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PCB assembly

Separating assembled boards into individual boards

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Technology – THT (depaneling)

Depaneling process for circuit boards

The circuit boards are manufactured together in what are known as panels. At the end of the assembly process, the assembled circuit boards are divided into the individual circuit boards, in a process known as depaneling.

PCB depaneling

EMS assembly efficiency for circuit boards

When ordering the circuit boards, care is taken to ensure that the maximum possible number of individual circuit boards, the “panels”, are accommodated on an overall circuit board within the machine-processable dimension. After completing the assembly process, SMT or THT or as a mixed assembly of both, the assembled circuit boards are divided into the individual circuit boards, known as “depaneling”. Depending on the requirements of the IPC class, a specific accuracy in the depaneling process is also prescribed. In general it can be said that the higher the IPC class, the higher the depaneling accuracy. The depaneling process can be derived from this aspect.

Separation of PCBs
Milling cutting

THT – depaneling

Milling cutting

Milling cutting is characterised by very fast, clean and high-precision depaneling. After inserting the panel on retaining pins or an adapter plate and securing against rotation, the product is processed fully automatically and can then be removed individually.

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Milling cutting should always be selected for high-quality and high quantities of assemblies with nibs of panel boards. It is also the gentlest variant of the depaneling process for nibs of panel boards.

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THT – depaneling

Linear depaneling

A linear separator is used to separate pre-scored panels. By foot activation, two opposing wedge-shaped knives are pressed into the score. Thanks to the infinitely variable, vibrating sectional cut, the panels are separated very gently and relatively cleanly.

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Thanks to the tension-free depaneling processing, even SMD components around the edge are not affected. The circuit board thickness can be flexibly adjusted using a rotary knob. You only need to pay attention to the remaining nib thickness. Depaneling with a linear separator should be selected for small to medium-sized quantities, as it is the most effective and gentle solution in this area

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Linear depaneling
Hook depaneling

THT – depaneling

Hook depaneling

A hook separator can be used to depanel outline milled circuit boards in very small quantities with less stringent quality requirements. Here, circuit boards are placed in a milled groove over the knife on the die. The bar is then pushed under the punching knife and operated using a foot switch.

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Depaneling with a hook separator should only be chosen for the smallest quantities, as it is not a clean and high-quality solution to isolate a panel.

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Depaneling with a CNC milling machine

Clean, clear and highly accurate

This variant is the best choice for IPC class 3 and 2 for extremely precise depaneling into individual boards with an extremely clean separating profile. Our team is committed to working professionally and quickly, both in creating the milling program and the actual depaneling. All necessary care is naturally taken with ESD protection.

Separation with CNC milling machine
Roll separation

Roll depaneling for pre-scored panels

Fast and accurate

This procedure is often stipulated by our customers. The unassembled printed circuit board is then already scored by the printed circuit board manufacturer for subsequent depaneling. This technology is best suited to small to medium quantities.

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