Correct education coupled with the right set of tools can protect against the many dangerous effects of ESD. Let us take a look at some of the necessary equipment required to create ESD-safe products. Manufacturers and distributors of various ESD control products in India are featured in Table I and Table II has a list of various ESD products, their brand names and pricing.

Fig. 3: An example of a static-safe work bench (Image courtesy: www.minicircuits.com)
Fig. 3: An example of a static-safe work bench (Image courtesy: www.minicircuits.com)

Electrostatic field meters. The most commonly used equipment for detecting static charges in today’s manufacturing environment is an electrostatic field meter, or ESD meter. It is very effective in detecting the presence and magnitude of static charges. The latest meters in the market are mostly digital, battery-operated, handheld and come with a rotating chopper. ESD meters help in detecting and accurately measuring electrostatic fields, potential and discharge times.

Surface-resistivity meters. These meters are employed for making point-to-point resistance and resistance-to-ground measurements including resistance of persons, ESD shoes, flooring or any kind of ESD protective material. Surface-resistivity meters usually record measurements in accordance with such standards as Electrical Over-Stress (EOS)/ESD Association Standards S-4.1, IEC 61340-4-1 Ed. 2.0 and IEC 61340-2-3, to name a few.

To make the measurement process hassle-free, some meters come equipped with integrated data loggers (with limited storage capability) and communication ports for wirelessly transmitting data. With the help of two internal probes of electrodes, the typical range for measurements is between 103 ohms and 1012 ohms.

Surface resistivity plays a key role in monitoring and examining the resistive characteristics of packaging materials, work bench surfaces, floor mats, storage bags and other items used in the electronics assembly and packaging industry.

Handheld and work-holding tools. Brushes as an anti-static tool enable manufacturers of electronic and static-charge-sensitive products to clean and make products that do not create static charges. Some vendors also provide custom-made clean room/ESD brushes.

14Z_Did-youCutters with dissipative, soft-grip handles and induction-hardened cutting edges are used for superior performance. Pliers are used for gripping, holding and bending, and any electrostatic energy present is discharged through the handles in a gradual and controlled manner, which protects components endangered by electrostatic discharge. Ergonomically-designed cutters and pliers with a good hand grip are especially important for professional technicians for lead cutting.

Another work-holding tool, a tweezer, is used for holding, pulling, squeezing, picking up components and plucking jobs. The protective coating on these prevents harm to sensitive electronics from ESD.

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