All About PCB Panelization

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What is PCB Panelization?

PCB panelization is the process of grouping multiple printed circuit board (PCB) designs onto a single panel for manufacturing. This technique is used to maximize the efficiency and cost-effectiveness of the PCB Fabrication process by producing multiple boards simultaneously.

Benefits of PCB Panelization

  1. Cost reduction: Manufacturing multiple PCBs on a single panel reduces the overall production cost per board.
  2. Increased efficiency: Panelization allows for faster assembly and testing of PCBs, as multiple boards can be processed simultaneously.
  3. Improved yield: By grouping similar PCBs together, the manufacturing process becomes more consistent, resulting in a higher yield of functional boards.

Types of PCB Panelization

There are two main types of PCB panelization: tab routing and scoring.

Tab Routing

Tab routing involves connecting individual PCBs with small tabs, which are later removed after the manufacturing process. This method is suitable for PCBs with irregular shapes or those requiring a high degree of precision.

Advantages of tab routing:
– Allows for complex PCB shapes
– Provides a clean edge finish after depaneling
– Suitable for high-density PCB designs

Disadvantages of tab routing:
– Higher tooling costs compared to scoring
– Slower depaneling process
– Risk of damage to the PCB during depaneling


Scoring involves creating grooves or perforations between individual PCBs on the panel, allowing for easy separation after manufacturing. This method is ideal for simpler PCB designs and high-volume production.

Advantages of scoring:
– Lower tooling costs compared to tab routing
– Faster depaneling process
– Suitable for high-volume production

Disadvantages of scoring:
– Limited to simpler PCB shapes
– Potential for rough edges after depaneling
– Risk of PCB damage during depaneling if not designed properly

PCB Panelization Design Considerations

When designing a PCB panel, several factors must be considered to ensure optimal results:

  1. Panel size: Choose a panel size that maximizes the number of PCBs while minimizing waste material. Standard panel sizes include:
Panel Size Dimensions (mm)
Small 200 x 200
Medium 300 x 300
Large 450 x 450
  1. Spacing: Provide adequate spacing between individual PCBs to ensure proper separation and to avoid damage during depaneling. A minimum spacing of 3-5 mm is recommended.

  2. Fiducial marks: Include fiducial marks on the panel to assist with alignment during the assembly process. These marks should be placed in the corners of the panel and on each individual PCB.

  3. Tooling holes: Incorporate tooling holes in the panel design to help secure the panel during manufacturing. These holes should be placed in the corners and along the edges of the panel.

  4. Depaneling method: Select the appropriate depaneling method (tab routing or scoring) based on the complexity of the PCB design, production volume, and cost considerations.

PCB Panelization Best Practices

To ensure successful PCB panelization, follow these best practices:

  1. Collaborate with your PCB manufacturer early in the design process to discuss panelization options and requirements.
  2. Keep the panelization design as simple as possible to minimize the risk of errors and improve manufacturability.
  3. Ensure that the panel design is symmetrical to prevent warping or twisting during the manufacturing process.
  4. Use consistent spacing between PCBs and maintain a minimum distance from the panel edges to avoid damage during handling.
  5. Test the depaneling process to verify that the PCBs can be separated without damage and meet the required specifications.

Common PCB Panelization Challenges and Solutions

  1. Warping: Warping can occur when there is an imbalance in the copper distribution or due to uneven heating during the manufacturing process.

Solution: Balance the copper distribution across the panel and use symmetrical PCB Placement to minimize warping.

  1. Breakout tabs: Breakout tabs can be difficult to remove and may cause damage to the PCB during depaneling.

Solution: Use an appropriate tab size and placement, and consider alternative depaneling methods such as scoring or perforations.

  1. Solder joint failure: Solder joint failure can occur due to stress on the PCB during the depaneling process.

Solution: Incorporate stress relief features, such as rounded corners or flexible connectors, to minimize stress on the solder joints.

  1. Inconsistent spacing: Inconsistent spacing between PCBs can lead to issues during the assembly process and may result in damaged boards.

Solution: Ensure consistent spacing between PCBs and use fiducial marks to assist with alignment during assembly.

PCB Panelization FAQs

  1. Q: What is the minimum spacing required between PCBs on a panel?
    A: A minimum spacing of 3-5 mm is recommended between individual PCBs to ensure proper separation and to avoid damage during depaneling.

  2. Q: Can PCB panelization be used for Flexible PCBs?
    A: Yes, PCB panelization can be used for flexible PCBs, but special considerations must be made for the material properties and the depaneling process to avoid damaging the flexible circuits.

  3. Q: How does PCB panelization affect the cost of manufacturing?
    A: PCB panelization can reduce the overall manufacturing cost per board by allowing multiple PCBs to be produced simultaneously. However, the cost savings may be offset by additional tooling costs for tab routing or scoring.

  4. Q: What is the difference between V-scoring and perforations in PCB panelization?
    A: V-scoring creates a continuous groove between PCBs, while perforations are a series of small holes or slots. Both methods allow for easy separation of the PCBs after manufacturing, but perforations may provide a cleaner edge finish.

  5. Q: Can PCB panelization be used for high-density PCB designs?
    A: Yes, PCB panelization can be used for high-density PCB designs, but tab routing is often preferred over scoring to ensure a clean edge finish and to minimize the risk of damage during depaneling.


PCB panelization is an essential technique for optimizing the PCB manufacturing process, reducing costs, and improving efficiency. By understanding the different types of panelization, design considerations, and best practices, designers and manufacturers can work together to create high-quality, Cost-effective PCBs. As PCB designs continue to become more complex and compact, effective panelization strategies will remain crucial for success in the electronics industry.