PCB Array Basics

Focus on getting the most parts per panel, not arrays per panel

When designing an array it’s important to achieve the highest number of parts per panel, not arrays per panel. You might guess that more parts on the array will equal more parts on the panel, but that's not always true. In some cases, an array with fewer parts will be more efficient and get more parts per panel.

Consider these two array designs, one with 10 parts on the array and the other with 9 parts. The 9 part array is actually better on the same panel size, because the 9 part array has more efficient material utilization. The 9 part array yields 9 more parts per panel, taking the part per panel yield from 90 parts to 99 parts. This improvement could lead to significant cost savings on a production run.

Part size: 1.0 x 2.0
Space: 0.062
Borders: 0.562

Panel size: 18.0 x 24.0
Space: 0.1
Minimum borders: 0.75

Not Optimized
10 parts per array (5 x 2)
9 arrays per panel
90 parts per panel
41.7% part/panel utilization

Array Layout Result

9 parts per array (3 x 3)
11 arrays per panel
99 parts per panel
45.8% part/panel utilization

Array Layout Result

Always calculate the array within the context of the manufacturing panel size to find the best array design for each panel. Since your supplier may use several different panel sizes, finding the best array design for each panel size can be a complex challenge. Fortunately, KwckFit's panel calculators can easily calculate the best array design for any panel size.

To learn more about the importance of designing the array for the manufacturing panel read PCB Panelization Basics and other array design considerations for the assembly process.

Finally, add KwickFit to your designers toolbox. It makes light work of finding the best PCB array design for any panel size. With KwickFit, you'll be sure to get the lowest PCB price from your supplier.

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