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Why ESD packaging is so essential

ESD Protection

Why ESD packaging is so essential

Your company’s manufacturing processes are undoubtedly designed to minimize the risk of ESD-based damage to products — but the same can’t be said for the facilities and practices of your subcontractors, shipping agents, and the companies that ultimately sell your product.

There’s a limitless number of scenarios that can result in serious damage to your products, particularly when it comes to uncontrollable exposure to electrostatic hazards after they leave your factory. As laid out by the ESD Association (ESDA), the three biggest ESD threats during the shipping process are:

  • Triboelectric charge generation (which occurs when non-charged materials rub against or come into contact with electrically-charged items)
  • Direct discharge
  • Electrostatic fields

 

Thus, in order to ensure the safety and salability of your products, it’s essential to use specialized ESD packaging.

The primary aim of ESD packaging is to protect a finished product from any instance of electrostatic discharge that could happen en route from the manufacturing point to its final destination, as well as to bolster its protection against standard physical damage. ESD packaging is intended to offer twofold protection to the contained goods; ideally, it prevents charges from building up inside the package, while also resisting and dissipating any charges on the exterior.

Per the ESDA, ESD packaging typically comes in the form of “shielding bags, corrugated boxes, and semi-rigid plastic packages.” Packaging can accommodate products of all sizes, from the largest motherboards to the smallest microchips.

The Science Behind ESD Packaging

ESD packaging is produced using a variety of materials, all of which share a key feature – a high level of surface resistivity. The most common materials used for ESD packaging are typically rated with surface resistances of no more than 1.0 x 103 ohm-cm. However, different materials will have different levels of resistance, thus affecting their overall effectiveness at protecting their contents against electrostatic discharge.

Specific descriptions and requirements for packaging can be found in IEC 61340. Specifically, these guidelines define the three levels of ESD packaging:

 

  •      Intimate packaging which can directly contact the product
  •      Proximity packaging that can enclose (but not directly contact) the product
  •      Secondary packaging, which can only be used for physical protection

 

Different manufacturing environments will have different requirements for ESD packaging depending on the overall electrostatic sensitivity of their final products.

ESD Packaging, ESD Safety Equipment, and Much More

If you have questions about ESD packaging or ESD safety, we’re here to help.Antistat is the world’s #1 supplier of consumables for ESD and production environments. Take a look at our online catalogue or give us a call at 512-865-4082.

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