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What Is PCB Panelization?

Views: 1234 Author: Site Editor Publish Time: 2024-06-15 Origin: Site

PCB panelization is a crucial process in electronics manufacturing. By grouping multiple individual PCBs onto a single larger board, manufacturers can streamline production, reduce costs, and enhance efficiency. This guide explores the benefits, methods, design considerations, and best practices for effective PCB panelization.

What is PCB Panelization?

PCB panelization is the process of combining several individual printed circuit boards (PCBs) into a single larger board, known as a panel, during manufacturing. This technique allows for multiple boards to be processed simultaneously, significantly improving throughput and simplifying handling during assembly. Historically, PCB panelization evolved as manufacturers sought ways to increase production efficiency and reduce costs. Today, it is a standard practice in the electronics industry, underpinning the mass production of everything from consumer electronics to advanced industrial equipment.

Benefits of PCB Panelization

Efficiency in Manufacturing

Panelization allows multiple boards to be processed at once, saving time and reducing handling efforts. This bulk processing capability is particularly beneficial in large-scale production runs, where time and labor savings can be substantial.

Cost Reduction

PCB panelization can improve the utilization rate of the board, thereby reducing production costs. Since the products of each industry are different, the size of the applied pcb circuit boards is also different. Some of the PCB circuit boards in the electronics industry are relatively small, and are often designed in a way of imposition, which not only facilitates the processing and production of electronic factories, but also It can also reduce the waste of the board and reduce the cost.

Improved Handling and Transport

Panels are easier to handle and transport compared to individual PCBs, reducing the risk of damage during these processes. This enhanced durability is crucial in maintaining the integrity of the boards throughout the manufacturing cycle.

Enhanced Assembly Process

The ability to assemble components on multiple boards simultaneously makes the process more efficient. This simultaneous assembly not only speeds up production but also ensures consistency and uniformity across all boards in a panel.

Methods of PCB Panelization

V-Scoring (V-Grooving)

V-Scoring involves cutting shallow V-shaped grooves along the edges of each PCB within the panel. This technique allows the boards to be easily snapped apart after assembly. Advantages of V-Scoring include simplicity and cost-effectiveness, while disadvantages may include limited design flexibility and potential stress on the boards during separation.

Tab Routing (Tab Breakaway)

Tab Routing uses tabs with or without perforations to hold individual PCBs together. After assembly, the tabs are broken or cut to separate the boards. This method offers greater design flexibility and strength, making it suitable for complex or delicate PCBs. However, it can be more time-consuming and may leave rough edges that require additional finishing.

Combination of V-Scoring and Tab Routing

For complex designs, a combination of V-Scoring and Tab Routing can optimize the panelization process. This hybrid approach leverages the strengths of both methods, providing a balance of flexibility, strength, and ease of separation.

Design Considerations for Tab Routing Panelization

Tab routing panelization tends to be preferred in applications where components are placed very close to or over an edge. It’s also preferable for PCBs made in non-rectangular shapes like circles. However, because the tabs are the breaking points for these arrays, several design choices must be made to ensure the strength and functionality of these arrays, especially during the breakout process. Some of these considerations include:

  • Clearance: Because of the stress placed at the breakaway points and the potential for splintering, keep components and traces at least 1/8 inches away from the tabs. Surface-mounted multilayer ceramic chip capacitors must be kept further away, at least ¼ inches from the tabs to ensure minimal interference.

  • Knock-Outs: If your PCB design includes holes greater than 0.6 inches, a placeholder, or knockout, may be required to prevent issues during the wave-solder process. Knockouts are particularly important in the middle of an array, where PCB arrays are more likely to sag. Smaller rectangular knockouts can have a wide, five-hole perforated tab on a single edge, while larger, more irregular shaped knockouts may require multiple three-hole perforated tabs.

  • Tab Placement:Tab placement is important to maintain the integrity of your PCB array design. Tabs must be placed every 2 to 3 inches along a board edge for five-hole perforated tabs, and every 1.5 inches for three-hole perforated tabs. Tabs should be placed as close to the edge of a board as possible to avoid curving at the edge of a board, but should not be placed under overhanging components. The designer must also ensure the tabs are big enough to support the boards, but not big enough to interfere with the breakout process.

  • Perforation Placement: If you want to avoid protrusions from the side of your board, never place tab perforations down the center of a tab – instead, run them close to the edge of the PCB, or on each side of the tab if placed between two PCBs.

  • Array Arrangement:When arranging PCBs, be sure all tabs broken at one time are collinear so that there are consistent break-lines throughout the array. If break-lines aren’t consistent, some tabs will break while others are simply pulled perpendicularly to the board surface, which can tear the lamination.

Looking for a professional PCB and PCBA supplier?

Victory is a professional PCB manufacturer which established in 2005. Adhere to be a specialized manufacturer for multiply species, small to medium series, and quick turn production, we insist to provide 3H(high quality, high precision and high density) PCBs for our customers.

With a total plant area 30,000sq.m, our monthly capability can be 60,000sq.m with 3000 parts.  With advanced PCB production and testing equipments, and well-found quality system to monitor throughout the whole manufacturing to assembly, we can ensure the stable and excellent quality of the production process to meet customers' requirements. If you are looking for a reliable and professional supplier of PCB, please contact us for more information.

About The Author

I am the Engineering and Sales supervisor working in Victorypcb from 2015. During the past years, I have been reponsible for all oversea exhibitions like USA(IPC Apex Expo), Europe(Munich Electronica) and Japan(Nepcon) etc. Our factory founded in 2005, now have 1521 clients all over the world and occupied very good reputation among them.

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