PCB fabricators in Asia typically pay more attention to environmental, health and safety compliance than North American PCB firms.


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Glossary of terms

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Term Definition
I/O connectors   Connectors that are the interface between a PCA’s input/output signals and the outside world.
IC (integrated circuit)   A device in which all the interconnected electronic circuit elements that enable the component to perform a specific function are fabricated on a single substrate of semiconductor material, most commonly silicon. Produced , called a ‘chip’ or ‘die’, which is placed in a plastic or metal package with terminals for external connections. Commonly referred to as a die or chip.
Icicle   A projection from a solder joint, with a conical shape and a sharp point, which is not acceptable even though it does not make contact with another conductor. (Also referred to as a ‘peak’)
ICT (In-Circuit Test)   An electrical test of an assembly in which each component is tested individually for electrical function, to verify correct placement and orientation. Connections to each part are usually made by a bed-of-nails fixture, using a test method which effectively isolates the component from the rest of the circuitry, allowing it to be tested as a stand-alone device.
IEC   (International Electrotechnical Commission). The IEC is a world organization that prepares and publishes standards for electrical electronic, and related technologies.
imaging   The process of transferring electronic data to the photo-plotter, which in turn uses light to transfer a negative image circuitry pattern onto the panel or film.
immersion plating   The chemical deposition of a thin metallic coating over certain basis metals that is achieved by a partial displacement of the basis metal.
impedance   The resistance to the flow of current, represented by an electrical network of combined resistance, capacitance and inductance reaction, in a conductor as seen by an AC source of varying time voltage. The unit of measure is ohms.
In-Circuit Test (ICT)   Electrical test of individual component or part of the circuit board instead of testing the whole circuit.
inclusions   Foreign particles, metallic or nonmetallic, that may be entrapped in an insulating material, conductive layer, plating, base material, or solder connection.
induction soldering   An interconnect method in which solder, generally as preforms, is reflowed.
industry standard   Processes, procedures, guidelines, and data formats that are widely used and recognized throughout the printed circuit industry.
infant mortal(ity)   A marginal component, circuit board, or solder joint that was not detected during production test or inspection, and fails a short time after being put into operation.
ink pattern   Applied to the surface of a circuit board through a screen or stencil, ink can be used to add markings or as a resist to define an interconnection pattern.
inkjetting   The dispersal of well-defined ink “dots” onto a PCB. Inkjet equipment uses heat to liquefy a solid ink pellet and change the ink into a liquid, which is then dropped via a nozzle onto the printed surface, where it quickly dries.
in-line machine   The term ‘in-line’ is applied to items of equipment that are arranged within a production flow line which uses conveyerised board handling. In fabrication, such conveyor systems are frequently used between etching, stripping and cleaning operations; the approach is used almost everywhere in board assembly. In-line machines may operate either a continuous process (as with etching or reflow soldering) or a discrete process (such as printing or component placement) where the board is removed from the conveyor, operated upon, and then returned. One requirement for in-line configuration is that the throughput of connected machines should be compatible: in-line machines are unusual in semi-conductor back-end processing, because wafer sawing, die bond, wire bond and encapsulation have different cycle times
inner-layers   The internal layers of laminate and metal foil within a multi-layer board.
Input/Output (I/O)   Refers to the number of interfaces (pins) on a device which receive or transmit data.
In-Situ Dynamic Thermal Cycling Stress Testing   An electronics testing method of exposing products from high to low temperature extremes for several cycles, which identities potential early product failures.
inspection overlay   A positive or negative transparency made from the production master and used as an inspection tool by placing over the board and checking for variances between the overlay pattern and the board pattern.
insufficient (solder)   A soldered connection where the conductors have the appearance of being tinned and wetted together without an adequate solder fillet; or there is incomplete coverage of one or more of the metal surfaces being joined.
insulation resistance   The electrical resistance between any pair of conductors which are intended to be isolated, such as connector contacts or printed wiring board conductor tracks.
insulator   A non-metallic material designed to prevent current flow.
integration   The marriage of an operational PCA with the system or product with which it is to function.
intelligent data   Electronic data that contains physical or functional information about an item (such as an electronic part), and also links to other information.
interchangeability   The characteristic of a design that allows direct replacement of one item with another without requiring any modifications.
interconnect stress test   (IST). The IST system is designed to quantify the ability of the total interconnect to withstand the thermal and mechanical strains, from the as manufactured state, until the products reaches the point of interconnect failure.
interconnection   The physical wiring or circuit pattern between components and individual units or subassemblies.
