Focus on parts per panel, not arrays per panel
When designing an array, it's important to know how the array will fit on the manufacturing panel. Array material is waste material, so focus on how many parts per panel you'll get, not arrays per panel.
More parts/array does not always equal more parts/panel
Compare the parts per panel for the two array designs shown below. The 9 up array is actually more efficient on the panel than the 10 up array. The 9 up array gets 9 additional parts per panel. More parts per panel typically leads to a lower price from the PCB manufacturer. In this case the cost savings could be as high as 10%.
Part size: 1.0 x 2.0
Panel size: 18.0 x 24.0
Minimum borders: 0.75
Design the array for the manufacturing panel
Determining which array design is best for the manufacturing panel can be challenging. There can be many array configuration and panel size combinations and each one can yield a different number of parts per panel.
It's best to compute the array within the context of the manufacturing panel. KwickFit Online, our full featured panel layout optimizer can do exactly that. KwickFit is an enterprise grade PCB panel layout tool that will calculate the best array design for any size manufacturing panel.
KwickFit Online also provides three additional free PCB array calculators. However, to calculate the array within the context of the manufacturing panel, you'll need to use the panel layout calculators which are available for a low monthly or annual subscription. KwickFit's subscription costs are easily recovered with savings from reduced manufacturing costs.