ESD protection is essential in all work areas where work is carried out on electrical devices or components. In our blog post, we deal with ESD floor coverings for ESD workstations.
Why is ESD floor covering important?
An electrically charged floor is a risk for areas where electrical work is carried out and for sensitive electrical equipment such as computer servers, production machines with electrical components or technical equipment in the pharmaceutical industry. Especially such electrical systems can suffer significant ESD damage, which we usually do not even notice at first. Some damage is only detected when the products can no longer be properly manufactured or when they are already at the customer’s site and the customer then detects the damage. Even small discharges can cause serious damage or, in the worst case, cause a fire due to sparks that are generated when flammable substances such as gases or liquids are present.
Dangerous discharges can be prevented with an ESD floor. Due to their special design, they are able to direct electrostatic discharge to the grounding point in a controlled manner. This protects, among other things, electrical installations that stand firmly on the floor. In this way, the ESD floor provides a constant and reliable conductivity.
Types of ESD floors
There are many ways to arrange an ESD floor, be it rolls, mats or full coverings, now the choice is wide. Two variants will be discussed in more detail below. In either variant, earthing points are essential for optimal protection against electrostatic discharge.
ESD floor covering
If it is a larger area or a new building, a complete ESD floor can be laid or poured. A continuous ESD floor is especially useful when large and heavy electrical installations are operated. It should be noted that an ESD floor can withstand heavy loads. Synthetic resin floors based on acrylic, epoxy or polyurethane resins, due to their good elasticity and ease of maintenance, are often used in industry. As a rule, however, they are not conductive. Instead of an ESD floor, a synthetic resin with conductive additives is used. This means that grounding is conductive and can dissipate electric charge to the grounding point.
Not every company needs an entire ESD floor. Only for smaller areas with sensitive electrical components, ESD floor mats are a simple and quick solution. Like an ESD floor, ESD mats prevent overvoltage damage and thus protect electronic devices and components. As there are different variants and materials for the mat, so are the areas of application. Some mats are better suited for certain types of wheels and others for shoes. However, sometimes this only becomes apparent after measuring the ESD value (e.g. surface conductivity) in the real environment. Since “everything can affect everything,” a certain amount of trial and error may be required.
ESD floor mats are also useful in seating areas. The rolling of an office chair creates a high electrostatic charge that may be transferred to the electronics unnoticed. The ESD mat is used to reduce electrostatic charge and prevent uncontrolled discharge.
When choosing the right ESD floor, we recommend that you seek the advice of ESD experts, for example manufacturers and retailers of floor coverings or mats. How to find the best EPA solution for your business.
Identification of the ESD protection area
After creating an ESD protection area, it should be clearly marked. Persons entering an ESD area must be advised that they may not enter the area without adequate protection. For small areas, it is recommended, for example, to place yellow ESD stickers around the work area so that it is clearly visible to everyone.
You can find more about ESD protection in our eBook