Circuit & System Protection

Clearing the Static: ESD safe containers – protection against electrical discharge

31 May 2023 Circuit & System Protection

Greg Barron, Actum Group director.

Specialised industries require precise conductivity specifications on containers, component holders, and pallet conductivity, to prevent the destruction of electronic components by electrostatic discharge (ESD).

Electronic components should be transported and stored in containers, or on pallets of electrically conductive plastic, so that they are protected against electrostatic discharge. ESD containers and pallets are made of a specific plastic and carbon compound to protect against the undesirable effects of electrostatic discharge. They also protect the contents from mechanical damage, dirt or moisture.

The conductive materials provide a barrier which these fields cannot penetrate, and prevent the build-up of electrostatic charge.

There are a number of ESD container solutions, beginning with CORTRONIC boxes. These boxes feature an impervious static dissipative skin and conductive core, and the shielding material is suitable for use in ESD protected areas. Products made of CORTRONIC include component boxes, PCB transit boxes, IC tube boxes, in-plant handlers for PCBs, and custom applications.

CORTRONIC storage boxes are ideal for safe transportation of ESD-sensitive components, such as PCBs. A soft, dissipative foam lining provides safe padding and removes static. These coated boxes are made of cardboard dipped in carbon, and come flat-packed to enable assembly on site. The static dissipative skin and buried conductive core ensure electronic components are shielded from electrostatic discharges throughout transportation.

Also available are ESD protective bags that are made from polyethylene low-charge material. These bags are ideal for non-sensitive ESD items, while static shielding bags are designed for ESD safe packaging of PCBs and ICs. They protect their contents against ESD and electrostatic fields.

Injection moulded ESD units are sturdy plastic containers that protect its contents during transportation against mechanical damage, contamination, and the effects of moisture.

Other forms of ESD containers include carry handle ESD cases, pallets, tray containers and partition panelled containers.

All these storage solutions should be used within the minimum guidelines of an Electrostatic Protection Area, that includes wrist straps, ESD mats and ESD flooring.


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