Static Control Tips and Tricks Archives

Latex Gloves – Are You Allergic?


Many industrial manufacturing environments require workers to wear protective gloves, including during electronics and medical device production and assembly. Latex gloves not only protect workers from harmful chemicals but also protect products from worker contact and contamination during manufacturing Read more

ST 925 SMT Rework System–Three favorites combined into one nice savings


Save a few steps--and some money--with the Pace 925 SMT Rework System Pace has introduced a new low-cost “combination” system ideal for surface mount technology (SMT) rework. It’s worth adding up the savings by comparing the a la carte prices Read more

Metcal’s CV-5200 Connection Validation Soldering Station Changes Everything


You may or may not have heard about Metcal’s new soldering station, the CV-5200. The evolutionary tool removes much of the reliance on visual inspection of hand-soldered joints and adds a second, more technology-driven method for validating a successful Read more

ESD-Safe Trash Cans

Posted on by Andy in Static Control Tips and Tricks Leave a comment

ESD-Safe Trashcan About a month ago we went over 10 essential static control products, but of course those are not all of the ESD-safe items that you can use in your workplace. Two items that did not make it into the list are ESD-safe trash cans and ESD-safe trash liners.

You may think ESD-safe trash cans are unnecessary or superfluous, as once an item is thrown in the trash you typically do not need to protect it. That would be true, but having a static safe trash can is more about removing potential static generators than it is about keeping your trash safe. If you have to move your trash can around your work area or have to replace a liner every now and then, you do not want to have to worry about generating static every single time you interact with your trash can or liner.

So that is why we offer multiple ESD-safe trash cans and liners and suggest you use one in your work area. Be sure to keep your product safe from static damage, no matter where it may happen.


10 Soldering Accessories for your Workstation

Posted on by Andy in Soldering Tips and Tricks, Static Control Tips and Tricks Leave a comment

It is quite obvious that every soldering station needs a soldering iron, but what other items should you be using on your workbench? While worktop real estate can be hard to come by, here are 10 items that you should consider for your work area to make your projects easier and safer.

Soldering Workstation

1.     Fume Extractor: The flux used in both lead-free and leaded solder will release harmful fumes when melted, so it is important to have proper protection. A bench top fume extractor/absorber can help keep your air clean and breathable.

2.     ESD-Safe Mat: Proper grounding is essential in any ESD sensitive project. If your product can be damaged by static discharge then a properly grounded ESD-safe mat is the protection you need.

3.     Magnifier: In order to solder anything you need to be able to see what you are doing. If you are doing any precision work then magnification is essential, options include magnifiers, microscopes, and video inspection systems.

4.     Circuit Board Holder: You want your hands to be free to work with the soldering iron and solder, so having a vise or work holder is essential for those of us with only two hands.

5.     Solder Wire Holder: Having a proper solder dispenser can help keep your work flowing smoothly. A stationary holder can keep your solder wire from rolling away, and make one handed solder feeding much easier.

6.     Solder Tip Cleaning Sponge: While you are working you need to keep your solder tips clean to ensure a long lifespan. Many soldering irons and stations come with sponges, but having a clean sponge or wire pad can be a solder tip saver.

7.     ESD-Safe Pliers: Sometimes you need precision or a little extra leverage when working with your components. From bending to twisting, ESD-safe pliers can give you a better grasp on your project.

8.     Vacuum Pick-Up Pen: If you need to move small, delicate pieces around your project, vacuum pick-up pens may be your best bet. They have the added benefit of being gentler than pliers, allowing you to place sensitive parts where you need them.

9.     Flush Cutters: When you have a small piece of a component sticking out that you need to clip off, flush cutters are extremely helpful.

10.  Inspection Arrows: If you are working with a team on a project, then paper/vinyl inspection arrows can allow you to easily point out areas of interest for your coworkers. This is especially helpful if you have to leave notes for the next shift, or point out components for other departments.

Do you have a soldering accessory that you can’t work without? Leave a comment below and tell us what you use at your workstation!


10 Essential Static Control Products

Posted on by Andy in Static Control Tips and Tricks Leave a comment

ESD-Safe Symbol
When outfitting an ESD-safe area you must cover all of your bases. It only takes one shock to hurt your product, and therefore your bottom line. Here is a list of 10 things you can do to control static in your workplace.

