A Dictionary of Abbreviations In The Electronics Manufacturing Industry.

Abbreviations in electronics manufacturing

Abbreviations and acronyms are all too common in most industries and the world of electronics manufacturing is no exception.  Abbreviations can’t be totally avoided, but using them as a default in all communications can create problems and confusion. You may know what they represent and believe that your colleagues will also have a full understanding, but that is not always the case. They can alienate unfamiliar audiences.  Even those who have been in the industry for years have been known from time to time to misconstrue an abbreviation and continue to use it with the wrong meaning!

Here is the Mek guide to 20 of the most common abbreviations in our industry, starting with the one that covers our very own area of expertise, AOI!


AOI Automated Optical Inspection or Automatic Optical Inspection.
Technique enabling fast, accurate inspection of electronic assemblies.
BGA Ball Grid Array
A component from the array family with bottom terminations shaped as balls
EMS Electronics Manufacturing Services.
EMS manage the design, manufacturing, testing, distribution, and provide repair for electronic components for OEMs.
ESD Electrostatic Discharge.
A sudden discharge of electric current which can damage your products.
HDI High Density Interconnect.
A form of connection between layers that accommodate for high input/output density of advanced packages in PCBs and substrates.
IC Integrated Circuit
A collection of electronic components on a small flat piece of semiconductor material, usually silicon
LED Light Emitting Diode
A type of diode which emits light when current is flowing through it.
OEM Original Equipment Manufacturer
An organization that makes devices from component parts bought from other organizations.
PLCC Plastic Leaded Chip Carrier
A form of SMD IC package that can either be soldered to the board or mounted in a socket.
PTH Plated Through Hole
A metalised structure formed in a PCB by a plating process where a base metal is deposited inside drilled holes, thus connecting external and internal layers of copper foil.
 PCB Printed Circuit Board
A board that has traces and pads connected together to create a circuit. Electronic components are soldered onto a PCB to add capabilities.
PCBA Printed Circuit Board Assembly
A PCB populated with electronic components
QFN Quad Fine pitch No-Lead
Leadless quad packages soldered directly on the PCB, generally with a central thermal pad and peripheral terminations
QFP Quad Flat Pack
A SMD component with Gull-Wing leads exciting all 4 sides of the component body
SAC The general abbreviation used for a solder ally consisting of Tin, Silver and Copper.
SMD Surface Mounted Devices
Components that are mounted directly onto the board
SMT Surface Mount Technology
An installation method where the components are mounted directly on the surface of a PCB
SPI Solder Paste Inspection
Checks the solder paste deposits on the PCB. Can reduce defects related to improper solder paste printing.
SSM Selective Solder Machine.
Used to solder components to PCBs that could be damaged by the heat of a traditional surface-mount technology or through-hole technology assembly process
THT Through-Hole Technology.
A technique where components are placed and soldered in holes in the PCB structure




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