Printed circuit boards (PCBs) need to be kept secure during the manufacturing, shipping, and assembly processes to avoid damaging the unit.
Panelizing PCBs is a way to safeguard their integrity.
In addition, panelization allows PCB manufacturers to assemble multiple boards simultaneously, reducing costs and production time. Panelization must be done properly so that PCBs will not be broken or otherwise damaged during separation.
Following is a discussion of PCB panelization methods, as well as some challenges that may be encountered.
Panelization, also known as an array format, is used to process multiple boards while keeping them together in a single substrate. The process allows PCB manufacturers to maintain high quality while reducing costs.
The two most common methods of panelization are V-groove panelization and breakaway tab, or tab-route panelization.
V-Groove Panelization – This method involves cutting 1/3 the thickness of the board from both the top and bottom with a 30- to 45-degree circular cutting blade. The remaining board is quite sturdy and is depaneled by machine to avoid stress on the PCB. V-Groove panelization is used where there are no overhanging components.
Tab-Route Panelization This method permits placing PCBs of the same or different designs together. Space is left between the perforated tabs and the traces and surface mounted parts. This reduces surface stress and avoids splintering.
Depanelization is simply removing individual PCBs from the array. Several different methods are used to depanel PCB arrays:
Panelization presents a number of challenges in several areas:
Taking the above methods and challenges into consideration, an experienced PCB manufacturer can avoid problems before they occur. Working with a preeminent printed circuit board supplier like PCB Solutions will ensure that your panelized PCB works as it should, is cost effective, and meets the highest industry standards.