ESD Workbenches: What They Are and Why You Need Them
If you work with electronic components or devices, you know how important it is to protect them from electrostatic discharge (ESD). ESD is the sudden release of electricity between two objects that have different electric potentials, such as a person and a metal surface. ESD can cause serious damage to sensitive electronic components or devices, such as microchips, circuit boards, or hard drives, by creating sparks, overheating, or short-circuiting them. ESD can also affect the performance and quality of the products, leading to product failure, customer dissatisfaction, and increased costs.
One of the best ways to prevent ESD from harming your products and your workplace is to use appropriate ESD protection measures, such as ESD workbenches. ESD workbenches are specialised work areas that prevent the build-up and discharge of static electricity. They are typically used in industries that handle electronic components, such as computer manufacturing or repair, telecommunications, and aerospace.
What are ESD workbenches?
ESD workbenches are robust steel frame benches with static dissipative features. The work surfaces are made of Elimistat® ESD Rubber or Elimistat® ESD Laminate materials. Elimistat® ESD Rubber is a grey synthetic rubber that does not create or hold any charge. It prevents static electricity from transferring from the user to the electronic component. or Elimistat® ESD Laminate is a laminate material that has the same static dissipative properties as Elimistat® ESD Rubber. It also provides a smooth and durable surface for the work.
ESD workbenches are available in different sizes and designs, depending on the level of protection and functionality required. Some of the common features of ESD workbenches are:
- Grounding points: These are metal studs or snaps that connect the work surface, the user, and the item to the ground. This creates a closed circuit that allows the electric charge to flow safely from the source to the ground, without affecting the item or the user.
- Wrist straps: These are elastic bands that wrap around the user’s wrist and connect to the grounding point. They ensure that the user is at the same electric potential as the work surface and the item, and prevent any static charge from building up on the user’s body.
- Heel straps: These are similar to wrist straps, but they attach to the user’s shoes and connect to the grounding point. They ensure that the user is at the same electric potential as the floor and the work surface, and prevent any static charge from building up on the user’s feet.
- Mats: These are rubber or vinyl mats that cover the work surface or the floor. They provide a static dissipative layer that reduces the flow of electric charges and diverts them away from the item. They also provide a cushioned and comfortable surface for the work.
- Shelving: These are metal or plastic shelves that attach to the workbench frame. They provide additional storage space for tools, equipment, or items. They are also grounded to the work surface and the floor, and prevent any static charge from building up on them.
- Lighting: These are LED or fluorescent lights that attach to the workbench frame. They provide adequate illumination for the work, and are also grounded to the work surface and the floor. They prevent any static charge from building up on them or affecting the item.
- Power outlets: These are electrical sockets that attach to the workbench frame. They provide power supply for tools, equipment, or items. They are also grounded to the work surface and the floor, and prevent any static charge from building up on them or affecting the item.
Why do you need ESD workbenches?
ESD workbenches are important for several reasons, such as:
- Protecting electronic components or devices: ESD workbenches prevent ESD from damaging electronic components or devices by reducing the flow of electric charges and diverting them away from the sensitive items. This ensures the optimal performance and quality of the products, and avoids product repair or replacement costs.
- Protecting yourself and others: ESD workbenches also protect yourself and others from the harmful effects of ESD, such as electric shocks, burns, or fires. ESD can also interfere with the functioning of medical devices, such as pacemakers, or cause explosions in flammable environments, such as gas stations. ESD workbenches can prevent these hazards by providing a safe and comfortable working environment.
- Complying with ESD standards and regulations: ESD workbenches also help you comply with the ESD standards and regulations that are set by various organisations, such as the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC), the British Standards Institution (BSI), or the Electrostatic Discharge Association (ESDA). These standards and regulations specify the requirements and guidelines for ESD control and prevention in different industries and applications. ESD workbenches conform to the EN 61340-5-1 standard, which is the most widely recognised and accepted standard for ESD protection.
ESD workbenches are a vital part of ESD protection and prevention. They prevent the build-up and discharge of static electricity, which can cause serious damage to electronic components or devices, as well as yourself and others. They also reduce costs, increase efficiency, and increase longevity of the products. Therefore, ESD workbenches are essential for anyone who works with static sensitive items, whether as a manufacturer, a seller, or a buyer