What is AOI?

Automated Optical InspectionAutomated Optical Inspection (AOI) is the automated visual inspection of a Printed Circuit Board (PCB) in which a camera is used to scan the board in extremely fine detail to check for any defects or failures.

Why is AOI so important?

In today’s world PCBs are getting smaller and are also becoming more complex. Even a relatively simple board can be made up of literally thousands of soldered joints, meaning it simply isn't practical or viable to attempt to inspect manually. A crucial part of the manufacturing process is detecting and correcting any manufacturing defects. Using an AOI enables you to measure and monitor the quality of your PCB production and to correct them at any strategic point in the process flow. The sooner that faults are spotted in the production process, the easier and more cost efficient it is to rectify them to avoid replicating the same problem on a larger scale.


The AOI process delivers the real-time inspection required by an EMS as well as providing empirical data that is invaluable for process control and refinement. An AOI system uses a number of strategies to analyse whether a PCB has been produced to the required standard. Pattern matching algorithms keep a record of both successful and unsuccessful PCB assemblies. By constantly reviewing and analysing fault data this minimises the risk of future rework and most importantly it increases the efficiency of production. AOI has an invaluable role to play in speeding up the process of PCB production in ensuring extreme precision to catch even the smallest of defects as well as minimising the potential for time-consuming and costly reworking.

Looking for an inspection solution for your PCB production? Contact Hawker Richardson today to discover how our AOI range can help you achieve maximised results in your production line.