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.
Up until now, two primary methods of circuit board depaneling have dominated the market: Mechanical depaneling for durable boards and CO2 lasers for those with more precise needs. But as technology advanced, current circuit board designs have failed to keep up with the increasing demands of various industries. Thankfully, flexible circuit boards have answered the call and designers are flocking to them for the versatility, weight and size reduction, and intricacy that square, rigid boards lack.
Like many aspects of the electronics industry, the printed circuit board manufacturing process is hyper-competitive. Clients demand the highest quality products, done quickly, and at the absolute minimum price. This incentivizes some manufacturers to cut corners to reduce their costs and remain competitive. However, this is the wrong approach and will only serve to alienate customers and hurt the business in the long run. Rather, manufacturers can realize better results by improving every step in their manufacturing process to be more streamlined and efficient. By using better tools, products, and saving costs whenever possible, PCB manufacturers can provide their clients with quality products for less. Here are a few ways to begin this process.
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.