If there’s one aspect of Printed Circuit Boards that continues to confound users it’s their nomenclature. For the longest time, countless online platforms used terms like PCB, PWB and PB interchangeably, which did nothing but confuse readers.
To put an end to this cycle of misinformation, we’ve compiled a definitive guide of the different types of Printed Boards (PBs) commercially available today. So, if you can’t tell your PCBs from your PWBs, then read this guide to better understand the subtle variations and differences.
The Printed Board:The Printed Board (or the PB as it is commonly called) is by far the most basic term used to describe a circuit board. It is essentially an umbrella term that can refer to all types of printed boards such as printed circuit boards, printed wiring boards, and printed circuit assembly, etc.
The Printed Wiring Board:The Printed Wiring Board (PWB) is widely considered to be a direct predecessor to the Printed Circuit Board. The advent of the PWB single handedly ended the era of point to point wiring connections but it wasn’t until the introduction of PCBs when this inefficient practice was completely abandoned.
The Printed Wire Assembly:The Printed Wire Assembly technology is a staple of Information Technology and computer sciences. This innovation addressed the errors of the Printed Wiring Board and is widely considered to be a transitional invention until the advent of PCBs.
The Printed Circuit Board:The Printed Circuit Board is by far the most commonly used type of printed board commercially available today. This device was first proposed by German innovator Albert Hanson back in 1903 and, after decades of gradual improvements, is among the most efficient ways of making circuit connections.
Generally speaking, a Printed Circuit Board (PCB) has multiple layers of conducting wire placed on an insulating board. The device is unbelievably sleek, incredibly reliable, and is the biggest reason why electronic devices and electrical circuits have drastically reduced in size in recent years.
The Printed Circuit Assembly:The Printed Circuit Assembly used to be a unique derivative of the Printed Circuit Board technology when it was first introduced. However, once the official definition of the Printed Circuit Board changed back in 1999, the two terms can be used interchangeably.
The Printed Circuit Board Assembly:The Printed Circuit Board Assembly is exactly the same as a normal Printed Circuit Board, which begs the question, why use this term at all, right? Well, the answer to that question is rather straightforward.
Just like soccer is called football in Asia and Europe, Printed Circuit Boards are called Printed Circuit Board Assembly in these regions. In other words, the Printed Circuit Board Assembly is just the Asian/European name for the Printed Circuit Board.
And that concludes our list of the different types of Printed Boards commercially available today. We hope that this clears up the confusion and that you know now which term to use in any given situation.
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Get in touch with us today for all your PCB design, assembly, and manufacturing needs!