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Cleanroom Conductive Strip ESD Shoe Covers Electronics Cleaning Wipes ESD Matting ESD Safe Apparel ESD Safe Gloves & Finger Cots ESD Safe Swabs ESD Safe Wipes ESD/Anti-Static Swabs Personal Grounding Static Control Tips

Are You Safe from ESD?

Electrostatic discharge (ESD) is an abrupt electrical flow between two electrically charged objects caused by contact between the objects. Lightning exemplifies the concept of ESD. On a smaller scale, the human body is able to carry a charge and cause ESD when touching another charged object.

What is ESD Safe?

ESD Safe matting, apparel, gloves, swabs, wipes, and other supplies help ensure your environment is safe from electrostatic discharges (ESD) as much as possible. Very small discharges from static electricity can cause irreparable damage to sensitive components and electronics.

Even tables can carry a charge, causing contaminants to stick to them. Besides airborne particles attaching to surfaces, ESD from humans can damage electronics and semiconductors and can cause electrical failure.

ESD Safe products are designed to be non-conductive or to  “cage” and dissipate harmful electrostatic discharges.

To prevent damage in a manufacturing or lab setting, workers wear ESD gloves.

Why do you need ESD Gloves?

ESD Gloves Do 3 Things:

  1. Prevent static generation
  2. Dissipate or Shield electrostatic charges
  3. Protects material from particulate contamination

ESD Gloves, no matter the material, control electrical flows around the material. Instead of a quick burst of lightning, the ESD gloves provide a way for the electric charge to dissipate slowly without damage to electronics. 

Manufacturing electronics without ESD Gloves may not cause any immediate or noticeable damage. Humans only notice ESD greater than 3500 volts; however, an ESD of as little as 20 volts can cause electronic damage.

Electronics that have undergone an electrostatic discharge onto them may experience equipment failure months later. Therefore, to manufacture the highest quality products, ESD Gloves are needed for employees that interact with delicate equipment susceptible to damage from ESD and skin contaminants. 

Which ESD Glove Material is best?

Nitrile is the industry standard for ESD gloves. Found in Biotech, Electronic, and Pharmaceutical manufacturing, nitrile gloves are the industry workhorse. The material is naturally anti-static, puncture resistant, chemical-resistant, and durable, making nitrile the best choice for cleanroom applications.

Workers find nitrile gloves to be more comfortable than other materials because of its “memory” that molds well to the individual’s hand.

Nitrile, unlike latex, continues to be comfortable throughout a shift. Whenever a worker needs hand protection, it is best to choose nitrile as it provides the best barrier protection against cuts and chemicals.

Without sufficient protection, chemicals can seep into the skin and cause contamination, making nitrile gloves the best choice for applications involving chemicals.

However, nitrile is not compatible with aromatic solvents and ketones commonly found in paints and adhesives. For applications involving aromatic solvents, multiple types of glove material must be provided to maximize safety.

Nylon is used frequently in electronic manufacturing and handling because of nylon’s dexterity. Nylon is not suitable for cleanroom environments “due to their very high non-volatile residue values”.

A Higher NVR values correlates to a lower surface resistance, which decreases ESD strength in high humidity environments. The material, generally coated with a polyurethane-coat, reduces static while increasing grip.

The polyurethane coating is non-porous, preventing skin contaminants and oils from seeping onto equipment. It allows workers to maximize precision and dexterity by retaining touch-sensitivity and by increasing grip without feeling “sticky”.

Workers won’t have to worry about their glove sticking to any material. The polyurethane-coat provides additional puncture resistance and prevents against the glove shedding its material in high volume applications. Additionally, nylon gloves are compatible with all touchscreen devices.

Latex is the most common material for gloves. Normal Latex gloves generate static, so for cleanroom environments latex gloves include an anti-static additive to prevent ESD.

Latex, even with the additive, is the most affordable choice for ESD gloves. However, ESD Latex gloves have the same downsides as any latex glove.

Some employees will be allergic to the material and others will find it uncomfortable for extended periods of time. Latex gloves also have a shorter shelf life than Nitrile. When working with sharp materials, Latex does not have the puncture resistance as Nitrile or Nylon.

In general, Nitrile is the most comfortable, durable, and puncture resistant material for ESD gloves.

ESD Gloves May Not Be Enough

When working with delicate electronic components susceptible to damage from human contamination, ESD gloves are necessary.

However, other static control procedures and devices will provide protection beyond a single employee’s hands. To minimize static electricity and damaging particulates, there are also ESD shoes, mats, and wrist straps to fully ground employees entering sensitive environments.

When working with sensitive equipment, ESD swabs protect from static damage. No matter your environment, ESD is controllable and damage is easy to minimize with the proper products.

Categories
Static Control

Static Control Products and Devices

Protecting Your
Electrostatic-Sensitive
Devices and Components

Static electricity is useful but dangerous. It is the energy that makes your hair stand on end. On its own, it is not dangerous. Risks occur when it suddenly discharges causing a spark or lightning.

