Why Worry About Electrostatic Discharge ( ESD ) when working on a Printed Circuit Board?
For some, the prevention of Electrostatic Discharge, or ESD, is simply an item on a checklist that you mark through when doing a job, just to keep the boss off your back. However, ESD is a serious issue and can cause catastrophic damage to a project. If you are unconvinced about the ramifications of ESD, read on.
What Is ESD?Electrostatic Discharge is a sudden, unexpected flow of electrical currents between two points. ESD can cause a short, damage to electrical components, and even damage to you and other members of your team. ESD can cause a catastrophic problem on a project, causing you to replace expensive components or even scrap the job and start all over. In addition to the monetary expense that can occur, there is also a measure of stress and even personal ramifications when ESD halts a project.
How You Can Prevent ESDThere are several steps you can take to prevent ESD.
- First, don't let yourself become complacent. ESD is a serious concern and should be treated as such.
- Next, take the proper steps to prevent ESD. These steps are different for each job, but proper grounding of your work area, your body and project components is imperative.
- Cool, dry areas are also a concern, so be especially cautious when working in these places.
- Do not stand on carpeted surfaces, and keep your work components off of fabric, carpet and similar surfaces.
- Wearing sturdy shoes with a rubber sole with ESD foot or heel grounders can also help prevent ESD. You should also remain aware of your surroundings; there are two symbols that you can look for to assist you.
- The use of ESD SAFE equipment will help you ensure that you avoid ESD issues when working on a project.
- You should also keep an eye out for ESD Sensitive labels; these labels indicate that an item is highly susceptible to ESD, so you should exercise extreme caution.
- Make sure to store circuit boards in an ESD safe container or a static shielding bag.
- In addition to the precautions taken above, it is recommended that the controls are setup to maintain and monitor you ESD Safe working environment. A few tips for doing this is to setup ESD monitoring devices and ionizers that will maintain safe areas.