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.



pcb design


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 processed by the PCB are assembled by the placement machine.




Then the problem is coming, and 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, PCB manufacturing is better, but when it comes to PCB assembly, a small area is placed on the placement machine for assembly. It brings problems. There is no way to assemble the production line!


Here, it is necessary to imposition a small piece of PCB, and to form a suitable area that meets the requirements of the assembly machine, or to form a yin and yang board, which is more convenient for patch assembly. In general, the manufacturer of the board will provide the services of the puzzle, but in the design of the Altium Designer software, in addition to more clearly showing the designer's intention, there are many benefits. The benefits are as follows:


  • made in the direction you want


  • The puzzle file is associated with the source board, and the source board changes are automatically updated to the puzzle board.


  • You can put together several different boards


  • spell the yin and yang boards (reverse sides)


How to puzzle in Altium Designer?

 pcb panel


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


1, first determine the 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.


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


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


This is our imposition 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


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.


5, enter the level color manager below, rename Mechanical 2 to Route Cutter Tool Layer, the line drawn on this layer is defined as the milling cutter milling PCB trace; the mechanical 5 is renamed Fab Notes, the line definition drawn on this layer In order to wash out the V-groove  trace on the PCB.

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


panel pcb


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.


Jigsaw and source board synchronization update



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


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


How to put different PCBs together?

pcb design


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.

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