logic and fixturing used in development across additional CMAT stations for camera module production ramp up – even if production is in another facility on the other side of the world," said Roe.
– Edited by Mark T. Hoske, editor in chief, Control Engineering , www.controleng.com.