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.
I always prefer to maintain a logical flow of signals and functionality in my PCB layouts. I think that this approach results in an easier design process and a better board. The AWG layout progresses from left to right: from power input and communication input/output, to the power supply circuitry, to the processor, to the DAC (which is controlled by the processor and constitutes the board’s transition from digital to analog), to the analog signal-conditioning circuitry, and finally to the output connector. Parts that don’t have a specific position in the functional flow—such as the oscillator (U4), the DAC’s passives (C16, R5, etc.), and the voltage reference (U3)—are arranged near the components that they support.
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