Depanelization is the process of removing individual boards from a panel, after the boards have been populated with components. Traditionally, boards have been depanelized by breaking or cutting the the break-off tabs which hold the panel together. However, the mechanical forces (particularly bending) which can take place may weaken or damage the solder joints of fine-pitch SMT components near the board edges. This problem can be mitigated by using a milling machine to remove the break-off tabs.
The Depanelizer module allows you to easily and quickly accomplish the two specific tasks required for depanelization by milling machine:
Generate a milling program for removing the break-off tabs from a panel. A milling program contains the numerical instructions for operating a CNC milling machine which removes the break-off tabs from the panel.
Design a fixture for holding the panel frame and boards in place during the milling process. The depanelization fixture holds the boards in place, so that they do not move or otherwise get damaged during the milling process. Macaos has developed an inexpensive and reliable fixture style for this purpose. The fixture uses registration “pedestals” and vacuum suction to hold the boards in place as they are loosened from the panel, as well as a suction nozzle to remove dust from the milling process.