PCB depaneling/singulation laser machines and systems have been gaining more popularity due to the fact that circuit boards are getting smaller and more complex. Mainstream depanaling/singulation is done with Routing, Die Cutting, and Dicing Saw methods. However, as the boards get thinner and more sophisticated, these methods are producing more mechanical stress to the parts. These methods work great for PCB depaneling /singulation larger boards. However, if these methods are used for thinner and smaller boards breakage and lower throughput can occur. PCB depaneling/singulation requires more precision and accuracy due to the fact that more sophisticated PCB boards are smaller, thinner, and have higher component ratio.
Challenges with Routing, Die Cutting, and Dicing Saw methods
- Damages and fractures due to mechanical stress
- Damages to PCB due to accumulated debris
- Constant need for new bits, custom dies, and blades
- Lack of versatility - each new application requires ordering of custom tools, blades, and dies
- Lower throughput rate due to lack of precision (low quality of cuts)
- Not useful PCB Depanaling/singulation smaller boards < 500 microns
- Design limitation - lack of ability to cut more complex and multidimensional printed circuit boards
Lasers, on the other hand are gaining more popularity for PCB depaneling/singulation due to higher precision, lower stress on the parts, and higher throughput. Laser depaneling can be applied to a variety of applications with a simple change in the settings. With lasers, there is no bit or blade sharpening, hassle of lead time reordering dies and parts. Use of lasers in PCB depaneling is dynamic and a noncontact process. Over time, lasers prove themselves to be more cost effective when compared with more traditional methods.
Benefits of Lasers for PCB depaneling/singulation
- No mechanical stress
- No tooling cost. No consumables.
- Versatility - ability to change applications by simply changing settings
- Fiducial Recognition - more precise and clean cut
- Optical Recognition before pcb depaneling/singulation process begins - CMS Laser is one of the few companies to provide this feature.
- Ability to depanel virtually any surface such as Teflon, Ceramics, Aluminum, Brass, Copper, etc
- High quality of cuts due to higher precision and laser control
- No design limitation - ability to cut virtually any complex and multidimensional boards
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