ESD Protection and Testing

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What is ESD?

ESD stands for electrostatic discharge and it occurs when two electrically charged bodies with unequal charges encounter each other.

We know that all mater made up of atoms, and atoms have protons and electrons. The protons and electrons carry positive and negative charges. An atom with equal no of protons and neutrons is electrically stable. However, at the surface, there is a possibility to build up charges due to the presence of loosely held charge carriers. It is feasible for any material to pick up charges; even we humans are capable of acquiring up to 20kV of voltage. This presence of electric charge (mobile charge carriers) on the surface of insulated bodies known as an electrostatic charge. A comb rubbed on a dry cloth or hair, attracts pieces of force as it gets charge electrically. This basic experiment learned in school and depicts the presence of electrostatic force and here the flow of static charges or electrostatic discharge occurs. 

The electrostatic discharge in factory environments could be dangerous. Electrostatic discharges might occur through sparks and shocks, and in inflammable atmospheres like textiles, electronics, photography, printing, and paper industries could cause fire explosions. These discharges have been responsible for initiating a fire in offices and hospitals. Most of the machines and modern devices have electronic components. The integrated circuits (ICs) and CMOS technology-based products could affected by electronic discharges. Therefore, the electrostatic discharge could be responsible for delayed signals, call drops, component degradation, melting of metallic parts, rupture of oxides, etc. Random static charges can cause data corruption and lockup of computers in data centers. Sometimes, the damage process is slow and known as the latent defect.  The problem here is that the wearing down of the machines and equipment go unnoticed. At times, electrostatic discharges could lead to catastrophic failures, that is, sudden and complete failure of the system breakdown of power distribution lines and breakdown of insulating materials. Thus, it becomes necessary that devices withstand such discharges and ESD test process carried out without fail.

ESD protected areas (EPAs):

As electrostatic discharges severely affect productivity and quality, hi-tech factories have ESD protected areas. ICs and various electronic products are manufacture in EPAs. Inside EPAs, all objects, people, and surfaces are kept in the same potential and any charge dissipating material is not allowed inside. Minimally the place has special “anti-static” mats on the flooring, grounding cords, and Earth Bonding Point Plugs (EBP Plug). People need to follow ESD control instructions properly to get inside protected areas. They need to wear wristbands, shoe jigs, grounding straps on garments and have to pass through ESD tester. To avoid human errors and lapses, ESD access control systems (ESD ACS) designed as a revolutionary solution for ESD Protection. These control systems can integrated with identity recognition and attendance monitoring systems. High level of precaution needs to take by the manufacturers to avoid quality issues. During the transportation of the goods, anti-static bags, foams, trays, and racks are used.

ESD protection and testing: 

Before selling to the customers, machines and devices with electronic components need to test for ESD withstanding capacity. There are different models for this testing procedure like human body model (HBM), machine model (MM), and charged device model (CDM). The HBM model tests up to 15kV; the MM model can test a maximum of 200kV whereas the CDM model is for high exposure testing and tests up to 1000kV. The equipment under test exposed to direct discharges via ESD gun or via horizontal and vertical coupling planes.

Problems with testing:

Nowadays electronic components are becoming smaller and smaller. The shrinking size of integrated circuits has made them very sensitive to discharges. Moreover, the ESD generators or guns used for testing produce different results when tilted or positioned differently. They also lead to scattering. Irrespective of the method used for testing, there could be failures due to junction damage, metal penetration, and gate-oxide damages. Therefore, in manufacturing units producing electronic, polymer, and textile goods, it is necessary to have ESD protective measures.

ESD Protection: 

ESD Access Control System is key solution to protect the ESD damage from HBM in ESD Protected Area. Every individual has to pass the ESD test before getting entry to ESD Protected Area. Both registered employees and visitors has to do ESD test before getting access to EPA Area. ESD Access Control System comes with many access gates such as ESD Turnstile, ESD Flap Barrier, ESD Magnetic lock and so on. There are many benefits of using ESD access gates like Authorized Access to EPA, Entry and Exit Logs, Attendance logs, Reports helps in ESD Floor Audit, Product Quality improvement and many more. Robato Systems ESD Access Control System is revolutionary solution for ESD Protection on ESD Protection Area.

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