How to know if you are in ESD compliance

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Most of the time, static electricity and ESD (Electrostatic discharge) is nothing more than an annoyance. But if that same static charge we receive when walking across a carpet is created on the electronics manufacturing floor, it can be very costly or dangerous. The average person alone stores hundreds, or even thousands, of electrostatic volts at any given time — yet it takes just 25V to cause irreversible damage to delicate electronic circuitry.

In truth, static is everywhere, and it's responsible for an estimated $5 billion in damages annually in the US alone. It can damage electronic components or ignite flammable mixtures. Static electricity can cause products to stick together or attract contaminants in clean environments. When the costs of repair and rework, lost production time, shipping, and overhead are included, the cost of ESD-damage can be a significant hit to the bottom line.

How can I prevent ESD damage?

If you are a manufacturer in the electronics industry, you most likely are aware of the threat of electro-static discharge and have put safeguards in place to minimize the damage that can be caused by ESD. Your operators are using personal ESD control items such as wrist straps and heel straps, your work areas are static-safe and you’ve removed all charge generating materials (most common plastics). Your ionizers are turned on and pointed in the right direction.

You also know to store and transport ESD sensitive products properly. The use of approved containers and packaging materials such as conductive in-plant handlers and static-shielding bags is of utmost importance. You know to only open these ESD-sensitive products in an ESD Protected Area (EPA). You are reasonably sure that you have put a thorough ESD program in place.

How do I know if my static control is working?

An effective way to measure the success of your static control program is to have an ESD professional conduct an ESD Survey. That is where SMT Supplies comes in, along with our ESD Preferred partner, Desco. Desco Industries is the world’s largest manufacturer of ESD control products with over 40 years’ experience in the industry. The free Desco ESD Survey is the easiest way to ensure that you have an effective static control program.

The Desco ESD survey can benchmark your ESD Control Program, improve your existing plan, or even prepare you for an ESD audit. Using the ESD Association’s ANSI/ESD S20.20-2021 standard for development of an Electrostatic Discharge Control Program, the Desco Representative will take measurements using a calibrated ESD survey kit that includes a digital resistivity meter, a field meter, an ionization verification meter and other instrumentation according to the requirements of ANSI/ESD S20.20. They will also take extensive notes based on your existing ESD Control Plan. Every survey is then reviewed by a NARTE certified ESD technician who will provide a written report, recommendations, and a Qualified Parts List (QPL) for improving your existing program.

What do I do after my ESD Survey?

Once the survey has been completed, it is now time to act on the recommendations given by the ESD professional in their written report. They provided a list of qualified products necessary to bring your facility up to ANSI/ESD S20.20 standards. Perhaps you needed static-dissipative matting at a workstation, and added grounding to surfaces that come into contact with ESD sensitive devices, or possibly more ionization where process-required conductive materials are required.

It is now time to bring the Desco Industries, SCS branded, ESD Professional back for an EOS/ESD assessment. The ESD assessment goes beyond the initial survey, it verifies that your program is actually working. With their calibrated ESD test equipment, they will be able to detect where ESD Events are occurring throughout the ESD process including your SMT lines and equipment as well as identify EOS problems. A written report will be provided which will document numeric findings, gaps between the program and the industry standard, ANSI/ESD S20.20-2021, references to best practices and recommendations for improvements.

Are you in ESD compliance?

Now that you have completed the ESD Survey and Assessment, the question is, are you now in compliance? Not only for your own internal program standards, but does your program meet your customers’ expectations? If you have implemented the recommendations made by the Desco and SCS ESD Professional, you will be compliant with industry standards.

Free ESD Clinic

SMT Supplies is the only Desco FOCUS distributor in the western United States and as such, we are static control experts. Please contact us or call to speak to our experts to request an ESD Survey of your facility. We will set up an appointment at your convenience.