interconnection escapes   Conductor paths provided in a device footprint to give access to the part’s terminals.
intermetallic layer   Refers to the actual bond formed in soldering from the interdiffusion of two or more metals (e.g. copper/tin). The intermetallic layer is the most brittle part of the joint, and increases in depth in logarithmic proportion to both time and temperature during the soldering process. (Staying on the joint twice as long, or with an iron twice as hot, causes the intermetallic layer to become 10 times thicker.) The ideal intermetallic layer is continuous but thin.
internal layer   A conductive pattern which is contained entirely within a multi-layer printed board, performing an interconnection function which is not generally visible from the surface. Defects in metallisation may result in open-circuit or short-circuit conditions, so internal layers are always subject to rigorous inspection before laminating.
interstitial via hole   An embedded through-hole with connection of two or more conductor layers in a multilayer PCB.
IPC   Until 1999 IPC was the Institute for Interconnecting and Packaging Electronic Circuits. The new name is accompanied with an identity statement – Association Connecting Electronics Industries. IPC is a leading industry association and the final US authority on how to design and manufacture printed wiring. IPC develops and distributes standards, as well as other information of value to designers, users, suppliers, and fabricators globally.
IPC 6012B   Qualification and Performance Specification for Rigid Printed Boards
IPC 6016   Qualification and Performance Specification for High Density Interconnect (HDI) Layers or Boards
IPC 6018A   Establishes requirements for qualification and performance of high frequency (microwave) printed wiring boards.
IPC-1710A   OEM Standard for Printed Board Manufacturers' Qualification Profile. Developed by the OEM council of the IPC, the MQP sets the standard for assessing PWB manufacturers capabilities and allows PWB manufacturers to more easily satisfy customer requirements.
IPC-6013   Qualification and Performance Specification for Flexible Printed Boards
IPM   (Integrated Process Management). A six-step methodology that helps create the elements of a sound management system. Companies identify customer needs (Key Output Variables, “KOV”), the variables which impact these specifications (Key Input Variables, “KIV”) decide on control strategies and means to assess and improve the system. The objective of IPM is to free supervisors to conduct process improvement activity by empowering the workforce to run the day-to-day operation.
IR emitter   A source of light energy in the infrared spectrum.
IR reflow   Use of infrared energy to bring solder to its melting point.
ISO   (International Organization for Standardization). The stated mission of ISO is to promote the development of quality standards and related activities in the world to facilitate the international exchange of goods and services.
ISO 14001   An environmental management system (EMS) is a systematic approach to dealing with the environmental impacts of an organisation. It is a framework that enables an organisation of any size or type to control the impact of its activities, products or services on the natural environment. ISO 14001 Environmental management systems is an international standard that specifies the requirements.
ISO 18001   An internationally recognised standard and that is the benchmark for Health & Safety Management Systems certification. It promotes a safe and healthy working environment by providing a framework that allows your organisation to consistently identify and control its health and safety risks, reduce the potential for accidents, aid legislative compliance and improve overall performance. The standard has been updated to EN BS OHSAS 18001:2007 to parallel ISO 14001 and ISO 9000 for more consistency and to enable easier integration of environment, quality and health and safety management systems into one.
ISO 27001   Part of the growing ISO/IEC 27000 family of standards, is an Information Security Management System (ISMS) standard published in October 2005 by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC). Its full name is ISO/IEC 27001:2005 - Information technology -- Security techniques -- Information security management systems -- Requirements. ISO/IEC 27001 formally specifies a management system that is intended to bring information security under explicit management control. Being a formal specification means that it mandates specific requirements.
ISO 9000   A family of standards related to quality management systems and designed to help organizations ensure that they meet the needs of customers and other stakeholders (Poksinska et al, 2002 [1] ). The standards are published by ISO, the International Organization for Standardization, and available through National standards bodies. ISO 9000 deals with the fundamentals of quality management systems [2] ), including the eight management principles (Beattie and Sohal, 1999;[3] Tsim et al, 2002 [2]) on which the family of standards is based. ISO 9001 deals with the requirements that organizations wishing to meet the standard have to fulfil.
isotropic conductive adhesive   (ICA). The term isotropic means that the material has similar properties in all directions, so that an ICA may be used for the same sorts of application as a solder joint. However, the conductivity of adhesives filled with metallic particles is very much less (typically in the range 1–10% at best) than the metal from which it is formulated, despite containing perhaps 50–60% of metallic powder. See also anisotropic conductive adhesive.