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Stencil printing continues to be the dominant method of solder deposition in high-volume surface-mount assembly. Control of the amount of solder paste deposited is critical in the case of fine-pitch and ultrafine-pitch surface-mount assembly. The process is still not well understood as indicated by the fact that industry reports 52-71% surface-mount technology (SMT) defects are related to the solder paste stencil printing process. The purpose of this paper is to identify the critical variables that influence the volume, area, and height of solder paste deposited. An experiment was conducted to investigate the effects of relevant process parameters on the amount of solder paste deposited for ball grid arrays (BGAs) and quad flat packages (QFPs) of five different pitches ranging from 0.76 mm (30 mil) to 0.3 mm (12 mil). The effects of aperture size, aperture shape, board finish, stencil thickness, solder type, and print speed were examined. The deposited solder paste was measured by an inline fully automatic laser-based three-dimensional (3-D) triangulation solder paste inspection system. Analysis of variance (ANOVA) shows that aperture size and stencil thickness are the two most critical variables. A linear relationship between transfer ratio (defined as the ratio of the deposited paste volume to the stencil aperture volume) and area ratio (defined as the ratio of the area of the aperture opening to the area of the aperture wall) is proposed. The analysis indicates that the selection of a proper stencil thickness is the key to controlling the amount of solder paste deposited, and that the selection of maximum stencil thickness should be based on the area ratio. The experimental results are shown to be consistent with a theoretical model, which are also described.