What is an Electrostatic Discharge

Electrostatic discharge (ESD) is when a current, from an object, is looking to be grounded through the lowest path of resistance. ESD is essentially a small version of a lightning strike. ESD most commonly happens when one touches a sensitive electronic device, and you feel a shock. Another example is when one rubs their feet on a carpet and then touches someone else, resulting in a shock. These typical types of ESD result in a harmless charge ranging between 500 V and 2,500 V. In fact humans can not even feel ESD unless it exceeds 4,000 V. There are also ESD that occurs without human interaction. Troubleshooting electronics can cause ESD. The placement of synthetic materials, like styrofoam, near electronics can cause ESD too.

The Dangers of Electrostatic Discharge

Even though humans can’t feel ESD under 4,000 V, it can still be damaging to electronics. As stated before, ESD is basically little lightning strikes. Similar to fighting ESD can emit high levels of heat. This heat can cause massive damage to any electronic that has ESD. The heat from the discharge current can potentially burn holes or even melt electronic part that is directly exposed to the current. If this occurs enough, your machine could malfunction. From needing to purchase a full replacement machine to an electrical fire, the damage caused by ESD can be extremely expensive resulting in a significant setback in your organization.

How to Prevent ESD

Even though it is impossible to get rid of ESD from your facility and machines completely, there are many different ways to prevent ESD:

Synthetic materials are significant ways that ESD happens. Be mindful of synthetic materials when you are working with electronics. If synthetic elements need to be present, make sure they are at least 4 inches away from your electronics.

It is essential that you occasionally clean your circuit boards. You may cause more damage by not cleaning your circuit board than ESD. However, many common types of circuit board cleaners create ESD. When choosing a cleaner, make sure the label says “non-static forming.”

Unfortunately, most floors and carpets cause ESD to some capacity. This is why you must treat your floors with chemical compounds that reduce static build up.

Use Anti-static materials. Anti-static material brands, like Durastat, are made with a conductive layer specifically designed to ground static shocks. Not only is Durastat anti-static, but due to the many layers, it is also flame resistant and durable.

Electrostatic Discharge has been here since the beginning of time, and unfortunately, it will always be there. Even though the consequences of ESD seem microscopic, the damages from ESD could potentially cause your organization’s hundreds of thousands of dollars. Fortunately, protecting your facility from ESD is easy and cost-effective. Make sure your organization is prepared! If you have any questions on ESD or our quality Durustat, be sure to contact us, and we will be more than happy to help you.