Common Terms and Abbreviations in Mechanical Maintenance
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Common Terms and Abbreviations in Mechanical Maintenance

  • Katarina Knafelj Jakovac

    February 2, 2024

In any given day, you've probably had conversations with at least a dozen people, and I bet you've used at least a handful of abbreviations.

Everywhere around us, we encounter abbreviations for countless concepts in everyday life, such as aka, wifi, lol, btw, rl, go, f2f, b4, and the like.

The definition of abbreviations or acronyms in the dictionary reads:

Abbreviations are shortened forms of incomplete words in writing.

They have been used since ancient times for various reasons, such as saving writing material, efforts in engraving words in stone or metal, and for faster writing, among others. They are commonly used for measures and currency names, personal names, honorary titles, occupational labels, and frequently repeated words.

There are numerous reasons for the everyday use of abbreviations in speech and writing. Abbreviations enable easy understanding and memorization of complex concepts and formulas.

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Source: Created by colleagues from Neuros

Additionally, they facilitate the quick and efficient transfer of information, especially in the creation of technical manuals or reporting.


Maintenance of physical assets is one of the many industrial sectors that possess and use a specific language composed of hundreds of specialized terms, concepts, and abbreviations.

When we add the linguistic specificities of each country or region to this, the situation can sometimes become daunting.

Mechanical maintenance predominantly uses English terms and numerous abbreviations that have become ingrained in the Croatian language, indispensable in everyday communication.

Whether you are an experienced engineer or a beginner in the engineering profession, it's easy to get lost among the plethora of abbreviations and terms from the English-speaking domain that we have simply adopted and accepted as a matter of course because:

a) these are words that are constantly repeated
b) there is no unique Croatian translation or it is terribly awkward
c) written and verbal communication is easier, simplified, with a minimum loss of time and nerves.

No matter which industry you work in, one thing is certain: nobody is born with complete knowledge of professional terminology and all existing and future abbreviations. It's essential to always stay informed and systematically upgrade your knowledge of technical terminology.


AbbreviationDefinition of the term
ACHEAir-Cooled Heat Exchanger
AIMAsset integrity management
AIPAsset investment planning
ALMAsset lifecycle management
APCAdvanced process control
APIAmerican Petroleum Institute
ASMEAmerican Society of Mechanical Engineers
ASTMAmerican Society for Testing and Materials
ASVAnti Surge Valve
BOMBill of materials
BPIBusiness process improvement
BPVBack pressure valve
CBLCompetency based learning
CDUcontrol distribution unit
CFDcomputational fluid dynamics
CbM or CMCondition Based Monitoring / Condition Monitoring
CILCritical items list
CMMSComputer maintenance management system/software
CoCCertificate of conformity
CUICorrosion Under Insulation
DCSDistributed Control System
EDG/EDGEEmergency Diesel Generator
ECMSElectrical Control and Monitoring System
EHUElectro-Hydraulic Unit
EMCSEnergy Management and Control Systems
EPCengineering, procurement and construction
EPUElectrical Power Unit
ERPEnterprise resource planning
ESDEmergency Shut-Down
ESPElectric Submersible Pump
FCVFlow Control Valve
FDFForced Draft Fan
FDSfunctional design specification
FEEDfront-end engineering design
FIfinal inspection
FLAPfluid level above pump
FMFacility management
FMEAFailure modes, & effects analysis
FMECAFailure Modes Effects Criticality Analysis.
FOFFace of Flange
FRACASFailure Reporting, Analysis, and Corrective Action
FTRFunction Test Report
GTC/GGas Turbine Compressor/Generator
HACCPhazard analysis and critical control points
HAZOPHazard and Operability Study
HHPHydraulic Horsepower
HSEHealth, Safety and Environment
HVDCHigh Voltage Direct Current
IMRInspection Maintenance and Repair
IOMInstallation, Operation and Maintenance Manual
IRCInspection Release Certificate
KPIKey Performance Indicator
LDARLeak Detection and Repair
LUMachinery lubrication
MITMechanical Integrity Test
MMMechanical Maintenance
MOCManagement of change
MRPMaterial Requirements planning
MROMaintenance, Repair, and Overhaul
MTBFMean time between failures
MTTFMean time to failure
MTTRMean time to repair
NACENational Association of Corrosion Engineers
NBNominal Bore
NDTNondestructive Testing
NRVNon Return Valve
O&MOperations and Maintenance
ODROperator driven reliability
OEEOverall Equipment Effectiveness
OEMOriginal Equipment Manufacturer
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ORMOperability Reliability Maintainability
OTPOperational Test Procedure
OTSOperator training simulator / operator training system
PMPreventive Maintenance
PdMPredictive Maintenance
PFDProcess Flow Diagram
P&IDProcess and Instrument Diagram
P&IPiping and instrumentation diagram
PMPlanned maintenance
PMIPositive material identification
PMOPlanned Maintenance Optimization
PLCProgrammable logic controller
PPPump pressure
PPMPart per million
PRVPlant Replacement Value
PSMProcess safety management
QCQuality control
QCRQuality Control Report
RBIRisk based inspection
RCDReliability centred design
R&MRepair and Maintenance
R&MReliability & Maintainability
RAMReliability, Availability, and Maintainability
RCARoot Cause Analysis
RCFARoot Cause Failure Analysis
RCMReliability-centered maintenance
ROIReturn on investment
RPNRisk Priority Number
SAMPStrategic asset management plan
SILSafety integrity level
SOPStandard operating procedure
SPCStatistical Process Control
TQMTotal Quality Management
TQMTotal Productive Maintenance
VISMEViscosity Measurement
WIWork instruction
WMSWarehouse management system
WOWork order

A table with a list of abbreviations will serve as a cheat sheet for mastering the terminology in mechanical maintenance and as a quick reference for clarifying specific terms.

Alphabetically, I have listed the most commonly used abbreviations in English that are regularly mentioned in the process industry. In the second column of the table, the full English term is provided.

Understanding and using abbreviations in mechanical maintenance will expedite and facilitate your navigation in the complex world of asset management.

For effective asset management, every company must define numerous concepts and adopt them into business practices and all aspects of maintenance.

What happens once you have adopted all the definitions and concepts? You must disseminate and spread them at all levels of the company.

And be sure to devise appropriate abbreviations, as younger generations especially prefer them ­čśŐ

Katarina Knafelj Jakovac
Katarina Knafelj Jakovac social media icon
February 1, 2024

Katarina Knafelj Jakovac holds Master degree in Mechanical engineering with long term work experience in Oil industry. She is Certified Reliability Leader specialized for mechanical equipment and operational excellence. Author of blog Strojarska Radionica (Mechanical Workshop) where she shares professional knowledge and personal experience in maintaining various rotating machines, machine systems and process equipment. Adores mechanics, thermal engineering and internal combustion engines. She is dedicated to the continuous improvement of machine maintenance and quality management of physical assets.