Simple tasks such as walking on carpets or using stationery are not usually something we need to be cautious about. But, when you are working with static sensitive components, the risks are very real.
Electrostatic discharges (ESD) as low as 2,000 volts can often go unnoticed when transferred from a non-grounded person to a circuit board. If static damage is not initially detected, it will be further down the supply chain before unexpected delays, and costly repairs are attributed to what could have been entirely preventable.
5 everyday static generating tasks:
- Walking across a carpet:
1,500 – 35,000 volts
- Walking between workstations or rooms:
1,500 to 35,000 volts
- Walking over the untreated vinyl floor:
250 – 12,000 volts
- Handling standard vinyl document holders:
600 – 7,000 volts
- Unwinding regular tape:
9,000 – 15,000 volts
Check your work area
Items on a workbench or static controlled area can often be overlooked when it comes to ESD. Take conventional stationery for example; ring binders, document wallets or clipboards can often be made from materials that naturally insulate static charges, potentially releasing charges that are in proximity to electronic parts or people.
In advance of any item being used in an ESD protected area, check they are visibly marked with an ESD logo and have been tested prior to entering. If you are unsure, a calibrated surface resistance meter is used to give a clear indication if the item is antistatic. The test only takes a few moments for each item and gives an accurate reading.
Preventing static damage to expensive electronic components or equipment requires a combination of education and high-quality grounding products. Anyone working with product assemblies, circuit boards or exposed components that are at risk of ESD should understand the basic principles of static control and how to use the equipment correctly. That’s why Antistat has been offering training and consumable products for over 30 years.