Automated Optical Inspection (AOI) is a critical process in maintaining quality control in SMT operations. Previously AOI was undertaken on a semi-automatic basis requiring a work station and individual operator adjacent to each production line. By incorporating inline AOI within the manufacturing process, not only do you reduce the requirement for highly skilled labour, but also achieve enhanced levels of quality. Assembled boards are scanned automatically, using colour CCD cameras with a resolution of 10um, and any showing defects are quarantined within the integral buffer for rework as appropriate. Defect free boards are automatically loaded into magazines, completely removing the need for any form of manual handling. The systems offer real-time analytics and reporting providing data for use in failure analysis, design for manufacture and process optimisation.