Anti-Static Mats and ESD Flooring
Anti-static mats and ESD flooring are an effective and workable means of controlling electrostatic discharge in an ESD protected area. Anti-static matting decelerates and regulates the discharge, letting static electricity transfer safely to the ground. They also shield the surface of sensitive devices by avoiding or totally eliminating wear and tear during processing. Furthermore, anti-static mats are part of a class of ESD protective gear that are widely used in different scenarios.
An anti-static mat has a low electrical resistance which helps to neutralize static electricity (resistance usually between 100 kilo-ohms to 100 mega-ohms, depending on the manufacturer). Anti-static mats are usually made out of at least two layers of different compounds.
The bottom layer is conductive, allowing for a fast discharge path to “ground,” while the top layer is a static dissipative. anti-static mats come in two forms for floor and table use. The mats also have a grounding socket that can be connected to a common ground or a wrist strap. Anti-static mats are useful in fieldwork, and they are an essential part of a temporary ESD Protective Area.
Otherwise known as a grounding mat, an anti-static mat is a floor or table mat that lessens the risk of electrostatic discharge while working with electrostatic sensitive equipment.
ESD matting is intended to drain static charge from items placed on its surface, for a mat to ground an item effectively, it must be either conductive or dissipative and be coupled to a proper grounding point. ESD mats are usually available as vinyl or rubber mats.
ESD floor mats shield sensitive equipment and components from damages caused by electrostatic discharge. Ergonomic ESD mats are like regular ESD floor mats, but they also provide standing comfort for operators at processing or assembly points.
ESD floor runners permit safe and comfortable workflow when moving sensitive items throughout a facility or ESD protected area. Their low profile design permits easy passage through corridors for foot and cart traffic or complete pathways ways along equipment or assembly lines.
A lot of appliances are susceptible to electrostatic discharge (ESD). Electrostatic discharge occurs when a component and another object such as a human hand come in contact, and there is a rapid transfer of electrostatic charge due to ground potential differences between the two objects. ESD can seriously damage computer components if you touch a computer component with your hand, and an ESD occurs. A lot of ESD issues can be prevented through proper grounding by using anti-static mats and wristbands.
Steps to effectively using an anti-static mat:
Step 1: Place the anti-static mat on the desktop surface of a workbench. Plug the grounding connector attached to the mat into the wall socket. If the mat is equipped with only an alligator clip, then proceed to the next step.
Step 2: Place the computer or electrical equipment to be repaired on the anti-static mat. Unplug the power cord from the equipment to be worked on. Attach the alligator clip from the anti-static mat onto the metal chassis of the electrical equipment.
Step 3: Strap an anti-static wrist strap on your wrist. Attach the alligator clip on the wrist strap to the anti-static mat. Now you are ready to work on the computer or intended equipment you are working on.
Types of ESD mats
There are two forms of ESD mats, they could be:
- Non-conductive mats/switchboard mats
- Static dissipative mats (ESD mats)/conductive mats
Non-conductive (switchboard) mats work by insulating workers, thereby protecting them against harmful and deadly shocks generated as a result of high voltage equipment. Conductive mats are designed to safeguard sensitive equipment by quickly taking away the static off workers before they touch susceptible chemicals or apparatuses.
These mats are tried and proven to have a high dielectric ability. However, the maximum recommended voltage exposure is much fewer to provide a large margin of safety.
Static dissipative mats (ESD mats)/conductive mats: Static dissipative mats and conductive mats are made to protect delicate equipment, such as computers and explosive chemicals by quickly drawing the static electricity off workers before they touch such items. Humans rapidly produce static electricity by walking, changing their position, or even rolling a chair around. Even the smallest amount of touch can pass electricity onto sensitive equipment, which can destroy processors or cause flammable chemicals to ignite. To prevent such problems, we provide both electrically conductive and static dissipative mats. Conductive mats can diffuse static electricity faster than static dissipative mats.
Thus, conductive mats should be used near extra sensitive equipment. All conductive matting and dissipative matting needs to be grounded to function properly. For this, we provide ground cords, heel grounders, and wrist straps.
These anti-static work mats offer a portable and fairly compact solution for people working on field repairs etc. ESD mats can also be of low cost, ideal for hobbyists, and other requirements where a full ESD workbench cannot be justified or be suitable.
Anti-static mats generally have the standard snap connections enabling them to be connected to the grounding points on the special plugs that utilize the mains part connections. They also allow wrist straps to be linked to the anti-static mats. Using this method, a workable anti-static solution can be provided for working on electronic boards and assemblies.
The anti-static work mat has a static dissipative surface, which enables any static charges that may appear to be safely dissipated. The surface is not conducive, as this would dissipate charges too quickly and also provide a surface that would give rise to short circuits across the board, which again could cause damage.
A good ESD mat is constructed using engineered thermoplastic that is thermally fused and with a Thickness of 0.060″ (1.5mm), with nominal ±10% with a side of the mat smooth, and the other side embossed. A deep-colored mat is good, with a recommended hardness of 80 shore A (ASTM D-2240), ±5.
When cleaning the anti-static mat, care should be taken by making sure the right cleaners are used. It is best to refer back to the instruction manual or datasheet of whatever brand of ESD mat you bought so that only cleaners that do not cause damage to the surface are used. Use only ESD mat cleaners such as ReztoreTM Surface & Mat Cleaner to clean as they help elongate a mat’s lifespan and effectiveness.
Do not use cleaners that contain silicone, as silicone will cause an insulative film on the surface. Do not use solvent-based cleaners, as solvents will dry out the matting and may cause curling
The ESD mat must be appropriately grounded for optimum electrical performance.