Asia based production of PCBs represents >85% of global supply.

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Glossary of terms

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Term Definition
ECL   A type of unsaturated logic performed by emitter-coupled transistors. Higher speeds may be achieved with ECL than are obtainable with standard logic circuits. ECL is costly, power hungry, and difficult to use, but it is four times faster than TTL. [Graf]
eco-efficiency   The delivery of competitively priced goods and services that satisfy human needs and bring quality of life, while progressively reducing environmental impacts and resource intensity throughout the life cycle, to a level at least in line with the earth’s estimated carrying capacity.
edge clearance   The smallest distance a component or track is from the edge of a PCB.
edge connector   (hole style for a connecting component) . A connector on the circuit-substrate edge in the form of lines of coated holes used to connect to another circuit board or electronic device.
edge contact  See gold finger.
edge-card connector   (finger style). A pluggable connector specifically used for making non-permanent interconnections to contacts plated on the edge of a circuit board. Typically nickel/gold plated for durability and protection against mechanical or corrosive damage.
EIA   (Electronics Industry Association). A trade association representing the US high-technology community. Responsible for publishing numerous design standards.
EIPC   (European Institute of Printed Circuits), based in Switzerland, is an international service provider to the European Interconnection and Packaging Industry (
ejector   See board extractor.
electrical noise   Variations from a nominal operational voltage or current value on a power or signal line. Circuits are usually designed to function within a noise tolerance band or allowable noise budget.
electrochemical migration   Gradual movement of corrosive or conductive materials that may create unwanted circuit paths and cause performance degradation or failure. Migration is usually caused by exposure of existing contaminant residues or bare metal surfaces to a combination of high humidity, elevated temperatures, and an electrical potential.
electro-deposition   The deposition of a conductive material from a plating solution by the application of electrical current.
electroless plating   A process for chemically depositing metallic material on a nonconductive surface. It is primarily used for metallising holes in a circuit board to prepare them for addition of electroplated metal.
EMI/EMC   Electromagnetic interference (EMI) is the detrimental effect stray radiated electromagnetic energy has on the performance of a circuit. Electromagnetic compatibility (EMC) involves the control and reduction of this energy.
emulator   A representation (hardware or software) of an electronic device or function that simulates its behaviour. It is used to verify performance of a circuit design by analysis.
emulsion   A stable combination of two or more immiscible (unmixable) materials suspended in a surrounding medium.
end-to-end design   Integrating the inputs and outputs of CAE, CAD and CAM software packages to allow design to flow smoothly in both directions with minimal manual intervention. In the field of board design, end-to-end design sometimes refers to only the electronic schematic/PCB layout interface. Childers points out that this is a narrow view of the potentialities of the concept. For example, end-to-end systems can also implement electronic circuit simulation, parts procurement and beyond.
energy recovery   The recovery of useful energy in the form of heat and/or power from burning waste. Generally applied to incineration, but can also include the combustion of landfill gas and gas produced during anaerobic digestion.
engineering change notice   (ECN ). A document that describes and controls engineering design or documentation changes.
engineering change order   (ECO ). A document that describes and controls engineering design or documentation changes.
enterprise resource planning   (ERP). Describes software systems designed to manage most or all aspects of a manufacturing or distribution enterprise (an expanded version of MRP systems). ERP systems are usually broken down into modules such as Financials, Sales, Purchasing, Inventory Management, Manufacturing, MRP, and DRP. The modules are designed to work seamlessly with the rest of the system and should provide a consistent user interface between them. These systems usually have extensive set-up options that allow you to customize their functionality to your specific business needs. Unfortunately, in the real world, ERP systems rarely are sufficient to meet all business needs and a myriad of other software packages such as Customer Relationship Management (CRM), Manufacturing Execution Systems (MES), Advanced Planning and Scheduling (APS), Warehouse Management Systems (WMS) and Transportation Management Systems (TMS) are being sold to make up for these deficiencies.
environment   The surrounding conditions in which an assembly exists and functions, including temperature, humidity, altitude, vibration, shock, etc.
Environment Protection Agency   (EPA). The principal environmental regulator in England and Wales. Established in April 1996 to combine the functions of former waste regulation authorities, the National Rivers Authority and Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Pollution. Intended to promote improved waste management and consistency in waste regulation across England and Wales.
environmental accounting   Any quantitative approach to linking financial and environmental performance.
environmental footprint   The impact of an organisation in environmental terms (resource use, waste generation, physical environmental changes etc).
epoxy smear   Epoxy resin which has been deposited on edges of copper in holes during drilling either as uniform coating or in scattered patches. It is undesirable because it can electrically isolate the conductive layers from the plated-through-hole interconnections.
epoxy(epoxide)   A family of thermosetting resin materials having high strength and low shrinkage during curing; used as a coating or adhesive.
EPROM   (Electrically Programmable Read Only Memory). A device that allows data stored in it to be erased and new data input to it, usually by exposure to ultraviolet radiation.
ESD (electrostatic discharge)   The rapid transfer of a voltage potential into a circuit or component. Depending on its sensitivity to ESD, the overstress can permanently damage a component.
ESR   Electro-statically applied Solder Resist.
etch (etching)   Chemical removal of material, usually associated with defining conductor patterns on a circuit board.
etch-back   Chemical removal of dielectric material in the barrels of holes in a multilayer board. The purpose is to increase exposure of internal conductor areas (usually pads) to enhance physical and electrical contact with metal to be plated in those holes.
EU Directive   A European Union (formerly EC-European Community) legal instruction, binding on all Member States but which must be implemented through national legislation within a prescribed time-scale.
eutectic (alloy)   An alloy of two or more metals that has a lower melting point than either of its constituents. The alloy can pass (reversibly) from solid into the liquid state without an intermediate plastic phase. Eutectic tin-lead solder is usually regarded as having the proportion 63% tin to 37% lead.
EWC (European Waste Catalogue)   A list of codes and waste descriptions establishes under European law. It includes the hazardous waste list.
excess solder   A solder connection characterised by the complete obscuring of the connected metal surfaces or by the presence of solder beyond the connection area. The connection appears as a rounded, piled-up, convex solder fillet, and it is impossible to determine if a proper bond has been achieved.
exempt facility   A waste recovery operation (also occasionally certain disposal at the waste producer and some storage activities) registered with, but not licensed by, the Environment Agency. Exempt facilities are subject to general rules (e.g. on the types and quantities of wastes received).
eyelet   A short metallic tube with ends that can be formed outward to fasten it within a hole in the base laminate of a printed circuit board.