Machined vs. Formed Snaps

by Andy on March 30, 2012

There are many considerations when creating an ESD-safe work place and one of the biggest is reducing static electricity from humans. Wrist straps are the most common method of grounding an operator at a workstation, but there are some options to look into when purchasing them. An important, but often overlooked, factor is how the snaps are made.

Desco Wrist StrapMachined snaps are made by grinding or cutting a piece of metal into the shape needed. They benefit from increased precision, but can cost more than formed snaps.

Formed snaps are made by stamping a shape into a piece of metal. These can be made much faster and easier, so they tend to be cheaper, but you lose out on the exactness of the machined snaps.

Overall, formed snaps are good for most non-critical applications, especially if you normally sit at your workstation. If precision is important or if you find that your wrist strap accidentally disconnects, then you may want to look into machined snaps.

By using wrist straps with machined snaps you can prevent many accidental disconnects, and also have assurance that the snap will consistently provide a path to ground. Gene Bliley wrote an article for Evaluation Engineering on reducing accidental release problems for his company. It is an interesting read and shows how effective using machined snaps can be if you are having problems with formed snaps. There are many options on the market to get machined snap wrist straps, and if you want more protection some companies offer magnetic snaps.

Has your company had any problems with their ESD-safe program? Leave a comment on what the problem was and how your company fixed it!

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