Never Lose Track of Fabrication With Unified PCB Panelization Software

Zachariah Peterson
|  Created: April 9, 2020

Once you’re ready to manufacture your PCB, your software should help you maximize your board yield. Altium Designer gives you the power to design your PCB schematics, layout your board, generate your BOM, panelize your boards, and export Gerber files, all in a single software package.

ALTIUM DESIGNER

An easy-to-use PCB design tool that helps you take your ideas from layout to manufacturing.

Let’s set the scene: you’ve just finished designing the PCB for your groundbreaking new device. Now you are ready to move to the next stage: manufacturing. It’s time to give your manufacturer all the information they need to produce your board. This means panelizing your board, generating a bill of materials, producing a CAM design for your panels, and exporting Gerber files. Forget moving between multiple programs, your PCB design software should already have all the tools you need. With Altium Designer, you’ll work within a unified design environment. Everything you need to start producing a finished product is contained within a single software package.

Panelize Within a Unified Design Environment

Figuring out panel size and laying out fiducials can be paramount for identifying your board outline in PCB layout. A fab house certainly doesn’t want to have to work to read any information from their PCB designers. Traces, array size, components, edge clearance, and assembly instructions should all be clear as day.

When your design software is separate from your bill of materials and panelization software, you lose time switching between programs. Moving your design between programs leaves open the possibility of errors as your layout is imported into your panelization software. If you need to make changes to your design before finalizing it for manufacturing, passing updates between different programs requires time. You need your tools to work together in a unified design environment: you need Altium Designer.

Altium Designer Takes Your Product From Start to Finish

Taking your design from schematic to product is a long process. When your design, panelization, and bill of materials tools work together in a unified design environment, your journey from idea to final product will be a breeze. Altium Designer builds all the documentation, CAD formats, and CAM files required by your manufacturer.

Board array in preparation for panelization

2 x 2 board array that references a single PCB

Your Multi-board Panelization Tools Are All In One Place

Working through array size or necessary components for your multi-board panelization requires a savvy PCB editor capable of illustrating the information you need. Don’t let your PCB layout fall through to a mishap in PCB manufacture or assembly, enable your fabrication to happen and keep your circuit kicking.

Multi-board panelization is critical when planning the manufacturing of complex electronic devices. An intuitive interface makes panelization for multiple boards simple. Altium Designer can verify that multiple boards in your stackup will be compatible. Rather than optimize board placement in your panels by hand, Altium designer can help you determine the best board arrangement. You can also define your manufacturer’s tooling constraints when planning for panelization.

Altium Designer Has the Industry-Standard Tools You Need

Altium Designer contains all the tools required to breathe life into your designs. Panelization is a breeze, including multi-board panelization, and your board arrangement can be optimized so that you get the highest possible yield. You can specify you manufacturer’s tooling constraints during panelization and optimization.

Screenshot of AD session with panelization arrangement

CAM panelization arrangement

Altium Designer Guides You Through the Final Steps

Moving your finished design to the manufacturing stage is about more than just panelization. Whether it’s accurately conveying panel size and array size information, or simply illustrating edge and components clearly, your PCB manufacture process will need accurate details. Circuit assembly, after all, can be a painstakingly thorough process. Your manufacturer will require more than just a bill of materials.

You’ll need to provide a panelized CAM layout and exported Gerber files, all delivered in a standard format. Altium Designer includes all these industry-standard tools and many more. You can generate these required documents within a single software package, which saves you time and helps prevent errors.

Altium Will Be There to Guide You Towards the Finish Line

If you’re new to finalizing a PCB for manufacturing, your tools should be intuitive and should work together to maximize your productivity. Whether you need help with panelization, moving to manufacturing, or just help to learn new design features, Altium Designer gives you the resources you need to be successful. Altium knows that their success depends on your success.

You won't find another PCB design software package like Altium Designer. You’ll have seamless capability to move between design aspects, allowing you to spend more time on what you love and less time jumping between programs. The panelization, Gerber file export, bill of materials, and CAM editor tools in Altium Designer will help you move on to manufacturing successfully.

About Author

About Author

Zachariah Peterson has an extensive technical background in academia and industry. He currently provides research, design, and marketing services to companies in the electronics industry. Prior to working in the PCB industry, he taught at Portland State University and conducted research on random laser theory, materials, and stability. His background in scientific research spans topics in nanoparticle lasers, electronic and optoelectronic semiconductor devices, environmental sensors, and stochastics. His work has been published in over a dozen peer-reviewed journals and conference proceedings, and he has written 1000+ technical blogs on PCB design for a number of companies. He is a member of IEEE Photonics Society, IEEE Electronics Packaging Society, and the American Physical Society, and he currently serves on the INCITS Quantum Computing Technical Advisory Committee.

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