Several similar PCBs present on a single sheet is known as PCB panel. PCB panelization reduces the cost, time, and space. It makes the shipping and assembly of boards easier. It also reduces the rate of errors, as they are fewer chances of missing out on any part, as it occurs in individual board manufacturing.
This article discusses ways that help to manufacture the PCB panels cheaply while not compromising on the quality of the board.
Types of PCB Panelization:
It is necessary to know different types of panelization before taking the pricing of the PCB panels into account.
- Order Panelization: A commonly employed type that prints the same boards on a panel.
- Rotation Panelization: It uses the board to its optimal capacity and decreases wastage. But, mounting gets difficult in this type and affects the mounting quality.
- Double-side Panelization: A space-saving way that uses both sides of the board and is suitable for mass production.
- Combination Panelization: It prints different board types on a panel.
Ways to Design PCB Panel cheaply:
Certain factors impact the price of the PCB panel. So, to design a PCB panel cheaply, it is necessary to consider the following factors.
Number of Printed Circuit Board on the panel:
Too many or few boards on a panel will cause the price to increase. Fewer PCBs on a given panel size mean more energy is required, which boosts the price. More raw materials are used during production, which raises the production cost if there are more boards than the recommended amount.
A PCB panel size of 100*100 mm can have only ten boards. Customer requirement of more than ten boards leads to an increase in the price.
A panel should only have the standard number of boards installed to prevent additional costs from the manufacturers.
Number of holes:
While designing a high voltage PCB board, the manufacturer pays special attention to the number of holes. Increasing the number of holes means decreasing its size and increase in the cost.
The price depends on the number of holes because the manufacturing process needs adjustment for more holes, and drilling fewer panels at once is possible.
For a panel size of 100*100 mm, more than 500 holes cause a rise in the cost of the panel.
Number of V-Cutting:
V-Cutting helps to depanelize the boards. As the boards are very close to each other in the panel, pressure may destroy the surrounding boards. V-cut or V-groove makes the removal of the PCBs easy.
But the manufacturer offers a standard number of V-Cutting. If the customer demands more than the standard number, the price of the PCB panel increases. On a board of 100*100 mm, the manufacturer offers 10 V-Cuts.
Type of Panelization:
Costs for various forms of panelization vary. The most commonly used type is order Panelization. But, double-side Panelization and combination Panelization are the cheaper options as they save space and raw materials.
Testing the PCB Panels:
There are fees associated with each test. Each manufacturer has its own set of standard testing practices. If the customer requires more testing, the manufacturer demands an additional price. As a result, the electrical testing of the boards affects the cost of the panels.
The manufacturer gives a delivery date for the panels. The manufacturer charges an urgent fee if the customer wants delivery before the said date. Therefore, the overall cost of the panel increases.
PCB panel designing is itself a cost-effective method of manufacturing circuit boards. The cost of the panel increases if there is a variation from the specifications provided by the manufacturer. Therefore, to design a PCB panel for less money, the standards should be followed, with minimum changes.