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Panelizing PCBs with Tab Routing

Tab routing is a popular PCB panelizing approach that uses tabs with or without perforations. If you are separating the panelized PCBs manually, you should use the perforated type. If you feel that breaking the PCB off the panel would cause too much stress on the PCB, it is wise to use a special tool that will prevent board damage.

One of the benefits of tab-routing is that you can produce non-rectangular boards. Conversely, a disadvantage of tab-routing is that it requires additional board material, which can increase your costs. It also can place more stress on the board near the tab. To prevent board stresses, avoid placing PCB parts very near the tabs. While there isn’t a specific standard for placing parts near the tabs, generally speaking, 100 mils is a typical distance. In addition, you may need to place parts more than 100 mils for bigger or thicker PCBs.

You can remove PCBs in panels before or after they are assembled. Since PCB panels make it easier to assemble, the most common approach is to remove the PCBs after the panel is assembled. However, you must use additional care when removing PCBs from panels after they are assembled.

If you don’t have the special PCB removal tool, you must take special care when removing the PCBS from the panel. Do not bend it!

If you were to break off the PCB from the panel without care, or even if the parts are extremely near the tabs, you may experience parts damage. In addition, solder joint sometimes rupture, which can cause problems later. It’s preferred to use a cutting tool to remove the PCBs to avoid bending the board.

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