|Ask the Experts|
November 7, 2017
How to Clamp Odd Shaped Circuit Boards
If a PCB doesn't have any free edges to hold or clamp the PCB firmly due to components close to the edge, what solution can you offer to handle boards through an auto routing machine?
|Expert Panel Responses|
Check with the manufacturer of your auto routing machine to see if they offer a tooling plate with tooling pins. These will support and position the board without any edge clamps.
Regional Sales Manager
OK International Inc.
I would use or buy a vacuum plate, these are available from machine shop supply distributors. They are typically about an inch thick, have a vacuum pump and hose. Clamp the plate to your router table and lay the PC board on the vacuum plate. The vacuum should easily hold it in place. Hope that solves your problem. Now I am curious how you plan to support the board during component assembly and soldering.
President & CEO - Retired
Bliss Industries, Inc.
"Routing is the most reliable and low-stress option to depaneling assembled PCBs. Odd shaped and small PCBs can be held securely in place until the last cut by means of a custom fixture that is specially designed for the circuit card with pins and side wall mounts. In addition, the boards are assisted in holding their position with a bottom side vacuum suction that not only secures the board but also keeps dust and debris to a minimum during the depaneling process. For ease of pick up of multiple assembled circuit boards on one panel after tab cutting, a tray within the fixture can be set to easily lift all boards in one removal step."
Sales and Marketing Manager
Seika Machinery Inc.
From a stencil viewpoint when the claps are too close to apertures the stencil can not gasket to the board because the clips prevent it. It is possible to do a relief etch on the bottom side of the stencil in the area of the clips to allow good gasketing. This is a common practice and is effective.
Vice President Technology
There are solutions out there. Fixturing can be created for almost anything - I suggest you to get in touch with a fixture/pallet manufacturer. You will be amazed by the solutions diversity that they can offer. For more questions and/or complete root cause analysis and solutions please contact me. See below.
Engineering and Operations Management
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