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Best Practices to Remove Static Electricity and ESD in Manufacturing

Michael Schapoehler
Posted by Michael Schapoehler on Nov 11, 2021 1:54:51 PM

Last week we looked at WHY Static Electricity & Electrostatic Discharge (ESD) is a Concern for Manufacturing, which covered the basics of static electricity and why you should eliminate it from manufacturing. Now, we're going to explain practical solutions. So let's dive into some real tips and practices you can implement to reduce static electricity in your environment!



Best Practices to Avoid ESD in Manufacturing Environments

1. Avoid moving air

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Did you know that moving air can cause enough friction to ionize materials? It is especially true for the synthetic materials we mentioned in Part 1.
So keep products and electrical equipment away
from fans, HVAC systems, and anything else that generates moving air.

Also, avoid cleaning your electronic products with compressed air (unless it's ionized air, which we'll get to later). 

2. Remove rugs & carpets from your plant

bad-hair-bad-hair-dayAs a kid, you may have rubbed your feet on a rug to get your hair to stand up on end or to give someone a zap. This may have been fun then, but it's not wanted in your plant today! If you can't remodel, consider treating your floors, especially carpets and rugs, with anti-static compounds or utilizing anti-static floor mats.

3. Use Grounding Devices to Dissipate charge

Grounding devices don't get rid of existing static charge, but they do help by preventing a charge from building in the first place. 
Some examples include:

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Anti-static floor mats eliminate static buildup under a person's feet.  Electrostatic wrist straps are simple grounding tools to help dissipate static electricity. Electrical tool operators should wear these as they work to avoid generating a static charge – especially when working with sensitive electronics. Electrostatic safe surfaces allow operators to safely handle ESD-sensitive products and equipment without building a static charge. 
esd bags anti static tubing
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Electrostatic-safe bags safely store products and protect them from damaging ESD events. Anti-static tubing is made from a conductive resin, making them ideal for high static environments.  Anti-static tools and material holders allow workers to move and work on the assembly without generating a static charge.


Shop ESD Components


Are you still having static issues? Find the source.

IZH10-HIf the above best practices aren't doing enough to prevent ESD events, you should first figure out where the static is prevalent. You need to know the problem to fix it!

To be precise, I recommend having a professional company, like Airline, come out and take measurements for you. Not only will they be able to find the problem, but they will be able to advise you on the best cost-effective solution to handle it.

The next-best option is purchasing a form of static measurement equipment. A great option is a handheld meter like the SMC IZH10, which is mobile and ideal for static identification.

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Once you know where the problem spots are, it's sometimes good to install a permanently-installed sensor
to monitor those areas and ensure your solutions are working correctly.

Once you pinpoint high static areas, the next step is to select one or more ionizers to dissipate the charge correctly.

What are Ionizers?

ionizersElectrical ionizers are devices you can install to help eliminate existing static charges on the surface of a material. They generally work by pulling positive and negative ions from the air and releasing them towards a charged target. When the ions reach the target, they naturally absorb the ions to achieve equilibrium (no charge). 

There are many different ionizers, each with its pros and cons, making them very situational. We'll be going over how to choose the right ionizer for your situation in next week's article, so stay tuned!

For many reasons, static electricity is a concern for most manufacturers and can cause expensive issues with their machine line. Luckily, by implementing simple practices and incorporating different technologies, static discharge can be minimized and mitigated in the workplace. Unfortunately, in many industrial environments, these measures are still not enough. So be sure to look out for next week's article, where we'll cover the different types of ionizers to use if static is still an issue. Remember, you can reach out to Airline anytime to get help with your ESD needs, or shop here now!




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Topics: Pneumatics, Electrical, Explainers, Video

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