Electrostatic discharge (ESD) is the sudden flow of electricity between two electrically charged objects caused by contact, an electrical short, or dielectric breakdown. The natural phenomena of ESD has been occurring for as long as our planet has been around and apparently it has been a problem for much of that time. A recent post on the Static State Technology website notes:
“ESD has been an issue across multiple industries for as long as manufacturing has been taking place. Military forts in the 1400s 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 travelled through the drying process .
As electronic device technology has progressed, we have seen reduced voltage tolerances and lower capacity for heat dissipation. The age of electronics brought with it new problems allied to electro- static discharge. Today, ESD impacts productivity and product reliability in virtually every aspect of the global electronics environment and emphasis on minimizing electrostatic charging and ESD has become hugely important .”
To read the entirety of the article see: Eliminating Electrostatic discharge: Protecting Tomorrow’s Technology.
Desco started as a company in the 1950s and focused on manufacturing continuity testers and soldering aids used by operators at electronics manufactures. As the components that the electronics manufacturers used progressed in technology, the same operators that required continuity testers and soldering aids now needed ESD control products. Desco started manufacturing wrist straps for ESD control in the early 1980s. Since this time the requirements for ESD control has changed greatly to keep up with the increasing sensitivity of electronic components and the automation of electronics manufacturing.