Sources of ESD in Manufacturing Facilities

Sources of ESD


ESD, the hidden enemy in electronics manufacturing, is often the key cause of device failure. Preventing ESD begins with understanding what causes it to occur in the first place.

Any object, material, or even a person can be a source of static electricity:

Tools
Pens, pliers, and other objects commonly seen in workstations have the potential to contribute to the occurrence of an ESD event. Replace these unsafe tools with ESD-safe ones, which feature a double-layered polyethylene grip that minimizes electrical charge movement from workers to electronic devices. Ensure all electrical tools are plugged into a properly grounded outlet before using.
Clothing
Each time we move, we create friction that will result in an electrical charge. ESD-safe clothing comprising synthetic materials like plastic and rubber, as well as shoes with static dissipative soles, can greatly reduce the likelihood of electrical generation. A worker should also be grounded by wearing grounding equipment that aids in the dissipation of electrical charge to the ground.
Work Surfaces
Standing workers have a higher likelihood of experiencing an ESD event than workers who are sitting. The use of conductive materials for flooring, walls, and chairs reduces the risk of static discharge and will go a long way toward protecting workers and sensitive electronic equipment.

Environment
Humidity promotes the flow of electricity as water is conductive. Hence, the drier the air in your workspace, the safer the environment against static electricity buildup. It is recommended that the relative humidity range be between 30% and 70%.

Manufacturing facilities with sensitive electronic devices and components are encouraged to have ESD protection areas (EPA) to effectively control ESD and prevent ESD damage that can adversely impact productivity, quality, and product reliability. Learn more about the fundamentals of EPA in the next post.