Anti-static devices reduce static electricity on equipment or your own body. They work to reduce the risk of static shock. There are several types of anti-static devices which include straps, bags, and mats. You can use any of them in conjunction, but you’re also free to use any on its own.
Every type of anti-static has its benefits and drawbacks. You should always weigh up all the benefits and the drawbacks of each device when choosing the right one to use. Where one might have a few benefits, it might have several drawbacks. One device that you may consider is anti-static gloves.
How do anti-static gloves prevent static shock and prevent damage? Anti-static gloves reduce the risk of static shock by discharging built-up static electricity. By discharging any built-up static electricity, you reduce the risk of static shock. This article will delve into more detail and other aspects surrounding this question. This includes:
- Why you need anti-static gloves
- How anti-static gloves work
- The different types of anti-static gloves
- How to choose an anti-static glove
Why you need anti-static gloves
Why should you use an anti-static device, more particularly anti-static gloves? To answer this question, you should understand what static electricity is.
When two surfaces touch and separate it creates an imbalance of electrical charges. When one of the surfaces has a high electrical resistance, an electrical charge builds up in the object. This imbalance of electrical charges within or on the surface of material causes static electricity. This charge remains in the material until it can move away as a result of electric current or electrical discharge.
The effects of static electricity are familiar to most of us because we can feel, hear, and even see the spark as the excess charge is neutralized. This happens when, for instance, you drag your feet along a carpet and touch someone with your finger. Another form of this that we all know of is lightning.
The neutralization of the charge causes the familiar phenomenon of a static shock or an electrostatic discharge. A quick neutralization of the imbalance results in sudden electronic discharge. Electronic circuitry like those found in computers is sensitive to these electric shocks.
As an example, the mere act of walking across a vinyl floor can generate up to 12,000 volts of electricity. If discharged, this charge can destroy the sensitive transistors in integrated circuits. Apart from protecting your equipment from electrostatic discharge, they also offer other protection. They protect your equipment against fingerprints, smudges, and harmful oils.
How do anti-static gloves work?
By design, the main purpose of anti-static gloves is to protect electronic components. Electronic components, such as circuit boards, are prone to damage from electronic discharges. Anti-static gloves should either be conductive or static dissipative.
In other words, they should either conduct electricity or dissipate static electricity. To do this, these gloves feature a blend of soft conductive material and synthetic fibres. This makes the gloves more conductive, which prevents them from building up static electricity.
Although anti-static gloves reduce the risk of electrostatic discharge, they are not grounded like other anti-static devices. Thus, you should keep in mind that you should use a grounding wrist strap to ensure the lowest possibility of electrostatic discharge.
The different types of anti-static gloves
There are many different types of anti-static gloves to choose from. The type you choose all depends on the intended purpose of the glove. Many manufacturers specify whether a particular glove is intended for handling or assembly.
A handling glove protects the operator’s hands. An assembly glove protects sensitive equipment from damage or contamination. Anti-static gloves also come in a variety of materials, which affect the price of the glove. Anti-static gloves are typically made from the following materials:
Latex is by far the cheapest and most commonly used material for anti-static gloves. They are affordable, durable, and very elastic. They also fit well. The drawback of latex gloves is that people with a latex allergy can’t use them.
Synthetic latex is an option for workers who are sensitive to latex. They are very soft, but, as such, they are less durable than latex gloves. They are also a bit looser than latex gloves.
Nitrile is also an option for workers who are allergic to latex. Made from a synthetic latex, these gloves are durable and more resistant to punctures, solvents, and chemicals. The downside to nitrile is that it is more expensive than latex or vinyl gloves.
Fabric gloves give you the greatest amount of choice when it comes to choosing a glove. They come in different varieties such as stretch, low-lint, and lint-free. They are reusable and you can wash them many times. For this reason, they are more cost-effective compared to disposable gloves.
When choosing a material, you should keep in mind that some materials can be dangerous to use with some chemicals. You should keep this in mind when choosing a glove. It may also be necessary to use different gloves in the same workspace to get the most protection.
Depending on the glove, it can also have several different features. These features improve their usability or make them better suited for a specific purpose. These features may include non-slip grip pads and cut resistance.
How to choose anti-static gloves
Taking all the above into account, you should consider the following factors when choosing an anti-static glove:
- The purpose of the glove. This is the first decision you should make. Will you use the glove in assembly or handling? Once you decide what the purpose of the glove will be, you can move on to the next factor that you should account for.
- Here you have to consider and weigh up the cost of the gloves. The material you choose will have the greatest impact on the cost of the gloves. For instance, latex gloves are cheaper than other variants, and fabric gloves are reusable.
- Employee safety. This is an important part of the decision making process. This will, for example, be very relevant where an employee is allergic to latex.
- The gloves’ electrical resistance. This determines how well the glove conducts electricity and influences how well the glove reduces the risk of electrostatic discharge.
- The chemicals used. Due to the fact that you can’t use gloves with certain chemicals, this is important to take into account.
You have an extensive amount of choices when it comes to anti-static gloves. From latex to nitrile to fabric, you have many options to fit your needs. In addition, there are various other features that can contribute to the efficacy of the gloves.
Irrespective of your choice, anti-static gloves form an integral part of your arsenal in the battle against electrostatic discharge.