Depaneling an array of assembled circuit boards can be a huge time and money saver for the PCB manufacturing industry. Printed circuit boards can be lumped together en masse in panels and separated after all of the individual boards on the panel have been populated with components. The process of depaneling can be complex because of the massive amount of circuit boards types. With so many things to keep track of, there can be complications, but they can be easily avoided with proper data analysis and preparation.
Depaneling is a process used by PCB manufacturers to unpackage shipments of circuit boards without damaging them. Manufacturers can save a lot of time and money in the long run if this process is done effectively. Depaneling can be a complicated process sometimes, as there are many different types of circuit boards and methods of depaneling. This can lead to unnecessary stress which will make the whole process a lot less fun than it needs to be. Here are some of the different types of depaneling and how to avoid stress during each one.
How will the heat generated by a laser beam affect my board and components during depaneling? Will it melt edge components into an ugly heap? Or demolish thin flex materials into an unrecognizable blob? We get these worst case scenario questions all the time from PCB designers and manufacturers who have relied on mechanical routers, manual cutters, and other traditional depaneling machines throughout their careers. So it is no wonder that there’s an ongoing concern about a laser’s heat affective zone (HAZ), and the thermal effect on edge components in particular.
It seems like there are more myths about UV laser depaneling than there are about the Loch Ness Monster. But unlike old Nessie, UV laser depaneling myths are much easier to debunk.
“…There will be a rush charge for that.”
“…We should have that for you in two days.”
“…We’re a little backed up right now, but we’ll get to it ASAP.”
If you’re stuck outsourcing your prototype PCB designs, you’ve probably heard these excuses for as long as you can remember. Fortunately, now you have another option.
Fabricating single layer prototype PCBs is fairly straightforward and as a result, more and more organizations are bringing this process in-house. Quicker turnaround times, increased flexibility, and the cost savings compared to outsourcing make a compelling argument. But what happens if multi-layer prototypes are needed? The good news is that it is now possible to process advanced multi-layer designs in house as well. Best of all, the same benefits of bringing single layer fabrication in-house still apply – and when you are processing designs with up to 8-layers the payoff is exponentially bigger.