Choose your ESD mat with care
Like everything in manufacturing, the Electro-Static Disapative (ESD) mat, whatever type, continues to evolve to keep areas ESD-safe. Before you buy, think about what you really need to do the job. Mats come in all sizes and shapes and materials and can be expensive, depending on the application.
First the skinny on ESD mat types –
Conductive Mats (101 to 105 ohm) – low electrical resistance allowing ESD to flow across the surface. When grounded the ESD flows to ground and neutralizes the excess charge on the mat and worker.
Anti-Static Mats (105 to 1012 ohm) – higher electrical resistance than conductive mats and like conductive mats allow ESD to flow across the surface, however at a slower rate to prevent damage to microcircuit devices unable to tolerate a sudden flow of static charge from the device to a grounded mat.
Non-Conductive Mats (Insulator) (1012 ohm or higher) – prevent the flow of ESD across the surface. Generally used in high voltage environments where electrical charge movement of is undesirable and potentially life threatening.
- Rate of Neutralization– for work environments and many applications mats for neutralizing ESD range from 105 to 1011 ohm to efficiently address static. Dissipation of static electric charges will happen rapidly and at a controlled rate.
- Setting– Will the mat be used on carpet or hard surface like concrete? Mats can cause accidents, for instance, tripping if on carpet, or sliding if on concrete. Most rubber and vinyl conductive and anti-static mats will not wear well against chairs or carts. The wheels and weight will cause breakdown. Use ESD mats made to work on carpet or under chairs.
- Cost– A high–priced mat doesn’t mean it’s the right mat. For instance, more expensive ones like conductive mats could damage devices with microcircuits by reducing static charges too fast.
- Cleaning – Keep your mat clean and residue-free. Special static control cleaning solutions are available. Some mats can be dry-mopped or just swept.
- Life of Your Mat – If properly cared for, mats can last for years. Depending on your mat type, they can be self-healing and also very resistant to solder drips and spits.
- ESD mats protect sensitive equipment by drawing static electricity off workers before they touch susceptible objects. An ESD mat safely transfers static from a worker to the ground.
- They’re generally cushy—so they help your back, your feet, everything that can begin to hurt after hours of standing up. Think anti-fatigue.
Note – Ungrounded conductive or anti-static mats hold an ESD charge and will transfer a charge to the next thing the mat touches.
All-Spec carries a large assortment of ESD mats. Have questions? Our customer service representatives can help guide you to the right mat for your application.
Did you know? The most significant invention to accelerate the electronics revolution happened in 1948 with the invention of the transistor. Next, in 1958 Jack Kirby invented the integrated circuit (Nobel Prize winner 2000) Half a year later Robert Noyce (and a co-founder of Intel) opened the door to smaller and more reliable, complex devices with the invention of the computer chip. Today, IC architectures can carry more than a billion transistors on a chip and soon may execute more than 4 trillion calculations per second. All this has led to less spacing between pin-outs of each chip and the transistors’ gates and junctions and, therefore the need for advanced ESD control. (more)