Although few of us are aware of this, the main source of electrostatic discharge is man himself. Why don’t we notice it? Because we are generally unable to see discharges below 3 kV. Only electrostatic discharges above 5 kV are visible, usually in the form of a spark. The voltage itself depends on the humidity of the air and the material covering the floor. That is why it is so important that in some workplaces there is an antistatic mat on it.
What is an ESD antistaticmat?
An antistatic mat is a product made of rubber that has the ability to conduct electrostatic charges. The antistatic is designed to reduce or completely neutralize the electrostatic charges that the surface collects. In this way, the worker is protected against the possible, dangerous effects of electrostatic discharges. The ESD product is a way to create a ground, that is, bring all potential electrostatic charges to one level.
Why are ESD antistatic mats used?
The antistatic mat used in workplaces is not only a convenient and safe solution,but also has a positive effect onemployees. It can be easily placed around man-made machines, and for the employee it will be very convenient, because making it from rubber is not indifferent to the body – through proper cushioning minimizes the effects of too long standing and is proposed to reduce the feeling of fatigue. The right mat will be suitable for plants where there is a shift system, so in one place several people are constantly scrolling.
Where can ESD antistatic mats be used?
Antistatic mats will be used wherever there is a risk of contact with high voltage electrostatic discharges. Such a mat is ideal for public places, where a large number of people often pass – also in multi-shift workplaces. These include, for example:
- welding partitions
- ventilation and air tunnels
- light industry workplaces
- rooms where diagnostic equipment is present
- operating rooms and intensive care
- electronic industry workplaces in order to safeguard both workers and products
- armaments industry workplaces, in particular those at risk of explosion
ESD mat – what is it made of?
ESD antistatic mats are made of natural neoprene rubber, which reduces specific fragrance properties. Such a mat has two layers, each of which has a separate task. The top surface of the mat is an antistatic dispersing layer that must be resistant to temperature and abrasion. The lower layer is responsible for the discharge of loads and has non-slip properties.
Antistatic mats – advantages
A good antistatic mat must first of all meet the IEC61340-2-3 resistance standards. The main advantages of having these mats in workplaces are their resistance to high temperatures, low abrasion and resistance to molten soldering tin. They can be easily kept clean with suitable cleaning agents. In addition, ESD antistatic mats are resistant to oils and lubricants, solvents and acidic and alkaline liquids. The price of mats is relatively low if you look at the above advantages.
Antistatic mats – division
Since mats are designed for different tasks, they can be divided into two types:
- floor mats – whose task is to discharge electrostatic charges through the worker’s shoes and at the same time ensure non-slipness, reduce leg fatigue resulting from standing and overall improvement of working comfort
- table mats – they discharge electrostatic charges produced on the surface by objects and hands of the employee with special wristbands. In addition, they protect table tops and shelves from mechanical damage.
Why use ESD antistatic mats?
Antistatic mats are primarily valued in electronics-related workplaces. Since electrostatic discharges most often puncture the dielectric located under the MOS transistor gate, there may be overheating and possible short circuit and even secondary burnout of connections. In this way, the parameters of the products can be disturbed, so the price drops or these products will be completely damaged. Manufacturers take care of the protection of their items, but the main source of discharge is the man himself, so the use of antistatic mats, the price of which is not high, is a simple and inexpensive way to protect integrated circuits.
What are electrostatic discharges?
When two objects with different electrical potentials come into direct contact with each other, or a dielectric puncture occurs, a sudden momentary current flow between these objects occurs. This flow is called ESD, which is a major problem in the electronics industry because it directly affects devices and, above all, sensitive integrated circuits. Less life-threatening discharges are those that we are able to notice and directly feel on the skin during daily activities. Each of us certainly met with an unpleasant feeling when touching the handle, electrifying the hair when touching them with our hands, which further intensified the problem. Rubbing clothes made of synthetic fibers when they are removed causes shooting and sometimes even sparking – these are also the effects of electrostatic discharges.
Why do I need to avoid electrostatic discharge?
Discharges are also a bane in other industries, because in addition to possible damage to electronic devices, they have a direct impact on man. Loads can lead to unpleasant and dangerous shocks. Non-dispersion of the payload can damage sensitive components of electronic devices, such as microprocessors and disk heads. This can result in already very small discharges, of the order of just 30 kV. In the case of a person, discharges become a threat, which can affect the work of instruments necessary for life, such as pacemakers in the heart.
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Electrostatic charges – what to do to avoid them?
First of all, it is necessary to analyse potential places where electrostatic charges can be produced and to use, for example, floor mats. This is the easiest way to create a ground, and therefore secure the surface and the worker. The worker himself should be provided with workwear and antistatic footwear, as it is usually shoes with an inadequate surface that cause the accumulated load not to be discharged. The price of the mat is low, especially if it is a product aimed at protecting human life.
How are electrostatically stable products produced?
Antistatic materials can be obtained in two ways: the manufacture of typically antistatic PVC or varnishing. The first way is to add antistatics already at the material production stage, which ensures a higher susceptibility to high frequency welding, but antistaticity is not characterized by a high level. Painting for this is a much better method. It consists in covering the already finished product with black varnish containing graphite. Although the high frequency welding machine will no longer be used here, the mats made by this method are much more antistatic.