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.
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.
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