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Conducting ESD protection audits

Posted: 24 Apr 2014  Print Version  Bookmark and Share

Keywords:ESD protection  electrostatic discharge  audit 

It is an industry practice to protect components from electrostatic discharge (ESD). Consequently, there is an abundance of measures to eliminate this risk. To ensure their effectiveness, evaluate the electronic manufacturing services providers.

Look beyond the appearances of electrostatic discharge (ESD) protection efforts. Complete an audit.

During your plant visit, you may be asked to don a conductive smock and heel strap before you enter the manufacturing area. There, you may see workers standing on special mats and wearing wrist straps tethered to their workbenches. These are a few measures used to keep ESD from damaging sensitive electrical components during PCB assembly.

Unfortunately, you can't know whether these measures are working without regular ESD audits. Let's look at some common ESD protection techniques, how they can fail, and what to look for in an ESD audit.

ESD auditing

Electronics manufacturers have to protect components from electrostatic discharge, or ESD.

First, what is ESD?

ESD is the transfer of electrical charge between two objects. In manufacturing, the most common source is static electricity caused by friction between dissimilar materials. A charge builds up on bodies, carts, and other objects and is discharged in a sudden flow of electricity to nearby objects.

Even small discharges (not noticeable to your touch) can render an electronic component inoperable or cause latent damage that shortens its life. Therefore, ESD protection is critical to maintaining production yields and ensuring the reliability of finished assemblies. This protection involves preventing static buildup and ensuring that any buildup is discharged harmlessly to ground, not through the components.


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