esd matting Archives | All-Spec's Official Blog

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 Mat Cleaning Dos and Don’ts

Posted on by Andy in ESD Mats, ESD Testing Leave a comment

How you clean your ESD mat–and with what–can make a big difference in performance and in life expectancy of the product. Excellent cleaning solutions have been specifically formulated to easily and effectively remove flux, solder, chemicals, dirt and grime without damaging your mat. Using these special cleaning products will help extend the life of your mat.

Follow these dos and don’ts when cleaning your ESD mat – 

itw-chemtronics-9700_es1664t_dv_webxlDon’t

  • Clean with alcohol or ammonia. These chemical will cause your mat to dry out and become brittle.
  • Clean with a silicone-based cleaner. It will leave a residue that could reduce the mat’s ESD capabilities.
  • Use strong chemicals. They could corrode your mat.

Do

  • Clean with the proper solution and mixture for your specific mat.
  • Create a cleaning schedule so you’ll never have to worry about residue build-up.
  • Consider the brand of the cleaner. Oftentimes companies test their cleaners on their mats.
  • Remove any residue immediately, such as flux and solder.
  • Test your mats regularly to ensure optimum performance of your ESD mat.
  • Clean your mat if the RTT or RTG tests show a rating less than normal.

 

All-Spec carries a selection of mild and highly effective ESD mat-cleaning solutions.


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!


Getting Rid of Charges Part 3: Workstation Grounding

Posted on by Andy in Technical Articles Leave a comment

ESD-Safe Bench Mat While personal grounding equipment is important, people are not the only hazard to electronic devices. Any ESD-sensitive device can also be damaged from charges built up while moving it across a work area or from other charged items in the area. To reduce and counteract the build-up of static charges, ESD-safe matting and ionizers are used in areas where electro-static discharge is a concern.

ESD-Safe Matting

ESD-safe mats are integral parts of static safe work areas. These mats discharge any introduced charges through a connected wire and ultimately transfer them to either an electrical or earth grounding point. Connecting to an electrical ground, which is either the screw through the metal plate covering an outlet or a screw on the outlet casing inside the wall is fairly simple while finding and attaching the wire to an earth ground (which is generally a metal rod hammered into the ground before the foundation is poured) is substantially harder. It is important to use a ground tester to make sure that the outlet you are using for your electrical ground is connected properly and safely to an earth ground. A faulty ground could result in damage to ESD-sensitive devices or personal harm if the ground is connected to a live wire.

Matting for ESD-safe work areas are normally dissipative or will have a dissipative top layer. Compared to a conductive surface, a dissipative top layer slows down how fast a static charge drains while still providing a path to ground for any built up charges. By draining the charge more slowly; the dissipative surface provides less risk to the static sensitive devices.

Ionizers

Bench top ionizers and overhead ionizers are used to neutralize insulators and any other devices that are not fully grounded or can’t be grounded. Most ionizers work by using a fan to spread positive and negative ions across an area. These ions are naturally attracted to their opposite charges, so positive ions neutralized negative areas and negative ions neutralize positive areas. Any left over ions will neutralize themselves as they find their opposite charges. This allows for an area of neutral charge by slowly and safely neutralizing charged objects in a work area.

Next week will be our last in this series on grounding, where we will explain how grounding works at the level of the earth. Come back next week for more information and be sure to read our previous articles on grounding below!

Getting Rid of Charges Part 1

Getting Rid of Charges Part 2


Choosing ESD-Safe 2-Layer Rubber Matting

Posted on by Andy in Product Reviews Leave a comment

Whether you’re looking for mat rolls or a smaller worktop mat, All-Spec Industries is your source for benchtop matting. However, choosing the right ESD mat for your application can be a difficult task. Compare the main points below to help narrow down your matting search.

Sierra SR Series:

  • Sierra SR Series Mat.060” thick
  • Smooth surface
  • Very flexible
  • Available in blue/black or green/black
  • Portable; will lay flat after unrolling

Static Solutions UT Series:

  • .080” thick
  • Lightly textured surface
  • Flexible
  • Available in blue/black or grey/black
  • Permanent or removable work surface

Sierra AP Series:

  • .080” thick
  • Lightly textured surface
  • Firm but flexible
  • Available in light blue/black or grey/black
  • Permanent or removable work surface

All the mats featured above come complete with dissipative top layers and conductive bottom layers. They are also heat- and chemical-resistant and will not peel, chip or curl.

Still have questions about which type of mat to order? Contact Customer Service at (800) 537-0351 or email us.


Sierra Single-Layer Rubber Floor Matting Review

Posted on by Andy in Product Reviews Leave a comment

ESD-Safe Rubber Floor MattingThe ESD-safe single-layer rubber floor matting by Sierra is the first of its kind that is light colored, electrically conductive, and antistatic. This series was designed for use in the most ESD-sensitive environments such as data centers, clean rooms, R & D labs, electronics manufacturing, and test and repair areas. Sierra’s floor matting will prevent walking body voltages above 10 volts when used with controlled footwear, but can also prevent substantial static accumulation when grounding footwear is not used.

More key features include:

  • Easy maintenance – no need for conductive wax
  • Slip-resistant non-glare surface
  • Resistant to chemicals and hot solder
  • Can be installed with double sided tape or releasable adhesive
  • Reduces risk of explosion
  • Withstands forklift/heavy wheeled traffic

ESD-Safe Rubber Floor MattingSierra’s single-layer rubber floor matting is available in white speckled or grey speckled, and comes in a variety of sizes.

Not only can this single-layer matting serve as a floor mat, but it is also the perfect solution for grounding aisles and corridors, and can even serve as a bridge between ESD-safe work areas. In addition, this matting can cover large areas as permanent flooring material. For these larger area needs, 48” by 40’ rolls may serve as the better alternative.

Need another type of matting? View all Sierra ESD-safe mats and flooring. Also see our video comparing rubber and vinyl matting.