Manufacturers can use fixtures or panels to secure or frame fragile, thin, or oddly shaped PCBs. This allows them to easily fit the boards in the standard assembly, reflow, or automatic inspection machines. In addition to handling the irregular boards, the technologies enable the simultaneous processing of multiple boards as opposed to working on each board individually, hence reducing the production time and costs.
Depanelization is the process of separating the individual boards from the main array and usually depends on the panelization method applied. The choice depends on the clearance to provide at the edges of the PCB, and the presence of sensitive SMT devices, or hanging connectors near the edges. There are automatic methods, such as the laser cutting or depaneling router, as well as manual methods that involve breaking the tabs using hands or other tools.
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