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.
Care should be taken when depaneling the perforated-tab PCB array; otherwise, an incorrect method will splinter or tear the solder-mask or active surface layer. The ideal breakout method should not cause any damage to the board or transfer stress from the PCB surface to the components.
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