Is There A Minimum Order For PCBs?
Updated: Mar 19, 2019
A frequently asked question that we get is if there's a minimum order for quotes, prototypes, and production. The answer is that it depends on your PCB size and material(s) and how that affects panelizing aka array format.
What is Panelization?
Panelization is used to make a single or multiple PCBs with a single substrate, simplifying the manufacturing process and reducing costs.
V-Groove Panelization -- cuts the board 1/3 of the way from top and bottom (and depaneled with a pizza cutter).
Tab-Route Panelization -- uses tabs to separate the boards, but induces more stress near the tab and slightly increases costs. Tab-Route panelization is necessary when there is an overhang of components on the board.
Depanelization is not the opposite of panelization, but the process of removing the boards from the array. Depanelization removes the PCBs from the single substrate (panel), and depending on the PCB design, specific methods will be used for depaneling.
Depaneling presents lots of dust that require PCBs to be cleaned after, saws can only cut in a straight line, and lasers require a very thin board. Overhanging parts also present an issue for depanelization, and might require pre-routing.
I understand that it's not the clear-cut answer you might've been looking for, but it really does depend on the specifications of your board.