The Importance of an ESD Workstation

Grade ESD Workstation
Basic Cleanroom-Grade ESD Workstation

Electro-Static Discharge (ESD) protection is crucial to the various phases and tasks of electronics production. ESD is caused by the flow of electricity between two electronically charged objects and occurs most often due to closeness of differently charged objects, or an electrical short caused by the breakdown in the dielectrics.

Electro-Static Discharge (ESD) control (See ESD Standards) is necessary in cleanrooms, particularly with heavy use of insulating materials like glass, polymers, and Teflon, as they can become highly charged, making conductive work surfaces hazardous to people and ESD-sensitive devices.

Controlling ESD and static electricity in the cleanroom is important in many industries and can be achieved through the use of ESD workstations that ground work surfaces, people, and equipment to the same electrical ground point (known as a common point ground).

It is necessary to take every precaution available to control static. Some workstations may only require basic ESD, however, whereas others may require more extensive controls. At Blue Thunder Technologies, we will help you use the ESD workstation appropriate for your project needs. We also offer a variety of ESD & Static Control Products to outfit your ESD workstation.

ESD Workstation Protection Steps

The right combination of the items listed below will protect people and products in your cleanroom from damage caused by ESD.

  1. ESD Table Mat – a work surface that removes static from conducive items placed on it.
  2. Wrist Straps and Coil Cord Set – safely grounds a person working at a station.
  3. Common Point Ground – grounds ESD mats providing a path-to-ground for wrist strap wearers, by attaching to the ESD work surface via a 10mm grounding strap.
  4. ESD Floor Mat – these mats remove static charges from conductive items. NOTE: ESD footwear like a heel grounder must be worn to remove static from anyone standing on a mat. It is most suitable for wear by personnel not tethered to one location by a wrist strap (mobile personnel).
  5. ESD Floor Mat Ground Cord – grounds floor mat with a path-to-go by using a grounding snap to connect the mat.
  6. ESD Heel Grounders – connects walking or standing personnel to the ground.
  7. Constant Monitors – continuously monitor grounded components on a work station to eliminate wrist band tests and protect against ground failures.
  8. ESD Jackets – shield from static charges on clothing using a hip-to-cuff grounding system to ensure proper grounding without wristbands, that sometimes inhibit movement,.
  9. ESD Equipment Testers – test working order of wrist straps and heel grounds, worn by personnel.
  10. ESD Air Ionizers – removes static charges from insulating materials and isolated conductors that cannot be grounded by typical means, and cannot be removed from the workstation.

Cleanroom environments can store thousands of volts in electrostatic charges but it only takes 25 electrostatic volts to irreparably damage an integrated circuit.

As ESD thresholds increase, it is important to have knowledge of ESD standards. Appropriate controls in cleanrooms is a concern across all major industries, particularly when manufacturing microelectronics and medical devices.