Tips for Choosing ESD Flooring

Selecting ESD cleanroom flooring requires understanding your operational and installation properties, along with ESD electrical properties.

This article provides you with a checklist of questions to ask when selecting your ESD flooring.

Check Your Environment

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Will the floor be installed in a stringently controlled ESD-protected area (EPA) that mandates special footwear? Or will the environment require static-control footwear?

Some environments, like an end-user environment, have no static-control protocols.

Ask yourself if your flooring meets industry standards for static-control flooring.

For electronics manufacturing, reference ANSI/ESD S20.20 and IEC 61340- 5-1. For mission-critical environments, like data centers or 911 dispatch centers, reference Motorola R56 and ATIS- 0600321.2010 for mission-critical environments.

For flight control applications, reference FAA 019f for flight control applications.

Note: Pay close attention to terms like conductive, static dissipation, ohms, and static generation, because they help specify what type of ESD flooring is required. On its own, ESD flooring is a generic term that means very little.

Testing Footwear and Body Voltage Generation

The type of footwear used affects the performance of static-control floors. Hence, when evaluating static generation, test every type of footwear, both static and standard control, that may be used during the life of the cleanroom.

Also, find out how much static will be generated by personnel walking across the floor. Use the ANSI/ESD 597.2 charge generation test.

Remember ESD Personal Grounding Products!

Check Conductivity and Anti-Static Properties

Check conductivity to ensure that the floor provides a safe path to ground. For controlled/manufacturing ESD-protected area (EPA) requirements, use ANSI/ESD S20.20.

Ensure that your floors’ anti-static properties are permanent and do not come from the application of special waxes and/or sprays. These wear off and must be reapplied continually.

When it comes to your requirements for durability, consider the following:

  • Will the flooring be in high- or low- traffic areas, or both?
  • Will soldering equipment or solvents be used?
  • Will heavy loads be moved across the floor?
  • Will forklifts be in use?

Other Considerations

When choosing your ESD flooring, other considerations include:

  1. Long- and short-term budgets. Consider not only your initial investment, but also your maintenance and repair costs, along with total life-cycle costs.
  2. Ergonomics – be sure to factor anti-fatigue, sound attenuation, and slip-resistance requirements into your design.
  3. Installation time – be aware that some products require more prep time than others.
  4. Warranty – select a manufacturer that warrants ESD performance over the life of the product.
  5. Installation Check – request a free flooring audit with a written certification that the floor meets static-control parameters.
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