Eliminate Static

1. Mats and Flooring: ESD-safe mats can help control static in many different ways. Work surface mats can dissipate charge from devices on your workbench as well as the product itself, while floor mats can remove static from the operator when used in conjunction with personal grounding.

2. Personal Grounding: While mats can keep the work surface safe, wrist straps and heel grounds remove charge from the operator.

3. Ionizers: If you have any insulative items at your workstation you need an ionizer to neutralize any charge that may build-up.

Remove Static Generators

4. Chairs: By replacing normal chairs with ESD-safe ones you can reduce the amount of charge generated by the operator. This adds a second line of defense against static discharge from the operator, stopping the charge before it starts.

5. ESD-Safe Garments: Along with ESD-safe chairs, special garments can be used to reduce charge generation on operators. By using ESD-safe garments you can allow yourself a full range of motion without having to worry about producing a static shock.

6. ESD-Safe Tools: Your tools will obviously be in contact with your project, so it is imperative to keep them from generating a charge. Luckily there are ESD-safe versions of almost every tool, so you can safely work on any static sensitive project.

7. Storage: Using chairs and garments help reduce static generation while you are working on products, but you need to protect your products even when they are sitting on your shelves. ESD-safe bags and totes can reduce product defects from static discharge in your storage.

8. Shippers: There is even more danger of static generation during shipping than in storage, so it makes sense to protect your product there as well. With proper ESD-safe shippers you can be sure that no matter how much your product moves in transit it will be protected from unwanted static build-up.

Test Equipment

9. Workstation Monitor: Matting and wrist straps are great methods of static control, but they are useless if they are not connected and functioning properly. By using a workstation monitor you can ensure that everything is working correctly.

10. Wrist Strap and Heel Ground Tester: If you do not need to have constant monitoring of your workstation, then you can use a wrist strap and heel ground tester. This allows you to check for problems regularly without having to be connected to a monitor all the time.


ESD Controls – Prevent, Dissipate, Improve!

Posted on by Andy in Static Control Tips and Tricks Leave a comment

In the workplace, ESD can often be a dangerous and costly cause of device failures. So, let’s take action to correct this matter. According to SiliconFarEast.com, a semiconductor manufacturing reference, there are three major categories of ESD controls: (1) prevention of static charge build-up, (2) safe dissipation of any charge build-up, and (3) improvements in the awareness of ESD-sensitive products.

Although the first two categories are similar, some charge build-up can be avoided altogether by using the proper materials. For instance, ionizers will neutralize newly generate charges and will therefore prevent charge build-up. Also, avoid equipment with moving parts that can also generate new charges.

On a similar note, safe dissipation is important when it comes to controlling ESD. Because not all charge build-up can be prevented, it needs somewhere to go without being damaging to the static sensitive device. Accordingly, a proper grounding system should be in effect within a factory environment, allowing charges to flow to the ground. In addition, properly grounded garments (such as the wrist strap to the left) add protection.

Thirdly, improvements can always be made to assist in the control of ESD. Training and retraining of ESD precautions is of utmost importance, especially to individuals working on the production line. Afterwards, a standard ESD audit of the manufacturing line is necessary to maintain ESD compliance. Also, ESD-sensitive items need to be identified, along with their respective levels of sensitivity.

Save yourself time, money, and stress by taking these simple ESD control measures. Remember… Prevent, Dissipate, Improve!


Learn About ESD from a 1987 Training Video

Posted on by Andy in Static Control Tips and Tricks Leave a comment

Problems caused by static electricity date back hundreds of years. In the 1400s, precautions had to be taken to prevent black powder from igniting and in the 1860s, paper mills grounded equipment to dissipate static electricity. ESD became a big issue several decades ago when electrical devices became faster, smaller and more susceptible to electrostatic discharge.

Here’s part one of a Apple training video from 1987. It appears the goal of the video (which is separated into four parts for YouTube) is to educate Apple employees on how to protect static sensitive devices by shielding devices, grounding themselves and keeping all plastic/synthetic materials away.

The Shocking Truth – Part 2

The Shocking Truth – Part 3

The Shocking Truth – Part 4