Depending on the material and the part requirements, MLT provides a tool-less part removal process in the form of final depaneling, hold-in tabs, scoring (v-grooves), and perforations. These laser processes have the advantage of speed, positional accuracy, no tooling cost or wear, no part induced stresses, and no cutting oils or other contaminants.
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Hold-in tabs are small uncut sections about the part used to secure the part in the panel. The hold-in tabs are used for easy of handling small parts or part securement for additional processing. The hold-in tab width is chosen based on the amount of force desired to removed the part from the panel/sheet or known forces to be applied by downstream processes like component loading or electro-polish. MLT can create tabs in most any material and to any width and location about the part.
Laser scoring produces a limited depth ablation line in the part or material set. The depth is generally 50% of the material thickness but can be controlled to a desired depth. The scoring acts similar to the hold-tab to secure the part in the panel or sheet, but allows for individual parts to be 'snapped' out. Laser scoring lines can also be used as a deliberate path for stress relief or crack propagation. Prototypes utilize scoring lines in metal to accurately bend and form parts into shape without expensive forming dies.
Similar to scoring or v-grooves, laser perforations are another option for tool-less part removal from a panel or sheet. Perforations can be laser formed to any size and spacing to meet the desired removal and securement forces.
CAD or Data Requirements
CAD system integration and custom file converters enable flexible, laser manufacturing from customer-provided data. Although most file types are accepted, the preferred file types are Gerber, DXF, or other 2D formats.
For more CAM/CAD guidelines and detailed requirements, click CAD Requirements.