The most cost-effective method of producing circuit boards is by printing multiple circuit boards onto a panel. These panels must then be separated into the smaller, individual boards the customer ordered. This process is called depaneling. Years ago, this process was painstakingly done by hand, but as circuit boards got thinner and more fragile, these manual methods quickly became impossible and unaffordable. Today, there are a slew of different technologies available to depanel circuit boards, each with their strengths and weaknesses. In this article, we will explore those differences.
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.