Note that U4, a 10 MHz MEMS oscillator, is also very close to the microcontroller’s clock input pin. It’s always a good idea to minimize the length of traces carrying high-frequency digital signals. First of all, there are noise benefits: a shorter, more direct trace reduces the amount of noise that would otherwise be coupled into adjacent traces, and a shorter trace also reduces electromagnetic interference (EMI) because it is less effective as an antenna. The second issue is related to transmission-line effects. Minimizing trace length is a simple way to avoid problems related to signal reflections. However, reflection is not a significant concern at frequencies in the 10 MHz range, unless you are dealing with long interconnections or a very large PCB.
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.
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