Interview with Dr. Subodh Kulkarni CyberOptics’ President and CEO

Subodh Kulkarni CyberOptics CEO


Founded in 1984, CyberOptics Corporation is a leading provider of sensors and inspection systems that provide process yield and through put improvement solutions for the global electronics assembly and ‘semi-conductor’ capital equipment markets. The company’s products are deployed on production lines that manufacture surface mount technology circuit boards and semi-conductor process equipment. Through internal development and acquisitions, CyberOptics is strategically repositioning itself to become a global leader in high-precision 3D sensors. Headquartered in Minneapolis, Minnesota, CyberOptics conducts worldwide operations through facilities in North America, Asia and Europe. Our editors recently spoke with Dr. Kulkarni to find out more about the company’s success at the recently held SMTA International exhibition.

Q. We understand that the company launched its newest automated conformal coating inspection machine, CX150i,at this exhibition. Can you briefly explain the benefits this machine provides as well as the needs that it meets by performing automated inspection of conformal coating? Who do you envision using this system?

ACyberOptics’  CX150i is a simple-to-use and extremely fast conformal coating inspection system, leveraging our proven and well-accepted QX150i AOI product platform. Just like QX150i, CX150i uses SIM/AI2 (Strobed InspectionModule/ Autonomous Image Interpretation) technology with UV illumination in addition to white light to enable detection of the blue dye in conformal coatings. Our unique technologies enable fast set-up, ease of use, zero escapes and very low false call rates. Customers needing to inspect their conformal coated  products will use the CX150i, for example, companies building PCBs for automotive and smartphone industries. Also, companies that currently are performing visual inspection of conformal coated boards will gain tremendous quality and cost benefits by switching to automated inspection as it is faster, more reliable and significantly reduces operator costs.

QWhy did you choose SMTA International for the launch of CX150i?

AThe US is one of the primary markets with a need for conformal coating inspection,  so launching the product at a premier US show seemed to be a natural choice.

QWe saw that CyberOptics also exhibited the multi-award winning SE600 3D SPI system from the SPI Line during SMTA International. What makes this machine the recipient of so many industry awards? What does it provide that competing machines cannot?

ACyberOptics’ SE600 3D SPI is the most accurate SPI system today, measuring the true height and volume of the solder paste as certified by NIST standards. No other SPI system today can claim the accuracy that the SE600 can. The highest accuracy, coupled with an easy-to-use, state-of-the-art software garners significant attention, resulting in multiple awards.

QCyberOptics was also included in the SMTA International Tech Tours, a new feature of the exhibition. In your opinion, how did that go? Did you feel it was beneficial to be included?

AThe SMTA International Tech Tours offered a great platform to interact with a larger audience. It gave us an excellent opportunity to share our company vision, demonstrate  our latest products and field questions from the many interested attendees.

QIn terms of other new products, we read in the news recently that CyberOptics has developed new, unmatched 3D sensing capabilities that incorporate multi-reflection suppression (MRS) technology and highly sophisticated 3D algorithms. Can you tell us a little more about this new technology and when we can expecthe official launch?

A. MRS sensor technology is a novel, innovative 3D sensing technology. The significantly higher accuracy and speed enabled by MRS as compared to any other 3D sensing technology is due to the architecturally superior hardware configuration providing parallel acquisition of multiple images while sophisticated software algorithms suppress multiple reflections and fuse those images. This results in a precise 3D representation. We continue to drive innovation that delivers even more value to our customers worldwide in terms of process, quality and operational efficiency improvement in various manufacturing environments.  We plan to incorporate this breakthrough 3D sensing technology in our 3D AOI product SQ3000 to be launched at the end of 2014, and use it in other applications such as semiconductor inspection and metrology measurements.

QFor the past 30 years, the company has focused on optical technology advancements, but now is changing to 3D sensing. What is driving this change?

AAt CyberOptics, we continue to innovate in the area of intelligent inspection and sensing solutions. We are still using optical technology for many of our inspection and sensing solutions and, therefore, continue to advance optical technology to enable these solutions. However, the focus is more on customer needs. As chips and components continue to shrink, customers need inspection solutions to detect defects, and 3D sensing is needed for many sophisticated applications. Customers need to make sure that they have zero escapes and lowest possible false call rates at highest possible speeds. Our focus on 3D sensing, as opposed to optical technology, reflects the changing needs of customers.

by: SMT Today Staff Editor

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