6 Replies Latest reply on May 31, 2012 9:25 PM by sabitha.jamal

    Panelization in-house or at pcb supplier?




      Currently we are investigating a possible switch-over from BoardStation to Expedition Enterprise. One the items, for us (at this moment) a blocking issue, is panelization. In our products (Consumer Electronics) the board and panel are pretty much related to eachother.

      Right now we have a customized way of working to import board and panel data (via IDF) from Pro-Engineer into BoardStation.


      In "off-the-shelf" Expedition it seems to be impossible to import Panel data.


      My questions are:


           Is it still common-practise to have panelization in-house or is it in most cases done by the pcb supplier?


           How is panelization communicated towards the pcb supplier? (Stackup, Reference system, Breaking slots, FR2/FR4/..., Tolerances,...)


           What about the cost uplift leaving panelization up to the pcb supplier?


           Is there automation available to make panel import possible?


           Is there a way of working or automation available to map panel constraints to board level?


      Thanks for the feedback,



        • 1. Re: Panelization in-house or at pcb supplier?



          We do in-house panelization only if we want to assemble our boards in a panel (i.e. we get the boards from the fabricator in a multi-board array). If we are assembling in a single board configuration, we let the board fabricator panel and build the board for their best yield. We do try to work our board size to get maximum material utilization from our fabricators' standard working material (panel) size. I think your assembly house (external or internal) would want some say in the panelization, so either you or they will have to work w/ your PCB fabricator to determine the best panelization (if you leave it up to the fabricator).


          We use IDF for board import, but our panelization drawings are done by the PCB designer in Expedition. You could possibly import a DXF image of the panel data and either use it that way or convert it to regular drawing elements. We do not use Fablink XE for panelization, but you should look into that tool if you have extensive need for panelization import. It may be able to handle the import rather than using the standard Expedition package.


          Hope this helps some.


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          • 2. Re: Panelization in-house or at pcb supplier?



            -We also panelize our  Boards byself

            But we use Cam350 for doing this

            We Import a DXF in Drilldrawinglayer in Expedition, which includes the Drawing of the Panel

            The Gerberdata and the Drilldrawing we import to CAM350 and step the Data and Export as Gerber for supplier

            -Stackup we define together with the Supplier, we use Tools from Polar and ISOLA


            In Expedition we do only the Layout with an minimum of Documentation.





            1 of 1 people found this helpful
            • 3. Re: Panelization in-house or at pcb supplier?

              Hi Pascal,


              We too are transitioning from Boardstation to Expedition. We handle all our own panelisation, and these fall into 2 categories.


              (i)Panels that have mutiple copies of the same board

              (ii)Panels that have several different boards.


              Within Boardstation, for panels that have all the same boards, we supply a single up gerber image, and suppy a panel drawing that gives all the step and repeat information to the fabricator. For panels that have different boards, we put all boards in a single schematic (obviously using some intelligence when it comes to sheet numbering and seperation etc), and effectviely treat the panel as a single board.


              THis changes uinder expedition. Panelisation has become far easier under Fablink XE. You can call in boards to a panel and supply panelised gerbers, which is what we are doing. For multi board panels (that is, multiple different boards) you need to have a Fablink XE Pro license.


              Fabrication information presented at two levels. For general requiremnts (type of solder mask, silkscreen colour etc) we have a fabrication spec which is referred to on the Drill Drawing. For design specific requirements (layer build, material, copper weight etc) we note these again, on the drill drawing for the panel/single up PCB. Breakouts/v-scores etc are all communicated on the Panel drawing.


              The advantage of supplying panelised data is that you are not relying on someone else intepreting your data correctly, and also, since solder paste masks are often made by a seperate organisation, you are reducsing the risk of two peopel interpreting data differently.


              If you would like to see examples, please do drop me a line.





              • 4. Re: Panelization in-house or at pcb supplier?



                all panelisation is done by our PCB supplier.

                We only provide them a drawing how to arrange the PCBs on the panel and where to make cuts etc.


                If you would ask me for a Solution in the EE flow, you should have a look into Fablink XE Pro.


                Here you could import your PCBs and create your panel from IDF with automation.

                But the programming effort will be high here, depending on the number of PCBs you release each year.


                I would prefer a PCB supplier based solution.




                • 5. Re: Panelization in-house or at pcb supplier?

                  Hi Andreas,


                  thanks for the feedback,



                  Best regards,



                  • 6. Re: Panelization in-house or at pcb supplier?

                    Hello ,



                               At present our PCB supplier is doing  the panelization ..But I understand that ,there has some useful method for panelization in valor ..We can step and repeat for the panelization from the single board file and can be identified the material utilization by checking different methods  within 10 mints! ,It will be very cost effective and not required much time for the creation of panel  drawing in Autocad and its time delay for the communication ,As mentioned above we can give the same data to stencil fabricator so that the whole data will be in a synchronized way.

                               But still we have to understand how can make the cutout ,v-groove and mouse bite for the creation of panel ...Does anybody know this please share those procedures.In help there is not much details ,if mentor share this video for the creation of cut out for different angle ,diffrent dia e.t.c it will be very helpful for valor users.



                    Thanks and Regards

                    Sabitha Jamal