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What Is A Printed Wire Board?

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The complex field of electronics is no exception to the wide use of acronyms and abbreviations that are unknown to the novice. Printed wire boards aren’t too complex and can be fairly simple to learn if you know where to start. Hence the reason we made this article is to help you get started in the world of printed wire board electronics.

In this article, we will be going over how and where a printed wire board is used as well as the key differences between a printed wire board (PWB) and a printed circuit board (PCB). Understanding these differences will allow you to further your education in the electronic board industry and help you avoid miscommunications when dealing with overseas affairs.

We hope you find value in this article and are able to answer your questions about printed wire boards. We appreciate your time and thank you for spending it with us to learn more about the wonderful world of electronics.

What Is A Printed Wire Board?

A printed wire board or PWB for short contains an epoxy glass substrate that is employed in making interconnections and attaching modules to complete an electronic circuit to make working electronic devices. Manufacturers create printed wire boards by engraving materials to contain conduction-insulating surfaces in-between conduction-enabling traces.

Printed wire boards are simple devices that have been around for many years. The first ones were developed for military use and then were later used for commercial products such as computers, appliances, and toys.

Unlike printed circuit boards, printed wire boards typically do not contain components like resistors, capacitors, and diodes. Think of a printed wire board as a predecessor to the printed circuit board. Apart from the etching on the board, PWB has no components fitted to it but contains openings for other third-party electrical components to be soldered in.

Printed wiring boards were one of the first available uses when achieving a point-to-point connection. Although they lack the complexity of printed circuit boards, they were a marvel of their time allowing electronic connections to be made throughout their design substrate.

Here we will briefly go over the sequence of fabrication processes required to manufacture a PWB.

  • Lamination

– This is the process where layers of substrate are melded under pressure and heat.

– The substrates used in the production of a PWB are typically a dielectric material such as ceramic or FR-4, which allows for electrical isolation for the conductive layers.

  • Drilling

– Drilling can be an automatic or manual procedure performed on the PWB in order to allow for additional components to be implemented directly via soldering or other methods by its user.

  • Conductive Track Formation

– One of the printed wire board’s most essential features is the conductive track formation. This process allows for the deposition of copper onto the substrate. Copper is used because of its high conductivity and easy transfer of electricity.

– The track made by this process provides a pattern in the shape of the desired electrical path.

This has just been a quick overview of printed wire boards and how they are manufactured, if you have any further questions please don’t hesitate to give our team a call.

PWB vs PCB – The Main Differences

In this section, we’ll be going over some of the main factors that differentiate the printed wire board from the printed circuit board.

The misconception between the two comes from the industry using the terms interchangeably. This rise in confusion is also formed due to printed wire boards becoming more and more obsolete with the vast use of printed circuit boards.

Perhaps the largest contrast between these two electronic masterpieces is that a PCB is a board with an entire completed circuit with prearranged components such as resistors, capacitors, diodes, transistors, inductors, and others. This implies that printed circuit boards are complete and ready to use straight from the manufacturer. Whereas a PWB requires the addition of electrical components in order for it to complete a whole circuit.

The PWB was used in the earlier days of electronics when they were still in their infancy. As technology progressed, printed circuit boards quickly took over the electronic arms race because of their advanced features, ease of use, and better design. Because the PCB offered more complex functions than the point-to-point PWB, the PWB became much more obsolete in electronic preproduction.

Due to the overwhelming use of printed circuit boards rather than printed wire boards nowadays, you can most likely get away with using either term, however, knowing the difference between the two is a key factor in the success of your electronic academics.

Another difference aside from the drastic elevation of complexity from the PWB to the PCB is the cost. Although they mostly maintain a lower cost, these incredibly important pieces of technology vary in price depending on quantity, configuration, component density, thermal requirements, and area of application.

In conclusion, there are several differences between a PWB and a PCB and while the PCB is more widely used, the term PWB isn’t entirely extinct. For example one of the electronic industries super power’s Japan more commonly uses PWB in order to avoid mixing up the abbreviation with polychlorinated biphenyls, a common poison used in the country. Although most will assume you are talking about a complete circuit board with onboard components, it is important to clarify to overseas clients or manufacturers when it comes to printed wire boards.

Call Us Today For A PWB Consultation

Here at Avanti Circuits, we’ve produced quality printed circuit boards for the electronic industry for over 35 years. Our expertise in the field of electronics allows for the accumulation of a high-quality reputation. If you have any questions about printed wire boards, printed circuit boards, the materials and components used, the manufacturing process, or a more detailed explanation of the difference between the two feel free to pick up the phone and give our friendly and knowledgeable team a call today. We can answer any questions you have about printed wire boards or printed circuit boards.

We value your time and appreciate your interest in our wonderful craft. Our team of experts is dedicated to providing proper printed wire board and printed circuit board education as well as quality services. Be sure to call us today for a PWB consultation.

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