PANEL DESIGN - guideline

1. It is possible to project panel of pcbs all with same design: the number of pcb in the panels depend of the chosen mechanical technology and panel/pcb dimension.

2. It is also possible to project panel of pcbs with different design: the maximum number of different circuit designs per panel in this case is 5 (five).

Note: in this case it will be not possible to produce separately the different design pcbs if not ordering them again from the beginning and sending new files.

3. In designing of a panel 2 main physical requirement must be kept in mind, Mechanical Stability and Strength: it is to be considered that the pcb must be submitted to several handling and other processes ( and some of them are hi themperature processes) so the panel should be constructed to resist at all these processes (both during PCB production and the final PCB assembly): if it break probably none pcbs could be used.

4. Obviously that the Panel Manufacturability and Ease of Board’s Assembling are also important panel characteristics and requirements. Panel layouts that are hard to produce (or impossible to do) or which could create extra problems during board’s assembly, could be rejected during CAD/CAM operation.

5. Mechanical technology that permit pcb separation after assembling processes could be break-routing (with breaking taps), or V-cut (scoring) or combinations of them.

Note: in case of V-cut, the line is always processed over the complete length of the panel (no jump-scoring is allowed).

Note: in the case of V-cut is to be considered that after panel separation the pcb will have its dimension increased by the material residuals. This will influence the dimension tolerances of the single pcb.

Note: however it is possible to use V-cut on not squared or rectangular shaped PCBs in combination with break-routing to obtain the desired PCB, this obliged to add extra clearance between the PCBs to provide “run-out” space break-rout cutter. Example: panel with a combination of V-cut with routing.

6. Maximum panel size is generally 250.00 x 350.00mm ( 9.84” x 13.78”), while using V-cut technology the minimum panel size is 100.00 x 100.00mm ( 4”x 4”).

7. It is suggested to realize the panel with a minimum border of 5mm (0.2”) on minimum 2 edge.

Note: if the panel is projected with routing with breaking taps, an extra 2.00mm (0.079”) between the edge of the panel and the edge of the circuit for the cutter path is needed.

Note: if the panel is projected with V-cut multiple lines a minimum distance between any two V-cut lines of 3.00mm (0.12”) is mandatory.

8. Copper elements and/or holes must be not near the edge of the pcbs both in routed or V-cut profile: in this case the minimum distance between the V-cut line and the element must be 0.4mm ( 16mil).

9. On routed panel several break-out tabs must be inserted on the panel design (needed to make stable the panel): if not they will be added during CAD/CAM operation as in PCBOARDS operator’s experience. It is to remember also that when using break-routing, the break-out tabs on the PCBs must be put in both X and Y direction.

Note: tabs normally are realized with some breaking hole to reduce the strength used for panel separation.

Important Note: for panel with break-routing tabs, it is to considered that the panel will very easily break up into parts during any handling without a panel border which increases panel stability. Designing panel with such mechanical technology with no any border is therefore not advisable.

10. Fiducials and mechanical pin-holes (used for SMD assembling process or test) must be included in the panel drawing. Some other pin-holes could be added during CAD/CAM operation for pcb production purpose.

11. Minimum dimensions of the single circuit realized with no any panel is 50.00 x 50.00mm ( 2”x 2”) while if panelized the minimum single pcb dimension is 5.00x5.00mm (0.2”x0.2”).

12. If the panel is realized with only one pcb design is kindly suggested to not rotate or nest or mirror the pcb each other: if rotation or nesting or mirroring are needed for assembling reasons, the panel’s datas must be totally indicated in a specific gerber file or indicated in a panel mechanical layer: particularly in this last case,during CAD/CAM operations, the panel layout will be realized following the documentation or PCBOARDS’s usable standards.

Note: this means that if a the panel datas are present such as a mechanical drawing, so not included in the gerber file, a pcb’s panel will be realized but only with PcbOndemand service. Anyway it is to be supplied the single pcb datas and a clear panel drawing in Gerber, PDF or other formats. The panel size, the number of different circuit types and the separation method shall be indicated in the panel specification leaving the border and spacing boxes at default. In this cases and if not clearly indicated, it is for our decision to include standard fiducials with copper pads diameter 1.50mm (0.060mil), solder mask clearances square width 3mm (0.120”) over them and tooling holes with diameter 2.1mm (0.083”) in the panel border in each corner.

13. It is suggested for small pcbs to design panel with break-routing taps keeping the overall panel size small too adding also some other material between pcbs: also V-cut is a good solution for this kind of pcb ( if squared or rectangular edged) but minimum single pcb dimension must be bigger than 10mm (40mil), otherwise it could be very hard to separate the pcbs from their panels. If V-cut is used it is possible to put no any added material between pcbs.

14. The pcbs with circular profile are usually produced with break-routing technology. It is recommend to use a minimum 10.00mm (0.40”) clearance between these round-shaped PCBs: this will result in 6.00mm (0.24”) of base material left after routing, which improve the mechanical stability of the panel. A minimum of 4 break-out routing tabs will be added: it is kindly suggested to put these 4 taps at 45° angles; larger boards will get more break-out routing tabs ( every 30° or also 20° or 15 ° angles or combination of them)

15. Due to the electroplated physical characteristic and related rules, it is important that the copper distribution on the pcb/panel is uniform: so some copper grid or full copper have to be added between the pcbs or in the panel borders and, in particular cases, also inside the circuits. Moreover the distributed copper enhances the overall manufacturability of the panel and gives good mechanical stability as it reduces the possibility of bow and twist.

16. Only with PcbOndemand service it is possible (but absolutely not recommended) to design panels combining pcbs with different number of copper layers into the same panel ( obviously total thickness must be the same for all of the pcbs). Any way this can create unstable panel and it will extend the higher multilayer price for all the pcbs in the same panel ( even if 1 or 2 layers pcb).

17. If some components overlap the pcb edge an extra clearance between PCBs must be added considering the dimension of these components. This will permit to mount such components on the PCB while still in panel format, reducing the overall assembly cost.

18. If some heavy components are assembled on the pcb, adding extra material between break-routed PCBs will increase the panel stability and sturdiness (so to avoid warping of the panel during assembly). In general V-cut is the better mechanical technology when heavy components are present.

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