Monthly Archives: July 2014

  • Guide to Construction and Use of ESD Matting

    ThACLDUALMAT_6_6_1e invisible enemy known as ESD can cause catastrophic damage and product malfunctions for companies that assemble electronic components.

    It is important to design an effective ESD control program and an integral part of this program should include ESD matting. It is important to understand the construction of ESD matting and the different types of uses that can be applied to protect your equipment and create an ideal solution to ground your work areas, aisles, and corridors.

    ESD Matting Construction

    ESD matting is designed to drain static charges from items placed on its surface as well as protect the surface of ESD sensitive items. Mats are divided into two categories: ESD work surface mats or floor mats and ESD table top mats. Floor mats are dark colored to hide dirt, have an anti-fatigue style, and are heavily embossed or grooved to help improve traction.

    Table top or work surface mats have a light embossed or smooth surface and come in a variety of light colors.

    These mats are available in the following types:

    Homogeneous (Vinyl and Rubber)

    Three Layer (Vinyl)

    Two Layer (Vinyl)

    Two Layer (Rubber)

    Offering differing electrical performance, static mats can be made from solid sheets, suspended particles, or multiple layers.

    Types of Uses

    In order to select the right mats, it is important to know what applications these mats will be used for. Table mats use light colors to make it easier to find small parts. They are usually thinner than floor mats and have smoother surfaces as well. Floor mats are darker, thicker, and have more traction since people walk on them constantly. When choosing the right type of mat, you should consider their individual features as well:

    Homogeneous – Used for tables or floors and made of more durable material.

    Three Layer – Used for tables and have excellent electrical properties.

    Two Layer Vinyl – Used for tables and provide a low cost solution.

    Two Layer Rubber – Chemical resistant, heat/solder tolerant, and have excellent       electrical properties.

    An Effective ESD Program Needs Matting

    In order for an ESD control program to be effective, you must plan accordingly. ESD matting provides a low cost solution to allow companies to focus on other aspects of their businesses. Following this guide will help you choose the right ESD matting for your specific needs.

  • ESD Anti-Static Mats: How Do They Work?

    esd_symbol_star_lStatic electricity is formed by an imbalance of electrons caused by separation and contact of materials. Dependent on the area and speed of separation and contact, relative humidity and some other factors, the amount of the static charge will vary. For instance, when someone walks across a floor, static electricity can be generated from their shoes contacting and separating from the surface of the floor. The transfer of the charge generates a shock which is referred to as "electrostatic discharge" (ESD).

    To some extent, most materials are subject to the creation of static electricity and ESD. What varies is the amount of the charge and discharge.

    Types of ESD

    Three types of ESD exist:

    Direct ESD to an object – The most common occurrence, this type is caused by directly touching an object after generating a static charge.

    ESD from an object – Moving parts within a device can automatically create the charge and then discharge upon contact

    Field-induced ESD – Grounding an object within an electrostatic field will cause ESD.

    Categories of ESD Damage

    Catastrophic – complete breakdown of an object

    Latent Defect – partial degrading of an object that will downgrade productivity and longevity

    Combating ESD

    We can't eliminate generation or discharge of static in a working environment, therefore the best solution is to neutralize the charges when they occur. Proper grounding and use of anti-static mats neutralizes the ESD.

    Anti-Static Mats

    Anti-static mats have a high electrical resistance. They allow ESD to flow across the surface at a slow rate which neutralizes the ESD. By neutralizing the ESD, damage to delicate electronic devices such as circuit boards is prevented by moving the charge to the grounded mat. Mats can be used both on the table or work station and on the floor. Depending on the sensitivity of the items being handled, more anti-static protection may be needed.

    The mats often offer more than just ESD protection. Many anti-static floor mats are cushions for preventing fatigue from standing. Mats are manufactured from rubber or vinyl, materials that resist electrical charges. When placed on the floor of the work station, the mat stays in place thereby alleviating accidents due to slippery floors. The worker wears a band, most commonly around the wrist, that has a wire connected to ground in order to safely handle electronic components. When choosing anti-static mats for a manufacturing or shipping floor, consider the product being handled and the level of ESD that can damage it.

    Note: An ungrounded anti-static mat will retain the ESD and transfer the charge to the next object that comes in contact with it.

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