Published in InCompliance Magazine
Written by The ESD Association
January 01, 2014
The ESD Association has published the first of a six part article titled Fundamentals of Electrostatic Discharge in the January edition of InCompliance. The article starts with the following introduction:
To many people, Electrostatic Discharge (ESD) is only experienced as a shock when touching a metal doorknob after walking across a carpeted floor or after sliding across a car seat. However, static electricity and ESD has been a serious industrial problem for centuries. As early as the 1400s, European and Caribbean military forts were using static control procedures and devices trying to prevent inadvertent electrostatic discharge ignition of gunpowder stores.
By the 1860s, paper mills throughout the U.S. employed basic grounding, flame ionization techniques, and steam drums to dissipate static electricity from the paper web as it traveled through the drying process. Every imaginable business and industrial process has issues with electrostatic charge and discharge at one time or another. Munitions and explosives, petrochemical, pharmaceutical, agriculture, printing and graphic arts, textiles, painting, and plastics are just some of the industries where control of static electricity has significant importance. The age of electronics brought with it new problems associated with static electricity and electrostatic discharge. And, as electronic devices become faster and the circuitry getting smaller, their sensitivity to ESD in general increases. This trend may be accelerating. The ESD Association’s “Electrostatic Discharge (ESD) Technology Roadmap”, revised April 2010, includes “With devices becoming more sensitive through 2010-2015 and beyond, it is imperative that companies begin to scrutinize the ESD capabilities of their handling processes”. Today, ESD impacts productivity and product reliability in virtually every aspect of the global electronics environment.
Despite a great deal of effort during the past thirty years, ESD still affects production yields, manufacturing cost, product quality, product reliability, and profitability. The cost of damaged devices themselves ranges from only a few cents for a simple diode to thousands of dollars for complex integrated circuits. When associated costs of repair and rework, shipping, labor, and overhead are included, clearly the opportunities exist for significant improvements. Nearly all of the thousands of companies involved in electronics manufacturing today pay attention to the basic, industry accepted elements of static control. ESD Association industry standards are available today to guide manufacturers in establishing the fundamental static charge mitigation and control techniques (see Part Six – ESD Standards). It is unlikely that any company which ignores static control will be able to successfully manufacture and deliver undamaged electronic parts.
Read the rest of Fundamentals of Electrostatic Discharge – Part One: An Introduction to ESD HERE.
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