By Mark Thompson | Published on: November 04, 2013
Plated features at the board edges such as the edge itself (less tab locations to hold it in the panel) and plated half holes or slots, require unique processing so that when finally routed the metal at the part edges does not tear out or burr. Plated half holes are drilled, and then the panels go through an electroless copper process (cuposit) then back to drill/route to have the edge where the plated half hole resides routed. This way no electroless copper is present along the interface edge where the plated half hole meets the unplated edge so that no electroplating will “stick” to it, eliminating tearing or burring of the plated metal at final route. Plated edges are accomplished by pre routing the to-be plated edge prior to electroless. Additional metal slightly larger than the router track width is added outside the plated edge at CAM to reflect the route before cuposit. To expose the to-be plated edge after all plating and processing is done the tabs that held the parts in place on the panel during the edge plating process are routed. These tabs should ideally be negotiated with the customer so that a tab is not placed when an edge must be plated.
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