Circuit & System Protection


Clearing the Static: Basic principles of static control

28 April 2021 Circuit & System Protection

Controlling electrostatic discharge (ESD) in the electronics manufacturing environment is a large task that has to be done correctly and safely. There are six basic principles of designing and implementing ESD control programmes.


Greg Barron, Actum Group director

1. Design in protection

The first principle is to design products and assemblies to be resistant from the effects of ESD. This involves such steps as using less static sensitive devices or providing appropriate input protection on devices, boards, assemblies and equipment.

2. Define the level of control needed in your environment

What is the most ESD susceptible item you are using and what is the withstand voltage classification of the products that you are manufacturing and shipping? It is best to know the Human-Body Model (HBM) and Charged-Device Model (CDM) sensitivity levels for all devices that will be handled in your facility.

3. Identify and define the Electrostatic Protected Areas (EPA)

An ESD protected area is “A defined location with the necessary materials, tools and equipment capable of controlling static electricity to a level that minimises damage to ESD susceptible items.”

4. Reduce electrostatic charge generation

The fourth principle of control is to reduce electrostatic charge generation and accumulation. We begin by eliminating as many static charge generating processes and materials, specifically high-charging insulators, as possible from the EPA work environment. Electrostatic discharge does not occur between materials kept at the same potential. Personnel are grounded via wrist straps and anti-static footwear.

5. Dissipate and neutralise

Not all generation of electrostatic charge in the EPA can be eliminated, therefore our fifth principle is to safely dissipate or neutralise those electrostatic charges that do occur. Proper grounding and the use of conductive or dissipative materials play major roles.

6. Protect products

Our final ESD control principle is to prevent discharges that do occur from reaching susceptible parts and assemblies. There are a variety of ESD control packaging and material handling products to use both inside and outside the EPA.

For more information contact Altico Static Control Solutions on +27 11 608 3001 or email sales@actum.co.za to discuss your static control requirements


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