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Automated Depanel - Tabs or Scores?

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#84256

Automated Depanel - Tabs or Scores? | 22 January, 2020

If starting from scratch, and designing strictly for automated depanel, is there a clear winner in tabs vs scores?

It seems like tab routing is quicker, easier, and more manufacturers offer solutions. I just wanted to see what people had to say about the topic.

Thanks!

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DWL

#84257

Automated Depanel - Tabs or Scores? | 22 January, 2020

Routing is great for odd shaped PCBs that don't lend themselves to v-scoring. changing from one shape PCB to another is easy. The down sides are you may require custom support tooling and they generate alot of dust. keeping up with the PM will be critical.

The automatic depanelers I've seen for V-scores require a dedicated set of blades at a set width. If all your PCBs are the same width, this is the way to go. If you have alot of variety in size, it becomes harder to justify this method.

If you have panels of small boards, especially if they are round or odd shaped, look into punch dies. They'll require custom tooling but its not expensive.

A fourth option is laser depaneling. Fast, low dust, any PCB shape or size, brutally expensive. If money is no object, this is the way to go.

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#84258

Automated Depanel - Tabs or Scores? | 22 January, 2020

It is all PCB design based for me. Auto router is great as you can pick tabs locations to avoid stress on components close to the PCB edge. For some boards you can hardly justify anything other than manual V-score. So I would say there is no better way. There is a way to fit the board best.

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#84259

Automated Depanel - Tabs or Scores? | 22 January, 2020

To clarify a bit, I'm looking for opinions in regards to automated routing, both tab and scored. If we end up doing a majority of our layouts scored then we'll go with an automated saw for that.

That's the question though, has anyone used one of these automated saws, and can anyone compare and contrast the pros/cons of both.

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#84263

Automated Depanel - Tabs or Scores? | 23 January, 2020

Hi Phil,

Tabs every time for me, but running in volume so the slow down in tool travel for cutting important.

Have used Cencorp 1000 & 1300BR, and Asys ADS01 - both in line systems with grippers from the top to hold the board and the router underneath.

We never bothered with scored as the cutting time would be too long for our application, however could be good for laser depaneling as a thinner cut.

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#84265

Automated Depanel - Tabs or Scores? | 23 January, 2020

Key benefits for us:

Labour saving - machine part of SMT line (mainly one product type, 2 shifts), so boards effectively delivered ready for the next stage, with no human interaction.

Uniformity of finish - where we had a critical dimension we run the tool down that edge to ensure it conforms.

No component stress as the board is supported by grippers as it is cut from below.

Reduced dust - dust is all confined to the machine with a vacuum attached to the head. In the current place we have clean rooms so even in non clean areas we are aware of how much dust is generated from v-scoring, nibbling etc.

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