Clearing the static: Combat ESD by staying grounded

30 April 2019 News

In our previous column we discussed how an electrostatic discharge (ESD) can cause irreparable damage to sensitive electronic components and devices. One of the primary causes of static charge generation is people: we are constantly moving around and interacting with objects around us, building up static.

Grounding systems are used to ensure that components, personnel and any other conductors are kept at the same relative electrical potential to prevent ESD events. Here are the key elements that form part of an effective grounding system:

Workstation grounding

• ESD common grounding point: an electrical junction where all ESD grounds are connected to via grounding cords.

• Work surface bench mats: dissipative bench mats with a resistivity of 1 x 109 or less. The mat must be grounded.

• Static dissipative floor or floor mat: to avoid static build-up when walking, consider ESD floor mats, vinyl, epoxy or paint in the ESD protected area.

• Grounding testers: ensure to test your workstation before, during and consistently after the installation of your ESD grounding system.

Personnel grounding

• Wrist straps: a conductive elastic band or metallic, expendable strap comprised of a conductive inner surface.

• Heel/foot grounders or ESD shoes: frequently used where the technician needs more freedom of movement. Conductive shoes or foot grounders should be worn on both feet.

• Clothing and gloves: static dissipative clothing and gloves prevent dangerous static fields from interacting with components and causing damage.

• Chairs: when personnel sit or stand up, static generates. To prevent this, ESD chairs with a resistance to ground of less than 1x1010 Ω is recommended.

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


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