PCB is a broad field. Thanks to the improvement in technology, manufacturers can now make minute components. These components go into various parts of the circuit board. In PCB manufacturing, one vital area customers should note is PCB Panel Size.
In PCB manufacturing, you cut many small sheets from a large sheet of material known as a panel. This article aims to provide guidelines for engineers and designers. And it will help you populate the Bill Of Materials (BOM) of a PCB to get fitted onto aboard. PCB assembly effectively.
PCB designers and engineers need to understand what panelization entails. In other words, it is one of the basics and essentials of WellPCB. We will provide you with a one-stop service and high-quality products. You can send us the documents you need to make and get a quote immediately! What are we waiting for? We have ten years of PCB manufacturing. As a result, good knowledge will help you produce efficient board designs.
An optimized panel layout saves costs. Optimizing panel utilization is the responsibility of the engineers and designers. However, it would help if you had a design spec to help with the process. With this guide, we will teach you how to design your PCB. Also, you will get optimal panel utilization with all your outputs.
Here is a video on the PCB panelization method.
Understanding What PCB Panel Means?
PCB panel size helps engineers increase the throughput of Surface Mount Technology (SMT) lines and Printed Circuit Boards (PCB). Engineers and designers design PCB such that it accommodates a lot of small PCBs in the final output. It is called a PCB panel.
PCB panelization involves the mass production of smaller boards. These boards will link together to form a single array. As a result of this, movement through the assembly line is easy. The engineer can then remove each separate board or depanelize it before installing it into the final product.
With PCB panelization, designers can estimate the total number of boards that will fit a panel. Also, there is an opportunity to make changes. These dimensional changes indeed help manage costs and improve panel utilization.
Standard PCB Panel Size
In designing PCB, you need to get many things right. The standard board thickness value must be correct. The board’s design should also target standard panel sizes. Here are some common standard panel sizes:
- 18 by 24 inches
- 18 by 12 inches
- 9 by 12 inches
- 9 by 24 inches
There should be a provision to handle the panels. As a result, an 0.5 inches’ board is vital near the panel border. This choice, however, is the engineer’s decision. Some prefer a clearance of 1 inch. Besides, there should be space between the boards located on the panel. Therefore, this space makes manual removal possible.
The number of boards present in each panel depends on the panel size. As a result, you should consider the standard PCB panel size when planning. There are simple ways to increase the number of boards per panel. For example, adjusting the dimension of your board or rotating your board can help. This way, you can maximize your yield for each meeting.
There is an opportunity to have a variety of board sizes with similar thicknesses. And you also can have a series of boards on the same panel with varying arrangements. Therefore, you will be able to maximize the throughput per panel.
Panel Size for PCB: What is the Maximum Size?
The maximum size for PCB printing is a matter of what the client specifies. First, the WellPCB. We will provide you with a one-stop service and high-quality products. You can send us the documents you need to make and get a quote immediately! What are we waiting for? We have ten years of PCB manufacturing control should be able to provide the PCB panel size specified. With the necessary tools, experience, and machinery, they can make this happen.
In addition to getting whatever PCB board size you want, there should be the opportunity to get it with various materials. Clients can request specific materials that appeal to them, like Aluminum.
There is a large panel size with dimensions up to 22.5 by 54 inches. And this works for a two-layer board.
PCB Panels: Size and Usable Areas
We prefer PCB panels with a large process area because it is very cost-effective. As a result, the most common PCB panels come in the following dimensions:
12 x 18 inches, 16 x 18 inches, and 18 x 24 inches
There is an opportunity for panels with customized dimensions for specific use. Besides, efficiency is important in the use of materials for PCB boards. This happens when the completed product gives an ideal fit in the panel’s usable space.
At times, for instance, clients might want to have a complete panel. In situations like this, there will be tabs that will make it easy to have through-hole parts. This will not be in the usable section of the panel. In addition, a tab routing process helps with the arrangement.
