FDA Chooses Glenbrook X-ray

Glenbrook Technologies is honored to announce that the FDA has chosen Glenbrook’s “JewelBox” real-time x-ray inspection system for their advanced analytical laboratory in Silver Spring, MD.  The applications will include the study and analysis of  medical devices.

Glenbrook’s x-ray systems, employing Glenbrook’s patented magnification fluoroscopy technology, have also been chosen by The Center for Disease Control and the CIA.

FDA Building

FDA Guidelines for Employing X-ray Inspection in Medical Device Development

Over the years the FDA has issued a number of documents that provide guidance for industry and FDA staff, with sections that address the application of x-ray inspection procedures in the testing of medical devices.

The particular focus of these documents has been on cardiovascular devices that include intravascular stents and associated delivery systems.

You can request this report by contacting: gzweig@glenbrooktech.com

Counterfeit Electronic Component Detection: Implementation of x-ray inspection in conformity with DoD requirements

Although x-ray inspection is recognized as one of the tools for determining authenticity of an electronic component, it has not been acknowledged in any of the present Component Authenticity Programs or standards that for military applications, the Department of Defense has very specific image resolution requirements for the x-ray inspection of “Microcircuits”. These requirements are spelled out in MIL-STD-883H (26February2010) and MIL-STD-750-2 (3 January 2012) with reference to ASTM E801 and ASTM E1000.

Although these standards were originally written for “radiography” mode, that is, film based x-ray imaging; these standards also have provisions for “radioscopy” meaning real-time or fluoroscopic imaging. Most of the commercial x-ray inspection systems that are presently being promoted for this application are real-time but many do not comply with these MIL-STD requirements.

The basic tenant of these requirements is that a radiographic “image quality standard” as prescribed in ASTM E801, be recorded at the start and end of the x-ray inspection of each lot of electronic components. The “ IQS” image must demonstrate that the smallest detail of the component such as wires, wire bonds, die attachment voids, etc. are detectable with the x-ray system being used.

Implementation of x-ray inspection in conformity with DoD requirements


QPI Group and Netronics of The Netherlands purchases Glenbrook Jewel Box 70T real time x-ray inspection systems.

QPI Group and Netronics of The Netherlands

Steven Zweig, VP of Sales of Glenbrook Technologies and members of QPI Group and Netronics.


Glenbrook, Testsolve and Netronics

Graham Penson of Testsolve Ltd. with Martin Schriek of Netronics.

Testsolve is the Glenbrook European demonstration facility for Glenbrook x-ray systems.

Understanding the Counterfeit Components Problem

By Steve Zweig

About four years ago, a component distributor called me and asked about using our x-ray inspection equipment to detect counterfeit components. At the time, I thought this was an isolated incident.

I had no idea that the counterfeit components problem would reach epidemic proportions.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce have reported that the incidence of counterfeit components has increased dramatically over the past decade. One estimate values the worldwide market for counterfeit electronics at up to $10 billion annually and China, particularly the Shenzhen area, is named as the source of approximately 70 percent of those counterfeits.

My interest in this problem grew as component distributors began buying and using Glenbrook’s  x-ray inspection equipment to build image libraries of known good parts. They checked images of incoming parts (that had a history of being counterfeited) against the images in their libraries to verify that the incoming parts were not counterfeits.

I learned from Glenbrook’s customers that most recycled parts come from electronic scrap, which serves as raw material to counterfeiters. Workers remove parts with their bare hands or with basic tools, with no protection from contamination and no ESD precautions. As a result, parts labeled “recycled” aren’t always guaranteed to work properly.

The parts are then sanded to remove the original marking and then blacktopped and remarked. Blacktopping is the application of a black filler to the top surface of a part. Afterwards, the part may be marked with a different name, logo and part number. For example, an original Xilinx part might be remarked as a Motorola part.

I wanted to know exactly how these counterfeit parts make their way into the inventories of reputable companies, so I decided to track the parts back to their source to see how easily counterfeit or bad products can be bought and circulated into the component distributor channel. To do this, I worked with several of Glenbrook’s customers to develop a list of parts that have a history of being counterfeited. The part numbers were AD7871JP, CD4000BE, MM74C089, LH5164A and LM565CN.

Then, working with Glenbrook’s Hong Kong associate, I had one of the office’s Chinese engineers go to the Shenzhen market with the list of parts given to me by our customers. At the market, the engineer bought five to ten of each lot of components, selecting both new and recycled parts.

I then used Glenbrook’s JewelBox 70T real-time x-ray inspection system (which has up to 1,200x magnification) to inspect and capture images of each part. Then, Chase Components, a distributor that is also a Glenbrook customer, used their expertise in visual inspection to help with identifying the counterfeit or bad parts.

What I learned is that while some defects can be spotted visually, others can only be identified with the use of x-ray inspection. A distributor that wants to provide its customers with good components must use both techniques. If you’d like a copy of this study or if you have any questions about the study, my methodology or the JewelBox 70T real-time inspection system, feel free to email me at szweig@glenbrooktech.com.

Counterfeit Electronic Parts