mobile | classic
Dataweek Electronics & Communications Technology Magazine

Follow us on:
Follow us on Facebook Share via Twitter Share via LinkedIn


Electronics Buyers' Guide

Electronics Manufacturing & Production Handbook 2019


How electronics manufacturers can benefit from ESD flooring and grounding
EMP 2019 Electronics Manufacturing & Production Handbook, Manufacturing / Production Technology, Hardware & Services

An electrostatic discharge (ESD) is the sudden micro-lightning bolt of electricity that flows from one charged, conductive surface to another conductive surface.

A typical example is when a person walks across a carpet and experiences a sudden shock when touching a metal doorknob.

The intermittent contact between the person’s shoes and the floor results in an exchange of electrons, which generates static charge on the conductive surface of the body. Once this static charge comes into contact with another conductive object, it discharges this static energy to restore the imbalance.

The hidden dangers of ESD

ESD might seem like a harmless occurrence, but in the electronics manufacturing industry, ESD can cause irreparable damage to electronic components. This micro-lightning bolt can burn holes through insulating layers and metal of microcircuits, causing it to malfunction.

Humans cannot detect ESD below 3000 V, but a discharge of as little as 60 V can destroy electrical components. Often the damage incurred is microscopic and goes completely undetected, only to cause a malfunction later (known as latent failure). This makes industries such as electronics manufacturing especially vulnerable to ESD.

According to a recent article published by Desco Industries, entitled ‘Increase your Return on Investment with a Successful ESD Control Programme’, ESD results in 10% of annual revenue loss, which translates into billions; not to mention the exorbitant costs of diagnostic, repair and maintenance of damaged components. In the same vein, companies have seen massive revenue savings, as much as 50%, after implementing a successful ESD control programme.

How ESD flooring prevents ESD damage

ESD flooring contains antistatic chemicals that enable static to dissipate through the floor to a ground point, and in so doing prevents discharges from occurring. For this reason, your first line of defence should be to invest in a robust ESD floor.

Before choosing a floor best suited to your needs, it’s important to 1) identify all ESD-sensitive objects in your facility, 2) install antistatic flooring in dedicated ESD protected areas, and 3) ground all personnel that handles ESD-sensitive objects.

Types of ESD flooring

When deciding on ESD flooring, you can choose between vinyl, epoxy or paint. Let’s take a closer look at your ESD flooring options:

Vinyl: an affordable, antistatic tile or sheet installed as a permanent ESD floor. Vinyl lasts long (10 years+) and there’s no need for regular maintenance. It comes in a variety of decorative styles. Vinyl is pliable and very popular in medical facilities for hygiene purposes. It is not chemical-resistant and therefore not recommended for acidic environments. Vinyl needs to be earthed by laying a conductive carbon or copper-based adhesive to glue down the sheeting.

Epoxy: a durable cement and carbon liquid mixture that is applied in coats onto existing hard-surface floors, such as concrete. Epoxy is impervious to acids and chemicals and it can be applied in layers to adjust the level of resistance as required. As this is a liquid coating, it requires repeat applications, depending on foot traffic. It is expensive compared to vinyl.

Paint: an effective antistatic coating for existing floors. Paint is a more affordable short-term solution and it is highly effective in preventing static build-up. However, it does require repeat applications.

Another important consideration when choosing an ESD floor is its resistance to earth, which indicates how strongly the material will resist the flow of electricity through it (measured in ohms). Remember, the floor needs to be able to conduct static electricity to a ground point, which means it cannot be completely resistant. For electronics manufacturing, the following material types are recommended:

Static Dissipative (SD): a hard-wearing, homogenous contact sheet or tile floor that is chemically treated to discharge static electricity. The resistance level of the floor does not need to be as low as that of conductive floors. SD must be used in a controlled environment with a relative humidity of more than 40%. Typical areas of use include electronics manufacturing, operating theatres, computer areas, instrument control rooms, repair centres and production facilities. This floor offers a resistance to earth of 5 x 106 – 1 x 109 Ω.

Electrostatic Conductive (EC): contains carbon in order to discharge electricity quickly and efficiently. It is typically used for electronics assembly/repair areas, in highly-sensitive medical equipment and highly sensitive computer equipment. This floor offers a resistance to earth of 5 x 104 – 1 x 106 Ω.

Once you’ve determined the resistance to earth required in your facility, you can select a floor cover best suited to your needs. It is important to match all ESD equipment to the electrical resistance required by your facility; for example, if your floor is SD, ensure the ESD consumables you purchase adhere to the same resistivity range.

The importance of proper grounding

ESD flooring cannot function without grounding equipment. Every person that works in the ESD protected area is a potential conductor of static electricity and needs to be grounded. Grounding devices provide a continuous path to ground and drain static build-up from the body through the floor to earth before it discharges.

The following consumables are all excellent grounding methods: wristbands and grounding cords, shoe grounders (with the option of heel grounders or removable, conductive insoles and outsoles) and grounding cords.

A chain is only as strong as its weakest link, so ensure to follow these best practices to complement your ESD flooring investment:

• Test all flooring and grounding equipment on a regular basis.

• Train everyone who comes into contact with ESD-sensitive objects.