The spark can set off flammable items or damage electronics.

Humans won’t even feel static electricity unless the discharge – the “static shock” – is at least 3500 volts. And that’s just a quick nuisance to us. Sensitive electronic components can be damaged by an electrostatic discharge as low as 20 volts.

Static build up is a product of contact and separation between two solid surfaces. From the contact, one item loses electrons becoming positively charged. While the other gains electrons, becoming negatively charged.

Dangers of Static Build-Up

First, it damages electronics and especially semiconductors which contain various delicate components.  

It can also pose a threat in areas with flammable gases and liquids. Large tank farms are at high risk of explosion. The National Transportation and Safety Board issued guidelines including minimizing static electricity tanks.

The contact and friction generate static energy. A spark discharge can lead to an explosion or damage sensitive components.

This is where anti-static products come into play.

How Static Control Products and Devices Work

Antistatic devices, reduce, dampen, or inhibit the buildup of electrostatic discharge. In other words, they carry electric charge away harmlessly.

Physical Static Control Products

ESD Safe Anti-Static and Static-Shielding Bags

Open End Static Shielding Bags

Electrical components in devices get damaged by electrostatic discharge from standard poly bags. Anti-static bags and static-shielding bags are used in the transportation and storage of sensitive gadgets.

Anti-static bags do not generate or hold static electricity. They are ideal for packaging non-sensitive parts (such as nuts and bolts) and introducing or shipping them into static controlled environments.

They do not protect from ESD. You would want to package your electronics with static-shielding ESD Safe bags. When sealed, those multi-layered bags create a Faraday Cage, protecting electronics from ESD inside and outside of the bag.

This means that customers receive working products maintaining goodwill and they prevent losses and expensive returns.

Anti-Static ESD Safe Apparel

Cleanroom ESD Lab Coats, Knit Cuff, White
Cleanroom ESD Lab Coats, Knit Cuff, White

if you work around flammable liquids or gases or delicate electrical devices, invest in anti-static clothing. ESD lab coats are the wearable version of the Faraday cage.

Antistatic clothes shield sensitive devices from electrostatic discharge from clothing such as silk.

Clothing, especially those made from synthetic materials, are significant electrostatic charge generators. Worse yet, they also insulate, holding those charges. Meaning you could be walking around with thousands of volts on your sleeves until they neutralize over hours or days.

Worst case scenario, they dissipate as a spontaneous electrostatic discharge. This can damage nearby sensitive components.

Wearing ESD Lab coats will “cage” clothing charges to the inside of the coat. ESD Lab coats also minimize their own generation of electrostatic charges as well as dissipating those charges when grounded.

Humans are the largest source of static electricity in the workplace.

Anti-Static Mat


Anti-Static Table Mat

Also known as a grounding mat, it reduces static by having a controlled low resistance. Also, it is grounded by plugging into the grounded line of an electrical outlet.

The low resistance ensures that people produce little to no static energy when walking. They also ground tables and workstations.

ESD Wrist Strap

Estatec ESD Elastic Band Wrist Strap, 4mm Snap

ESD wrist straps ground a person working on sensitive electronics by preventing the buildup of electrostatic energy. They are the most common personal grounding device. Crucial for sitting personnel – who may lift their feet (and heel grounders) when seated, breaking the connection to ground.

ESD wrist wraps are also excellent for people working around explosives to eliminate the possibility of sparks.

Heel Grounders

Heel Grounder with 1Meg Resister

Heel grounders are designed for use on standard shoes. They dissipate electricity from a person by connecting them to a grounded surface. The device contains a conductive ribbon that one wears inside the shoe or sock that makes electrical contact with the person through perspiration.

The grounders should be worn on both feet to maintain the integrity of the connection and that of the device.

Toe Grounders

Toe Grounder with 1Meg Resister

With boots, heels, or tennis shoes, you can consider toe grounders. They are non-marring and resistant. They are also comfortable and easy to wear thanks to the hook and loop system.

ESD Shoes


Cleanroom ESD Shoe with 2Meg Resister, Black

Avoid the fuss of ribbons and straps associated with heel and toe grounders, and invest in ESD shoes.

These ground operators with no hassle, and are lightweight, durable, and ergonomic.

ESD Gloves and Finger Cots


Static Dissipative Ultra-Thin Polyurethane Coated Glove

Sensitive electronic components need protection from ESD and from the natural contaminants found on an operator’s hands.

ESD Gloves, used in conjunction with other anti-static procedures and devices, help minimize the amount of static electricity and particulates in the work environment.

They also provide increased grip for handling small components. And extra protection for handling sharp components.

Anti-static finger cots offer greater dexterity over gloves. They can be used for handling Class II static sensitive devices.

The [not so] shocking Conclusion

Despite its many uses, static electricity can wreck electrostatic-sensitive devices. However, it is easy to control with the right products and procedures. Visit harmonycr.com for the great static control products and devices.