How to do the PCB Board Array & Panelize?

With the continuous development of the entire electronics industry, many products in the electronics industry have already established sophisticated upstream and downstream supporting enterprises. From a mature product design, design, manufacturing, assembly testing, packaging, wholesaler channels, etc., such an industrial chain is naturally generated in a specific environment. Therefore, the connection between design and manufacturing is extremely tight and in an inseparable position.

One of the most important aspects of electronic products from design completion to manufacturing is the processing of PCB boards. Most of the bare boards are assembled by the placement machine.

Then the problem is coming. Now the electronic products are developing in the direction of small and light. When your design PCB board is particularly small, and some electronic product modules are as small as a few centimeters square. when it comes to PCB assembly, It brings problems. There is no way to assemble such small boards on the production line!

Here, it is necessary to panelize a small piece of PCB, which is more convenient for patch machine. In general, the manufacturer of the board will provide the services of the panelize, but in the design of the Altium Designer software, there are many benefits. As follows:

1. The board can be madeany direction you want

2. The panelfile is associated with the original board, and the original board changes are automatically updated to the panel

3. You can put together several different boards

How to panel boards in Altium Designer?

Here we use an example to introduce the process and operation steps of the panel in Altium Designer.

1. Firstly, Make surethe size of the board. This can be viewed with Report > Board information. As shown in the figure below, this board is used as an example PCB board with a size of 75.18 x 30.23mm. We are going to spell a 2x2 PCB array in a new PCB.

How to panel boards in Altium Designer

2. Use File > New > PCB to create a rectangular PCB with dimensions of 160 x 65mm, 2 signal layers, no power plane, and vias. The newly created PCB for the panelis as follows,

and saved.

Altium Designer

3. On the newly created PCB, click Place > Embedded Board Array/Panelize. As shown below.

Embedded Board Array & Panelize

This is our panel function. After clicking in, see the following figure, and output the length and width in the Embedded Board Array window (this parameter is generally slightly larger than the original board. Depending on your needs). Select the board PCB file you want to spell in the PCB Document column. Then enter the number of horizontal and vertical rows to be spliced in the row and column element input boxes of the Column Count and Row Count. Here each chooses 2.

Embedded Board Array & Panelize

4. After setting the above parameters, click OK to place the array board on the PCB. Adjust the position just right. And reposition the origin of the PCB to the origin of the array board.

Setting Parameters

5. Enter the level color manager below, rename Mechanical2 to Route Cutter Tool Layer, the line drawn on this layer is defined as the milling cutter milling PCB trace; the mechanical5 is renamed FabNotes, the line drawn on this layer is defined as Wash the trace of the V-groove (V-GROOVE) on the PCB.

Fab Notes

The following picture shows the array board with the detailed traces.

the array board with the detailed traces

Note that we need to draw the Route Cutter Tool Layer traces and FabNotes traces on the PCB array board. We need to let the processing board CAM drawing staff understand our specific needs and intentions. However, it is necessary to take the Cut or the V-slot, and the communication and communication between us and the board factory engineers shall prevail. Here is just a schematic.

Finally, it is to convert the PCB array board into a processing drawing file such as Gerber. Give the PCB processing board factory and communicate the specific process requirements and details with the board factory.

The panel board is updated synchronously with the original board.

If any changes are made to the original PCB, these changes are updated in the PCB template file with one click. For example, in the figure below, place a pad in the original PCB.

 The panel board is updated synchronously with the original board

Then in the PCB panel file, click Refresh to refresh, and each of these boards will have such a pad. Update with the original board. As shown below.

 PCB panel file

How to put different PCBs together?

Put together different PCBs, just select a PCB file and spell out the array. Then select another PCB file and then spell out the array. As shown below.

How to put different PCBs together

It should be noted here that for different PCBs to be put together, the number of layers and the thickness setting of the PCBs must be exactly the same.