ionizers 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

Dry Air Static Control and Ionizers

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

Dry air and ESD control

The specifications and devices being assembled determine the recommended humidity range for a manufacturing facility. When the air is dry, static control becomes much more challenging. Although ESD events may be reduced by increasing the humidity, unfortunately that same humidity may cause a reduction in the quality of moisture-sensitive devices because of corrosion, soldering defects and the popcorn effect.

Ionizer choices for reducing ESD

Although ionizers cannot replace grounding or shielding of ESD work surfaces, ionization can lessen ESD events in areas where dry air is normal.  Desco has number of ionization products available through All-Spec.

  1. Benchtop and overhead Ionizers – work surface ionizers create positively and negatively charged ions that are moved to the controlled area with fan-driven airflow.
  2. Point-of-use air ionizers – use compressed gas to combat electrostatic attraction neutralizing charges on particles causing contamination or visual defects on products.
  3. Laminar flow ionization bars – used with laminar flow hoods, controlled chambers and other contained applications.
  4. Room Ionization – reduces electrostatic discharge (ESD) and electrostatic attraction (ESA) in cleanroom environments.

For more information, consult the ESDA’s TR20.20-2008 RH information. Below find some of the significant statements about dry air and static electricity.

dry-air-popcorn-effectESD Handbook ESD TR20.20-2008 Section 2.3 Nature of Static Electricity:

  • Static electricity in the form of static cling and static shocks are more prevalent when the air is dry.
  • Heating interior air in the winter months dries out the already dry air in the higher latitudes.
  • Static charge accumulation is easier on dry materials since moisture on surfaces tends to allow charges to slowly dissipate or recombine.
  • Humidity control alone cannot provide static control since static charges are developed even at relative humidity levels of 90% and greater.
  • For most situations, 30 to 70% RH is considered the appropriate range.
  • Special areas, such as wafer fabrication, may require lower humidity control for processes that are affected by moisture (e.g., photoresist application).
  • Soldering is known to be affected by high relative humidity conditions (>70%).
  • Ionization is an important consideration in areas with low ambient humidity to aid in reducing charge accumulation levels and provide neutralization of charges after they are developed but before they can cause difficulties.


desco-point-of-use-air-ionizerESD Handbook ESD TR20.20-2008 Section 5.3.16 Humidity:

  • Humidity is beneficial in all ESD control program plans.
  • Contact and separation of dry materials generates greater electrostatic charges than moist materials because moisture provides conductivity that helps to dissipate charge.
  • ESD effects are most noticeable in the winter since heating systems reduce building environment moisture.
  • Geographic location (desert vs. coastland) is a major contributor to ambient conditions inside buildings.
  • Any circumstance that results in a low relative humidity will permit a greater accumulation of electrostatic charges.
  • Relative humidity above 30% in ESD protective areas is desirable as long as other adverse conditions are not created as a result of humidity levels.
  • In general, an upper limit of 70% is desirable to prevent corrosive effects on the metal portions of electronic devices and assemblies.
  • Dry air increases the tendency to generate electrostatic charges on dry materials and performance of many ESD protective materials degrade.
  • When exposed to low humidity conditions, some ESD protective materials become totally ineffective or become sources of electrostatic charges.
  • Evaluation of ESD control materials should include performance testing in controlled environments at the lowest expected operating relative humidity level.
  • Manufacturers of ESD protective materials should be able to provide performance data in regards to relative humidity.
  • Materials should be tested in moderate humidity conditions as well to ensure they do not become “too conductive” and present a potential safety hazard to personnel working with substantial voltages. See the Personnel Safety section of this handbook for further guidance in this area.


Humidity control alternatives

 Humidity control in factories or physically large areas or buildings can be difficult and expensive. In smaller rooms or areas, it may be possible to use portable humidifiers to raise the immediate area humidity. However, in many large facilities and factories the environmental systems need to include steam generation and monitoring equipment to control humidity. This type of equipment is expensive to install and purchase especially in pre-existing facilities. To reduce the total cost impact, companies should consider the need for humidification equipment when planning new facility construction.

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.

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.


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

ION Systems is New to All-Spec Industries

Posted on by Andy in New Products Leave a comment

In order to expand our selection of ionizing equipment, All-Spec Industries is excited to welcome ION Systems to our line card. As a division of Illinois Tools Works Inc., ION Systems specializes in providing electrostatic solutions to a wide range of industries.

All-Spec has recently added bench top ionizers and ionizer air guns from ION Systems, popular for the self balancing IsoStat® technology that requires no calibration. These are a few of our newest additions:

ION Systems Ionizing Air Gun

ION Systems Air Force Ionizing Air Gun With Air Hose and Console

The ION Systems 91-6115-NXFMR ergonomic Ionizing Air Force Gun comes complete with a light touch trigger, flexible air hose and a console which can be mounted. This air gun also produces only a low audible noise.





ION Systems Ionizing BlowerION Systems Point of Use Ionizing Blower With LED Indicators

The ION Systems 91-6432E is a small ionizing blower used to control static charge in hard-to-reach areas and during process tool applications. This blower also has visual and remote alarm LED indicators.

Stay tuned for future product offerings from ION Systems!