• Mark ESD protected areas and objects clearly.

• Use only antistatic cleaning detergents in the ESD-protected area.

Partner with a credible provider

Altico Static Control Solutions, a division of Actum Electronics, focuses exclusively on ESD control in the working environment. Altico has partnered with the world’s leading suppliers of static control solutions and has been in operation for more than 20 years.

The company’s product offering includes complete ESD audit and recommendation services, ESD training, ESD consumables, cleaning materials, as well as the complete supply and installation of ESD flooring. It specialises in static control within the telecommunications, electronics manufacturing, medical facilities and industrial mining industries.

For more information contact Altico Static Control Solutions, +27 11 608 3001,,

Supplied By: Altico Static Control Products
Tel: +27 11 608 3001
Fax: +27 11 608 1918
  Share on Facebook Share via Twitter Share via LinkedIn    

Further reading:

  • Designing PCBs for Mil Spec
    29 May 2019, Cirtech Electronics, Manufacturing / Production Technology, Hardware & Services
    In the field of electronics, Mil Spec – or Military Specification – has a very clear and understood meaning. It denotes equipment designed and made to exacting standards, in accordance with precise rules ...
  • Continued success for Zetech’s stencils division
    30 April 2019, Zetech, This Week's Editor's Pick, News, Manufacturing / Production Technology, Hardware & Services
    Best known for supplying SMT (surface mount technology) equipment and consumables for printed circuit board assembly for 33 years, Zetech is enjoying success with its more recently established stencils ...
  • How to analyse blind via hole failures
    27 March 2019, This Week's Editor's Pick, Manufacturing / Production Technology, Hardware & Services
    It has become common practice to use blind, filled and stacked vias in many portable electronics products. Experience has shown that this method of interconnection is reliable, provided the fabrication process is well defined and controlled.
  • PCB microsectioning – paying attention to detail
    27 March 2019, Cirtech Electronics, This Week's Editor's Pick, Manufacturing / Production Technology, Hardware & Services
    In our high-tech world, it’s easy to overlook the importance of the humble printed circuit board (PCB). Buried in each electronic gadget or appliance there’s always at least one PCB and each one has ...
  • X-ray dose considerations
    27 March 2019, MyKay Tronics, Manufacturing / Production Technology, Hardware & Services
    The benefits of using X-ray technology in the electronics industry to inspect printed circuit board assemblies are well proven. This article summarises X-ray radiation dose, and the techniques that ...
  • Product development issues explored in new video
    27 March 2019, Manufacturing / Production Technology, Hardware & Services
    Printed circuit broker, Elmatica, recently released a new film about product development, explaining why cooperating with an experienced partner could be a smart move. “We have several times seen the ...
  • Flux management system earns APEX award
    27 March 2019, MyKay Tronics, Manufacturing / Production Technology, Hardware & Services
    BTU International was awarded a 2019 NPI award in the reflow soldering category for its new Aqua Scrub flux management technology. The award was presented to the company during a ceremony that took place ...
  • Solder dross recovery system
    27 March 2019, Electronic Industry Supplies, Manufacturing / Production Technology, Hardware & Services
    Stannol’s Solder Saver is a mechanical device to reduce dross, which occurs as an unavoidable side effect in wave soldering systems. According to its manufacturer, solder consumption can be reduced by ...
  • Water-soluble solder paste
    27 February 2019, Techmet , Manufacturing / Production Technology, Hardware & Services
    Indium has released Indium6.6HF solder paste – a new water-soluble, halogen-free solder paste that is compatible with both tin-lead and lead-free alloys. It is designed to provide enhanced stencil printing ...
  • Affordable soldering station
    27 February 2019, Electronic Industry Supplies, Manufacturing / Production Technology, Hardware & Services
    The Industa 550 soldering station, available from Stannol, is an affordable unit characterised by easy operation and universal fields of application. The temperature is easy to set using a potentiometer, ...
  • Stencil underside cleaning and manual post-cleaning
    27 February 2019, Testerion, Manufacturing / Production Technology, Hardware & Services
    According to experts, between 60 and 70% of all defects and failures during or after the soldering process are attributable to defects in the printing process (Figure 1). In general, these are faulty ...
  • What you need to know about the Hermes standard
    EMP 2019 Electronics Manufacturing & Production Handbook, Manufacturing / Production Technology, Hardware & Services
    Taking advantage of modern TCP/IP communication and XML data format technologies, Hermes is effectively a replacement of the more than 20-year-old SMEMA standard.

Technews Publishing (Pty) Ltd
1st Floor, Stabilitas House
265 Kent Ave, Randburg, 2194
South Africa
Publications by Technews
Dataweek Electronics & Communications Technology
Electronics Buyers’ Guide (EBG)

Hi-Tech Security Solutions
Hi-Tech Security Business Directory

Motion Control in Southern Africa
Motion Control Buyers’ Guide (MCBG)

South African Instrumentation & Control
South African Instrumentation & Control Buyers’ Guide (IBG)
Terms & conditions of use, including privacy policy
PAIA Manual


    Classic | Mobile

Copyright © Technews Publishing (Pty) Ltd. All rights reserved.