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Definitions for jargon, scientific terms and phrases used at Harwin and across the connector and electronics industries.

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Acronym for Insulation Displacement Connector. A type of connector compatible for use with ribbon cable. The connector has a row of sharp contact points, that pierce the insulation either side of each ribbon cable conductor. The conductor is forced down to bottom-out on the contact between the two points, compressing the conductor onto the inside faces of the contact for a good electrical joint. Typically the connector is designed with a separate cover that snaps over the ribbon cable to keep it in place in the field.

IGES Files

A file format for exchange of 3D virtual models across different makes of Computer Aided Design programs. IGES is an acronym for Initial Graphics Exchange Specification (IGES) (pronounced eye-jess). Originally developed by the United States Air Force, the file format was last updated in 1996, after the STEP File format became popular, but is still widely used today. Files are given the extension .iges or .igs.


The measure of opposition to a current when voltage is applied. Similar to resistance, but impedance has both magnitude and phase, and therefore applies to AC circuits. A DC circuit would have no distinction between impedance and resistance. The SI unit of impedance is the Ohm (Ω).


The production of an electromotive force (voltage) in a conductor by using a changing magnetic field. The magnetic field can itself be produced by current in a separate conductor.

Inductive Coupling

Two conducting elements are inductively coupled if the change in current through one wire induces a change in current in the other, by means of induction. It can be intentional (and therefore required) or unintentional (and therefore not desirable).

Insertion Force

The amount of force required to fully engage two mating contacts or connectors. This force does not include anything contributed by mechanical fixings - it is purely to overcome the spring forces that will make the mated pair pass electricity. This force is normally quoted in specifications as being a maximum force requirement, but may also have a minimum.

Insulation Displacement Connector


Insulation, Insulating Material

A material having a very low conductivity. Often a plastic material but can also be rubber, PTFE, PVC, etc. where flexibility is required (such as a cable insulator). When placed around a conductor, it prevents the electric current being passed from the conducting element to other nearby conducting elements or conductive materials (such as a metal enclosure). When used on a connector, usually doubles up as the main structure of the connector - holding the contacts in the right place, adding polarization and alignment features, etc.


That part of a connector, cable or other device made from an insulating material that provides the insulation between contacts or other conducting materials.

Interconnect Device

See Connector


Association Connecting Electronics Industries (formerly the Institute for Printed Circuits).


Standard "IPC/WHMA-A-620: Acceptability of Electronic Wire Harnesses and Cables" is widely used across multiple industries as the de-facto method of manufacturing and inspecting cable assemblies. From the WHMA website "The IPC/WHMA-A-620 standard prescribes practices and requirements for the manufacture of cable, wire and harness assemblies. The standard describes materials, methods, tests and acceptability criteria for producing crimped, mechanically secured and soldered interconnections, and the related assembly activities (corresponding lacing/restraining criteria) associated with cable and harness assemblies. Any method that produces an assembly conforming to the acceptability requirements described in this standard may be used."

ISO 9001

Part of the collection of ISO 9000 international standards that encourage the use of quality management systems. ISO 9001 details the specific requirements that organisations must fulfil, and will be assessed against. To be certified to ISO 9001, a company must develop the quality management system in line with the standard, then pass a number of audits by one of the authorized accreditation bodies. Further audits will be carried out on a regular schedule to continue to keep the certification.