By simply moving, a person creates static electricity. When this happens, making contact with a conductive material will cause a sudden discharge of static from the body. This is what’s known as ESD = Electrostatic discharge. Static electricity is becoming a big problem for the electronics industry. Typically, no one notices because humans do not feel electrostatic discharges below 3000 volts. We may see ESD beyond 5000 volts as a spark. Most standard electronics are sensitive to charges of 100 – 200 volts and very sensitive electronic components can be damaged by a charge of only 30 volts. It’s important [[to regularly and correctly measure your ESD control when manufacturing electronic equipment|when manufacturing electronic equipment to regularly and correctly measure your ESD control.
Here are a few essential tips for measuring all components of your ESD workstation.
- · When measuring your ESD control on your work surface, place your probes on the tabletop, spaced at least 25 cm apart and at least 5 cm from the top edge.
- · With shelves and tables, place one probe on the work surface and one probe on the shelf or table. The point-to-point resistance should be < 1x10⁹ Ω
- · For flooring, put one probe on your work surface and the other on the ESD floor. Your point-to-point resistance should be < 1x10⁹ Ω
- · Test the common point ground by placing the probe on the tabletop and measure the system’s total resistance between the tabletop and the common point ground using a measuring lead.
- · For chair ESD, place one probe on the seat of the chair and the other on a metal plate under one of the chair’s wheels. Your point-to-point resistance should be < 1x10⁹ Ω (with upcoming standard < 1x1010 Ω). For best results, ensure chair wheels have been cleaned with ESD detergent.