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What is a Printed Wiring Board (PWB)

The electronics field is intricate, whereby different phenomena happen in this field. Making use of acronyms and abbreviations, most especially those with three letters could become an issue to professionals and students in that field as this could cause some confusion.

PWB is similar to PCB and both are commonly used when it comes to the electronics designing and production field. Therefore, it becomes necessary to know the differences between the two.

In this article, we will be considering what printed wiring boards are, which is our focus. Then we will discuss the major factors affecting the way printed wiring boards perform. Lastly, we will focus on the differences between the printed wiring board and printed circuit board.

If you wish to gain full knowledge regarding this topic, please stay on this page, we promise to explain in detail all you need to know.

What are Printed Wiring Boards?

Printed wiring boards, just like the printed circuit boards are very important for all electronic devices. They were introduced back then in the early 1950s. This served as the building block for any electronic packaging.

One important feature of a printed wiring board is getting the highest components count for each square inch of printed wiring board (PWB). We call this component density. Therefore, a good number of packaging techniques came to be. These include Chip on Board, Chip Scale Packaging (CSP) and Ball Grid Array.

Furthermore, the components of the surface mount have a miniature size. Also they are used extensively in the majority of printed wiring boards. This offers maximum density of the component, coupled with providing some maintenance for the thermal, electrical, and the signal integrity of the device.

Also present are different materials which are useful for the PCB substrate. Notably, FR4 is the most commonly used.

What are the Major Factors Affecting the Way Printed Wiring Boards Perform?

The way printed wiring boards perform can be affected. Below are the main factors.

The Printed Wiring Board’s Speed of Operation

One important factor in printed wiring board’s interconnection design is the speed of operation of electronic devices. Also, the speed of signal proportion has an inverse proportion to the Dk (dielectric constant) of the printed wiring board’s substrate material.

Furthermore, the time of flight is known as the propagation time of the signal, which has a direct proportion to the conductors’ length and has to be kept completely short of making sure that a system’s electrical performance is kept at an optimum. When higher than 25MHz, printed wiring boards (PWBs) make use of the micro-strips and strip-lines to achieve this purpose.

The Power Consumption of the Printed Wiring Board

Increasing the gates number, as well as clock rates will lead to an increase in the consumption of power. You must take great care for switching circuits of high speed where current flow of ground return is optimally channeled. In addition, there must be a separate or different ground plane in multilayer printed wiring boards (PWBs). This is mainly to ensure that there is a current flow of low resistance. Furthermore, there’s a need for a bus bar system made different. Also, this is preferable for circuits of high power.

Thermal Management

Printed wiring boards are poor heat conductors. Therefore, you must take proper care when using the methods for the dissipation of the heat that has been generated by the printed wiring board’s power consumption. Metal slugs, as well as conductive planes, heat vias, heat sinks in printed wiring boards, are very good techniques.

PWB vs. PCB: What are the Differences?

The differences between printed wiring boards and circuit boards are outlined below:


During the comparison of the Printed wiring board and printed circuit board, one of the most obvious and important differences is that the printed circuit board (PCB) has to do with a board having the entire circuitry. While Printed Wiring Boards have to do with a board that has no components.

What this means is that PCBs are already completed circuit boards. They are set for installation in electronic devices. Furthermore, PWB helps in indicating the rudimentary circuit board production. Also it shows the usefulness of a circuit board in electronics, which doesn’t need complex functionality.

Area and Location

Both words are used in different ways depending on the area and location. Take for example, with respect to the United States of America’s industry for electronics production, they can interchange both terms.

Printed Wiring Board was the term used back then. This was a time when the electronics world was still in the infant stage. All through the beginning time of the industry, printed wiring boards were deemed fit as the right name or term due to the connections present on the boards that were majorly from just a point to the other.

Later on, printed circuit boards were introduced when there was a great advancement in the levels of the technology of circuit boards. At first, restriction was placed on this compound noun for internal use alone; circuit as a term was very useful as the printed circuit board provided extra complex functions.

Moreover, with the great advancements in technology, PCB got to the whole population, which has now restricted printed wiring boards (PWBs) to the preproduction of electronics.

Printed wiring boards are known as the design substrate having no component attached to it. Asides from its etching bit, printed wiring boards also feature openings. This allows the soldering in of electrical components, as well as through them.

Asides from the fitting of electrical components, printed wiring boards have to go through some physical and chemical processes before they become finalized into printed circuit boards.

This came from printed circuit board design, which plays a huge role in the functionality of the course.


This is the end of our article on printed wiring boards. We have been able to explain what it is. We also explained how it is different from the printed circuit boards. If there’s any aspect of the article where you need more clarification on, please feel free to drop your questions. We have experts in the field that are ready to help you out.




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