When your field is electronics manufacturing or you are a student of electronics chances are you may have come across the terms PWB and PCB.  The difference between these two electronic items is subtle and there is really no correct term officially. Here are some differences for you to consider when using them.

Industry Definition

The term PWB refers to printed wiring board technology.  According to FIREPLOT software specialists, it refers to the substrate usually epoxy glass to provide component attachments and interconnections in order to create a fully functioning electronic circuit. PCB or printed circuit board on the other hand refers to the width; side-to-side as well as multi-layer relationship of conductor runs has or is designed to have a specific effect on the operation of a circuit other than merely a point-to-point connection.  The subtle difference that is referred to between the two is that the latter focuses more on the completed circuits on a board while the former refers chiefly to the board itself.

In the US electronics industry, the terms PWB and PCB is used interchangeably. The term PWB is an older term that was mainly used more frequently for the boards when the electronics industry was just in its starting phase.  At the time, the main point of contention was that it was merely a point-to-point connection on the boards and nothing more.  However, advances in technology required the term PCB to be used only for new document development due to the fact that printed circuitry design has a major impact on its functionality.

Role of Geography

According to PARCAM with EXT software specialists, geography plays a major role in terms of how the terms are used. For instance, PCB is more commonly used in the United States whereas the term PWB is more in use in Japan.  The Japanese preferred the term PWB to avoid confusion with PCB, which is also a kind of poison known as polychlorinated biphenyls.

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