ESD News

ESD 101: Are You Equipped for Basic Protection?

by Julie S. on August 24, 2015

ESD 101--Are You Equipped for Basic ProtectionHow do you manage static? First and foremost your workstation must limit electrostatic voltages and ESD (electrostatic discharge) or it’s not doing its job. Begin by grounding all work surfaces, people and equipment to the same electrical ground point or “common point ground.”

You can take a variety of precautions to limit risk to sensitive devices, but depending on your situation, they may not all be necessary. For example, what about your personnel? Are they stationary or mobile? What’s mandatory or suggested for one may be optional for the other.

As you design your unique ESD workstation, you’ll need to weigh the relevant factors; however, the following list of equipment is common and generally standard for basic ESD protection:

  • Table Mat
  • Floor Mat and Ground Cord
  • Wrist Band and Coil Cord Set
  • Heel Grounders
  • Constant Monitors
  • ESD Jackets
  • ESD Equipment Testers
  • Air Ionizers

How does your ESD protection program measure up? If it’s getting a mediocre or failing grade, don’t worry; you don’t have to go back to school. The ESD Association can help you implement standards into your day-to-day operations.

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How Often Should You Test Your Wrist Strap SystemWhen do you measure your wrist strap’s resistance? At the beginning of your shift?  What about re-testing after breaks or before you’re allowed to enter the ESD Protected Area (EPA)?

Your company probably has established protocols in place for wrist strap testing, but at some point while handling ESD sensitive devices, your wrist strap system will fail.

And, when this happens it’s always hard to determine exactly when the failure took place and how much product is at risk. If you’re resistant to continuous monitoring systems, here are a few reasons why you should consider integrating them into your daily operations:

  • When there’s a problem, constant monitors notify operators immediately, so no product is handled until the problem is resolved.
  • They eliminate the possibility of a functional wrist strap but a defective ground attachment because the systems monitor the wrist straps on the premises.
  • You won’t need to record and store test results anymore.
  • Some systems also monitor the connection from the work surface to ground.

You are also likely to see long-term cost savings from constant monitoring due to lower rejection rates of devices. So, all in all, today’s wrist strap monitoring doesn’t have to be a constant struggle.

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Serve Up Better, Scratch-Made Goodness with Conductive Blow Molded CasesIt’s always better when you make it from scratch. It’s always exactly like you want it because you create it. The same goes for scratch-made Conductive Blow Molded Cases from CCI.

CCIs tailor-made approach to ESD-safe packaging means your expensive circuit boards are protected to the nth degree. Custom thermoformed and foam interiors cushion components to exacting specifications.

These cases stack up to high-pressure situations, so you’ll never sweat over their stability. They’re built to withstand immense physical pressure. Double wall construction ensures durability over and over again, and a secure closure cinches the case!

Looking for more custom, ESD-safe solutions for shipping, handling or storage processes? Look no further than All-Spec. We’ve partnered with CCI to breathe life into your ideas. So, go ahead and dig into your scratch-made staples—and come back for seconds.

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What Will You Do with Two Untethered Hands?

by Julie S. on July 10, 2015

What Will You Do with Two Untethered HandsWhen it comes to protecting your static-sensitive devices, you could: A) protect them while wearing a wrist strap, or B) protect them while NOT wearing a wrist strap.

If you could protect your equipment from charges on your body and clothing—with one means of grounding—who wouldn’t choose option B?

The problem is most ESD garments are not conductive enough to do both. That’s why these static control garments from Tech Wear are so popular. They protect equipment from both types of charges and free your hands to do their job—all at the same time.

The garments’ ESD grid-knit cuffs form a contact patch around both wrists. Just snap the ground cord onto a hip pocket, and both you and the garment are grounded. The built-in wrist strap feature makes it easy to test the garment and grounding using traditional wrist strap testers. And, the design is compatible with continuous monitoring.

All Tech Wear garments, made of OFX-100 fabric with ESD knit cuffs or “keys,” satisfy ANSI/ESD STM 2.1-2013, Category 3 standards, so you can enjoy a little more freedom when you cut the cord. Look, Ma, no hands!

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Purge Paper from Your EPAESD, the silent chip killer, accounts for a few billion dollars in losses every year. You designed your ESD protection program to enhance product quality and reliability, but if your program allows paper in protected areas, it might not be worth the paper it’s written on.

Paper is an insulator. While the ANSI/ESD S20.20-2014 does not specifically mention paper, it does reference insulators. According to the industry standard, nonessential insulators, such as coffee cups, food wrappers and personal items, should be removed from your ESD protected area or EPA.

It’s also specific when it comes to handling a process-required insulator. Based on the field measured, steps should be taken to either separate the insulator from the ESD-sensitive item or neutralize the charge. Although paper tends to be low charging because it absorbs moisture, moisture content varies with humidity. Materials that are conductive in the Midwest in July, for example, may dry out during December.

The primary problem with paper? ESD-sensitive items placed on regular paper block the path-to-ground of the grounded ESD mat. Your best bet is to follow best practice, and go with All-Spec’s ESD-safe paper, or keep regular paper in a dissipative document holder. We also carry binders, clipboards, pouches and more for use in your static-sensitive environment.

Remember, paper and any other object or person can be a source of static electricity. Minimize loss in your environment by removing unnecessary nonconductors, replacing nonconductive materials with dissipative or conductive materials and grounding all conductors, regardless of the activity. That’s a plan that looks as good on paper as it does in practice.

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