Paper in the ESD Protected Area

We are regularly asked if paper is OK in the ESD Protected Area or at an ESD workstation.

Regular paper is insulative but tends to be low charging because it is hygroscopic (readily absorbs moisture).  The primary concern with paper is placing ESD sensitive items on the paper interfering with the path-to-ground of the grounded ESD mat.  Best practice is to use Dissipative Paper or have regular insulative paper in Dissipative Document Holders. If regular paper is used, discipline operators to not place any ESD sensitive items on the paper, and this should be followed particularly during periods of low relative humidity.

Although the ANSI/ESD S20.20-2014 does not mention paper specifically it says the following about insulators:

Section 8.3.1 Insulators
All nonessential insulators such as coffee cups, food wrappers and personal items shall be removed from the EPA.
The ESD program shall include a plan for handling process-required insulators in order to mitigate field-induced CDM damage.

If the field measured on the process required insulator is greater than 2000 volts/inch and the process required insulator is less than 30 cm (12 inches) from the ESDS item, steps shall be taken to either:
A) Separate the required insulator from the ESDS item by a distance of greater than 30 cm (12 inches); or
B) Use ionization or other charge mitigating techniques to neutralize the charge.

If the field measured on the process required insulator is greater than 125 volts/inch and the process required insulator is less than 2.5 cm (1 inch) from the ESDS item, steps shall be taken to either:
A) Separate the required insulator from the ESDS item by a distance of greater than 2.5 cm (1 inch); or
B) Use ionization or other charge mitigating techniques to neutralize the charge.

Also ESD Handbook ESD TR20.20 section 2.4 Sources of Static Electricity states:

It should be understood that any object, item, material or person could be a source of static electricity in the work environment. Removal of unnecessary nonconductors, replacing nonconductive materials with dissipative or conductive materials and grounding all conductors are the principle methods of controlling static electricity in the workplace, regardless of the activity.”

Desco offers ESD paperESD sticky notesESD Tags and a variety of sheet protectors(with notebook holes) and shop travelers (without).

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