Our latest blogs have discussed many things involving ESD- ESD flooring and maintenance, ESD bags, and ESD devices such as heel grounders. We’ve explained how important it is to maintain an ESD-safe environment, but why is it so important? Today, we’re going to dive into why electrostatic discharge can be as simple as a shock you feel on a cold, dry day, or as serious as a shock that ignites flammable mixtures or ruins electronic components in your workspace.
It’s true, electrostatic shock can be harmless. The sudden jolt you sometimes get after touching a car door or the hand of another person can be a little painful, but most of the time it brings a good laugh, especially when it startles you or the person you touched. Electricity is constantly passing back and forth between ourselves and objects, but the voltage is often times too low to feel. It typically takes a voltage of at least 3,000 for people to detect the shock.
On the flip side, it only takes 30 volts to damage highly sensitive electronic components, while most components are at risk when the charge is between 100 and 200 volts. With that being said, electronic shocks that are undetectable to humans have the capability to damage or destroy your electrical equipment.
There are two types of damages that your equipment could experience as a result of ESD events- immediate or delayed damage. With delayed damages, you could see a malfunction of your device at any point of its lifespan. This is also known as a latent defect. These are harder to identify, as the component might continue to perform its function for a certain period of time, but ultimately the operating life will be reduced dramatically.
The second type of damage is the immediate damage, otherwise known as catastrophic failure. This is when the device is damaged and fails immediately. The damages are permanent and the electronic component is essentially destroyed.
If you work in any industry, there are two things you want to save- time and cost. The same could be said for the electronic assembly industry. If you subject yourself to ESD damages, you’re ultimately wasting both your time and your money. Don’t worry, though. There are many different ways to prevent ESD damages and keep your workspace controlled:
ESD matting and flooring work to disperse the electricity created when your feet make contact with the ground. We wrote an entire blog about the different types of ESD flooring and how to maintain it to ensure that you receive the best possible results, so check that out here.
2 . ESD Clothing
There are also anti-static clothing pieces that you can wear that will help disperse electricity and protect the components you’re working on. You can find ESD clothing options on the GoKimco website. We also highly recommend checking out our Desco 17200 Premium Foot Grounder. We also wrote an entire blog about how these grounders work to prevent static shock, so check that out here.
There are a number of additional items and accessories available that can prevent potential ESD damage. One of these is an ESD wrist strap. GoKimco offers the Desco 14401 Disposable Wrist Strap, a one-time-use strap that is perfect for guests visiting your work environment and can also be used to ship with ESD sensitive products.
4. ESD Bags
ESD Bags are a great way to store your equipment in a safe environment. We wrote a blog on the difference between Metal-In and Metal-Out ESD bags so that you can choose the type that’s best for the equipment you intend to store. Check that out here.
There are many other ways to control ESD, but always make sure you are in compliance with the EOS/ESD Association. Stay up-to-date on today’s standards and keep your staff educated on the risk associated with working in electronic assembly environments. As always, if you have any questions about ESD prevention or our ESD products, you can contact us here.