Several small printed circuit boards can be grouped together for processing as a panel. A panel consisting of a design duplicated n-times is also called an n-panel, whereas a multi-panel combines several different design onto a single panel. The outer tooling strip often includes tooling holes, a set of panel fiducials, a test coupon, and may include hatched copper pour or similar patterns for even copper distribution over the whole panel in order to avoid bending.The assemblers often mount components on panels rather than single PCBs because this is efficient.
The panel is eventually broken into individual PCBs along perforations or grooves in the panel. Today depaneling is often done by lasers which cut the board with no contact. Laser depaneling reduces stress on the fragile circuits, improving the yield of defect-free units.