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Device and method for inspecting Regatta H* server wire bundles for defects Disclosure Number: IPCOM000011968D
Original Publication Date: 2003-Mar-27
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2003-Mar-27
Document File: 7 page(s) / 294K

Publishing Venue



The Regatta H* Interposer Automated Inspection Device (RHIAID) is a machine developed to replace the visual inspection test process on the MCM and L3 modules in the Regatta H server system with an automated one. By replacing the visual inspection process of the MCM and L3 modules in this system with an automated one, IBM* will realize a significant labor cost savings. An additional savings on top of the labor costs could be realized due to less defective component escapes (thus, less service replacement costs on damaged components.) In addition to these cost savings, the test process will be faster and more consistent than the current one.

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Device and method for inspecting Regatta H* server wire bundles for defects

  The Regatta H* server system uses the latest in server connection technology. Rather than using pins as connectors, the Regatta H system uses small balls of wire, called buttons, to transfer electrical current. These connectors allow a denser connection to be manufactured, thus transferring a larger electrical current for faster processing speeds. Each Regatta H system contains two different types of modules, an MCM and an L3. The buttons on these modules are less than 1 mm in diameter, with each button being 1 mm apart, and are arranged in four different 36 x 36 matrices on each MCM (5184 buttons) and a 30 x 40 matrix on each L3 (1247 buttons). These connectors work well; however, they are more sensitive to damage and contamination than traditional connectors.

  The wire used in the buttons is gold plated molybdenum. Molybdenum is used because it is able to conduct large amounts of electricity due to its high melting point.

  A definition of molybdenum is: "a metallic element that resembles chromium and tungsten in many properties, is used especially in strengthening and hardening steel, and is a trace element in plant and animal metabolism" [*]

    Due to molybdenum's high melting point, major problems can occur when there is a short in the connector. When a piece of wire becomes loose and constructs a


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bridge between two buttons, it causes a short in the connection. Rather than "popping" like a traditional short, the wire continues to conduct electricity while increasing in temperature until the wire bursts into flames. If the flame is not caught immediately, the flame could possibly spread to the entire system. Even if the short is caught early enough to save the system, a complete rework is required and modules will be lost.

  Therefore, to avoid getting a short in the modules, each one is manually inspected for loose wires and contamination. Any wire that protrudes outside of the button's counter bore must be reworked to position the wire back inside the hole diameter. Currently, the buttons are being inspected manually by the operators installing them into the Regatta H system. The operators use a computer, a high-power lens, and a ring light to zoom in on the buttons and inspect each one for defects. The workers manually move each module under the lens while watching the buttons pass by on the computer screen. The inspection is done at 10x, and when damage is found, the workers must zoom into 30x and fix each problem. Once the damage is corrected, the workers must again zoom back out to 10x to continue the inspection. This is a slow, painstaking process for the workers, and is highly susceptible to human error. This process is also based on human judgment and can vary widely from operator to operator. The Regatta H Interposer Automated Inspection Device (RHIAID) takes away the manual piec...