How to avoid ESD damage

Newark senior product manager, Mario Noush, explains how to protect components from ESD damage during manufacturing, testing, shipping and handling.

Using, handling, storing and transporting electronic components introduces the risk of electrostatic discharge damage which can escape detection during quality control inspections. Components appear to work normally, only to fail later. The solution is to adopt a range of ESD prevention measures during component manufacturing, testing, shipping and handling.

One easy-to-use product is the anti-static wrist band or grounding strap that prevents static build-up on a person’s body. Protection is provided by the adjustable wrist band’s conductive stainless-steel interior and resistor built into the grounding cord. The wrist band comes with a coiled 6ft earth lead and spring-loaded press studs for a secure, comfortable fit.

Similarly, anti-static table mats—which can also be used as shelf or cart liners—help eliminate static charge generation by providing a path to ground. For mobile personnel, further grounding protection is ensured by combining ESD heel grounders with ESD floor mats, while field service kits can help guarantee a portable ESD-safe work surface. The functionality of an operator’s wrist strap and footwear can be verified by ESD static meters.

Other useful ESD-resistant equipment includes anti-static polyester gloves/clothing and anti-static bags that keep electronic parts free of dust and moisture. The bags are highly effective at preventing static charges from damaging ESD-sensitive products.

Sometimes it’s necessary to provide more ESD protection than wrist straps and mats provide. In these environments, ionizers can be used to remove the build-up of charges on insulating materials such as standard plastic. These solutions deliver a balanced stream of positive and negative ions with products such as ionizing air bars, air guns, nozzles and benchtop/overhead ionizing air blowers that provide superior static charge decay over a large work surface area.

Protection can be extended by using anti-static vacuum cleaners which minimize the chance of damaging components when cleaning computers, copiers, file servers, multi-function printers, x-ray machines, radar equipment, GPS units and many other devices. Because the hose and accessories are conductive/dissipative, electrostatic charges are removed when properly grounded through the power cord to an electrical outlet ground prong.

All of the above are included in Newark’s ESD portfolio which contains around 2,000 products available for same day shipment.