Panelized stencils feedback and a wish

I have ordered 6 PCBs and a stencil. The PCBs were very small, below your “let’s make a little panel” threshold, so you created a panel of 2 PCBs and sent me 3 panels.
That’s absolutely fine.

The stencil I received matched this 2-panel.
That’s also fine! It simplifies assembly of a batch, and I could even use that stencil for just a single board if I wanted to.

However, here’s the crux:
I had previously received PCBs with exactly the same size as panels of three. The stencil wouldn’t work for such a panel. What if I had ordered an uneven number of PCBs?

My wish:

  • Consider restricting small PCB panels to panels of three and three only.
  • Same for the stencil.
  • Keep the panel setup (boils down to the distance between individual PCBs) fixed for future orders, so that old stencils don’t get useless. Your stencils last for a long time.

This would be consistent with your “sets of three” philosophy that seems to be just as old as the company aisler, and could potentially avoid a lot of problems.

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Hi @crteensy, sorry for the late reply. Could you please elaborate a bit why the new stencil does not work with the previous order where you received a panel of three? I see that it might be a bit of work since you have to apply the solder paste to that additional PCB separately, but in general it should work.

When I want to assemble all three PCBs with a stencil for two, I’d have to

  • apply paste for two boards with the 2-stencil
  • remove the two boards from the panel while not damaging the paste job
  • apply paste for the remaining board without wasting any paste through the unused half of the stencil
  • (optionally) remove the third board as well prior to reflow

Unless there’s a good trick to make it easier, that’s really inconvenient. Separating all three board prior to paste application would work too, but then I could just as well use a stencil for a single board.

Alright, I understand that this process is not super comfortable. Unfortunately, I see no simple solution for the problem. To make the stencil reusable for all order quantities, we have to apply the same layout to the stencil (and the boards) independent of the actual quantity ordered. Since customers also order higher volumes we thereby force customers to apply paste to a lot of panels. This is even more annoying when boards are very small (like in your case). That does not sound like a fair deal to me. I am however always open to alternative solutions. For the meanwhile, the easiest solution to reuse the stencil is to reorder the same quantity again (or multiple times if you need more).

If you want to reduce your work, I recommend you to try our Amazing Assembly service - so you do not have to bother about sourcing or applying paste at all :wink:

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