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ABI Turns 40! 1983-2023: Our journey so far



June 2023



ABI Electronics is the world’s leading supplier of specialist electronic test and measurement equipment and a renowned contract electronics manufacturer. But how did ABI become the industry trailblazer that it is today?



After our founder Ian stepped on an electronic IC and wondered ‘if it still works?’, the concept of ABI’s fledgling product was born in 1983. As an answer to his question, Ian produced the ICT-24 – the world’s first low-cost digital IC tester. The product was presented to an electronics catalogue and the rest is history! ABI won several awards for entrepreneurship and pioneering design in their early years – a spirit that we continue to carry with us today.


In 1985, ABI began to grow rapidly and was not limited to the UK or even Europe – we began to expand to all corners of the globe. A network of distributors was created to ensure that everyone had access to ABI products – the relationships with our distributors have helped the business go from strength to strength, and our relationships with our overseas partners remain crucial to our success.


In 1998, such was the rate of growth that ABI moved into our new premises in Dodworth, Barnsley where our headquarters remain today. ABI has always been passionate about keeping the design and production of all our products in-house, which we have been able to achieve consistently for 40 years.


ABI continued to grow in the 2000’s with the introduction of many popular specialist products that have changed the troubleshooting and repair process as we know it. The SYSTEM 8 BoardMaster range was released and remains our most popular product; closely followed by the JTAGMaster series in 2007 and the SENTRY counterfeit IC detector in 2009. As our products have evolved, our software has evolved with it – all our software is produced in-house by our talented design team who ensure that the user’s experience is as smooth and simple as possible.


In 2015, ABI Electronics founded the Repair, Don’t Waste hashtag and movement to convey the sustainability and cost-effectiveness of repair over replacement. By sharing news of sustainability measures in the electronics industry, raising awareness of the E-waste that industrial electronics create, and showcasing companies who are repairing circuit boards with ABI’s equipment, the movement has grown from strength to strength and helped us to connect with companies around the world who are looking to increase their sustainability contributions through repair.


When the COVID-19 pandemic hit in 2020, ABI turned to the internet to engage with our customers like many companies did but did so by creating ABI Labs – a YouTube series that would help customers use their equipment to the best of its abilities. 2020 also brought increased demand for our equipment as the looming chip shortage meant that replacement of PCBs was no longer a viable option due to incredibly long lead times and shortages.


Looking towards the future – what is next for ABI? With right-to-repair movements exploding all over the world, and repair rightly becoming increasingly popular as society shifts into a more sustainable mindset, the future looks bright for ABI. By championing repair over replacement, companies can add ABI’s credentials to their ESG arsenal by investing in in-house repair solutions. And with the continuous development of new technologies, we are assured that PCB repair will become more important than ever to ensure the continuous maintenance of such systems.


All of the success that ABI has gained over the years would not be possible without our suppliers, partners, customers, distributors and staff – both past and present – and we would like to say a huge thank you to all who have made it possible for ABI to be where we are today.



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