To increase material utilization, you can use a scoring process. Scoring involves making grooves on both sides of the panel. Also, you can make it between all the boards present on the forum. With this, it will be easy to remove the boards from a single panel. In a meeting, the placement of boards is against one another. This gets rid of the open space, which should have served as a route path. As a result, there will be space for more boards on the route.
Scoring allows for the delivery of a single panel to the customer. Therefore, this truly is better than shipping off single PCBs.
PCB Panel Size Calculator
Panel size calculator guides engineers on the number of PCBs for each panel. And there are various tools online that help determine the number of boards for a meeting. To calculate this, you need the panel size, board dimensions, and spacing. Besides, the PCB panel size calculator helps optimize space usage. Again, it is also a way to cut costs as it helps ensure that design gives optimum panel utilization.
PCB Panel vs. Array
An individual layout system gives you a simple panel layout. So for designing an array, designers must understand what each part entails. This happens since the variety is one of the parts on the panel.
Here, we will use a part size, 5.1, by 8 to illustrate this point. Panel sizes of 16 by 18, 18 by 24, and 21 by 24, and a spacing of 0.1 minimum. After estimating the best layout for the panel size, we have:
- 21 by 24 getting 9 parts
- 16 by 18, and 18 by 24 giving 8 parts
Rotating some parts, however, can give a good layout. Part rotations can provide one or more panel sizes compared to the original orientation.
The array layouts
With the PCB array system, we can consider additional factors. These are the arrangement of the parts and how many features are on the array. In working with collections, you must consider the space between the elements located on the variety. It would help if you also thought about the array borders. Most times, manufacturers chip off the array borders on completing the assembly.
Many times, designers chose the array design without considering the PCB cost. And you may also neglect the fit on the PCB panel. It is essential to consider the array design early in the process. Also, the choice should allow the panel to accommodate many parts.
PCB Panelization Methods
The design of the boards influences many things. First, it affects the component clearance on the edges. Also, it determines if the sensitive SMT parts are near the border. To summarize, these factors do affect the choice of the penalization method.
There are a series of panelization methods available. They all have their pros and cons. Some factors affect the panelization method the designer will use. A few of these are:
- The panel
- The board’s design on the panel
- Nature of components on the board
- The PCB material
- Board thickness
Here are some panelization methods that apply today
1. V-Score Panelization:
This is a standard panelization method. It distinguishes each PCBs with V-shaped grooves. As a result of the tracks, an angled blade decreases the board’s thickness by one-third.
Designers use a machine to complete the breakout process. Breaking by hand can compromise the integrity of the PCB and its environs.
2. Tab Routing Panelization:
In cases when the V-groove method will not work, engineers will use the tab routing approach. This method involves pre-cutting the PCB at the array and holding Ii using perforated tabs.
Engineers love this because it helps hold design that has edge-hanging components. Hand breaking is also possible with this.
3. Solid Tab Panelization:
this involves designing arrays using solid tabs between the boards. It boosts the overall strength of the board. To depanel this, engineers will need a hook-shaped blade tool or a laser-cutting machine. They can also use a depaneling router.
Using the router could cause vibration and dust. The hook blade option is not efficient but affordable. As a result, many people do not use this method.
Many prefer the first two methods for most applications. However, engineers need to understand which choice suits the design most. Also, in format, they need to prioritize strength.
The V-groove method is efficient and reduces surface stress. As a result, this is the preferred choice for many. They are portable, requiring less maintenance. It is also easy to depanel them as it is affordable.
In all designs, engineers cannot afford to ignore PCB panelization. The PCB assembly process positively or negatively. There are complex considerations in the panel, and it controls the PCB geometry. It can also affect the overall cost of the design.
This is a comprehensive guideline that can direct you to the production process in the drawing helps to understand and run the board for the team members. The component symbols made for the PCB layout and finally printed over the PCB board are helpful during the PCB assembly line.