Automated optical inspection operators (AOI operators) operate automated optical inspection machines to inspect assembled printed circuit boards. They read blueprints and inspect the finished or in-process PCB assemblies for flaws or defects.
The following job titles also refer to automated optical inspection operator:
AOI machine operator
printed circuit board inspector
operator of automated optical inspection equipment
printed circuit board assembly inspector
vision system operator
automated optical inspection machines operator
PCB assembly inspector
A high school diploma is generally the minimum required to work as an automated optical inspection operator.
ISCO skill level
ISCO skill level is defined as a function of the complexity and range of tasks and duties to be performed in an occupation. It is measured on a scale from 1 to 4, with 1 the lowest level and 4 the highest, by considering:
- the nature of the work performed in an occupation in relation to the characteristic tasks and duties
- the level of formal education required for competent performance of the tasks and duties involved and
- the amount of informal on-the-job training and/or previous experience in a related occupation required for competent performance of these tasks and duties.
Automated optical inspection operator is a Skill level 2 occupation.
Automated optical inspection operator career path
These occupations, although different, require a lot of knowledge and skills similar to automated optical inspection operator.
Long term prospects
These occupations require some skills and knowledge of automated optical inspection operator. They also require other skills and knowledge, but at a higher ISCO skill level, meaning these occupations are accessible from a position of automated optical inspection operator with a significant experience and/or extensive training.
Essential knowledge and skills
This knowledge should be acquired through learning to fulfill the role of automated optical inspection operator.
- Circuit diagrams: Read and comprehend circuit diagrams showing the connections between the devices, such as power and signal connections.
- Quality assurance procedures: The procedures to inspect a product or system to ensure that it is according to specifications and requirements.
- Electronic equipment standards: The national and international quality and safety standards and regulations with regards to the use and manufacture of electronic equipment and its components, such as semiconductors and printed circuit boards.
- Printed circuit boards: Printed circuit boards (PCB) are essential components to almost all electronic devices. They consist of thin wafers or substrates on which electronic components, such as microchips, are placed. The electronic components are electrically connected through conductive tracks and pads.
- Electronics: The functioning of electronic circuit boards, processors, chips, and computer hardware and software, including programming and applications. Apply this knowledge to ensure electronic equipment runs smoothly.
- Automated optical inspection: During automated optical inspection (AOI), printed circuit boards (PCB) or surface-mount devices (SMD) are inspected by means of an automated optical inspection machine. During each automated optical inspection test, dozens of images are captured with a special camera and compared to previous assembled boards to detect any anomalies.
Essential skills and competences
These skills are necessary for the role of automated optical inspection operator.
- Use a computer: Utilise computer equipment or digital devices to facilitate quality control, data management, and communication. Follow instructions given by a computer programme, create computer files or documents.
- Monitor machine operations: Observe machine operations and evaluate product quality thereby ensuring conformity to standards.
- Inspect quality of products: Use various techniques to ensure the product quality is respecting the quality standards and specifications. Oversee defects, packaging and sendbacks of products to different production departments.
- Read assembly drawings: Read and interpret drawings listing all the parts and subassemblies of a certain product. The drawing identifies the different components and materials and provides instructions on how to assemble a product.
- Read standard blueprints: Read and comprehend standard blueprints, machine, and process drawings.
- Analyse images: Evaluate scans or images taken with imaging or optical equipment and machinery.
- Operate automated optical inspection machine: Inspect the quality of assembled printed circuit boards (PCB) or surface-mount devices (SMD) through operating the automated optical inspection machine. During each test, dozens of images are captured with a special camera and compared to previous assembled boards.
- Communicate test results to other departments: Communicate testing information such as testing schedules, samples testing statistics and test results, to the relevant departments.
- Meet deadlines: Ensure operative processes are finished at a previously agreed-upon time.
- Report defective manufacturing materials: Maintain required company records and forms in order to report any defective materials or questionable conditions of manufacturing machinery and equipment.
- Ensure conformity to specifications: Ensure that the assembled products are conform to the specifications given.
Optional knowledge and skills
This knowledge is sometimes, but not always, required for the role of automated optical inspection operator. However, mastering this knowledge allows you to have more opportunities for career development.
- Integrated circuits: Electronic components, made up from a set of electronic circuits which are placed on semiconductor material, such as silicon. Integrated circuits (IC) can hold billions of electronic components on a microscale and are one of basic components of electronic devices.
- Microelectronics: Microelectronics is a subdiscipline of electronics and relates the study, design, and manufacture of small electronic components, such as microchips.
- Ipc standards: Standards and guidelines with regards to the use and manufacture of electronics and printed circuit boards. These regulations provide rules and guidelines on topics such as general safety rules, electronic equipment manufacture, electronic equipment testing, and qualifications.
- Instrument performance elements: Elements that indicate or influence instrument performance. A first indication of the performance of the instrument is the accuracy or precision of the instrument, such as its response time, resolution, and range. A second indication of performance is the technical performance of the instrument, such as its power level, the electromagnetic interference, and transient voltages. A third indication of performance are environmental factors that can influence instrument performance, such as humidity, operating temperatures, or dust.
- Through-hole technology: Through-hole technology or THT is a method of mounting electronic components onto the printed circuit board through inserting leads on the components into holes in the circuit board and soldering the components to the board. THT components attached in this way are usually larger than SMT components, such as capacitors or coils.
- Waste removal regulations: Know and understand the regulations and legal agreements governing the performance of waste removal activities.
- Surface-mount technology: Surface-mount technology or SMT is a method where the electronic components are placed on the surface of the printed circuit board. SMT components attached in this way are usually sensitive, small components such as resistors, transistors, diodes, and integrated circuits.
- Optical engineering: Subdiscipline of engineering that deals with the development of optical instruments and applications, such as telescopes, microscopes, lenses, lasers, fibre optic communication, and imaging systems.
- Semiconductors: Semiconductors are essential components of electronic circuits and contain properties of both insulators, such as glass, and conductors, such as copper. Most semiconductors are crystals made of silicon or germanium. By introducing other elements in the crystal through doping, the crystals turn into semiconductors. Depending on the amount of electrons created by the doping process, the crystals turn into N-type semiconductors, or P-type semiconductors.
Optional skills and competences
These skills and competences are sometimes, but not always, required for the role of automated optical inspection operator. However, mastering these skills and competences allows you to have more opportunities for career development.
- Resolve equipment malfunctions: Identify, report and repair equipment damage and malfunctions; communicate with field representatives and manufacturers to obtain repair and replacement components.
- Remove defective products: Remove defective materials from the production line.
- Research equipment needs: Research equipment or required machine parts; compare sources, prices and delivery times.
- Maintain test equipment: Maintain equipment used for testing the quality of systems and products.
- Check system parameters against reference values: Make sure that the measurable factors which define the operation of a system correspond to the predetermined norms.
- Liaise with engineers: Collaborate with engineers to ensure common understanding and discuss product design, development and improvement.
- Send faulty equipment back to assembly line: Send equipment that didn’t pass inspection back to the assembly line for re-assembly.
- Keep records of work progress: Maintain records of the progress of the work including time, defects, malfunctions, etc.
- Write inspection reports: Write the results and conclusions of the inspection in a clear and intelligible way. Log the inspection’s processes such as contact, outcome, and steps taken.
- Write records for repairs: Write records of the repairs and maintenance interventions undertaken, of parts and materials used, and other repair facts.
ISCO group and title
7543 – Product graders and testers (excluding foods and beverages)