Manual removal of the tabs depends on the design and thickness of the board. Extra care is required since using some tools such as the hook-shaped blade to break the solid tabs between the boards can be challenging and inefficient. For example, if the blade rotates within the small clearance between the boards, it can easily take a bite out of the useful part of the PCB. Also, taping the blade-cutting edge leaves a small part of the tab protruding from the board.
Automatic machines translate to added costs and some such as the depaneling router creates vibrations, noise, and vast amounts of dust. In addition, you need to hold the board firmly. Although laser cutting is precise and has less mechanical stress, it is capital intensive and only applicable to board thicknesses of around 1 mm.
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