If you’re in the electronics industry, you probably already know that component and device safety is an incredibly important part of your business. You also probably know that ESD protective gear is a crucial part of workplace and electronics safety. That said, there is likely an array of information out there on different styles of ESD gloves and anti-static clothing. Here, you can learn more about ESD gloves and the function they serve in different working environments.
The primary purpose of ESD gloves (also referred to as electrostatic dissipative gloves or anti-static gloves) is to minimise static discharge and prevent damage to static sensitive electronic components. When static electricity isn’t dissipated safely, this can be destructive to the internal circuitry of devices. Its effects can range from a latent defect to permanent damage to the device.
Latent defects to a device are when an ESD event causes a component to degrade, which could drastically shorten its expected operating lifespan. On the other hand, exposure to ESD can also cause fatal damage to a component through breakdown voltage, leading to an immediate product failure. This type of damage is often caught in the testing process and before the product is shipped to consumers. Meanwhile, latent damage is usually more challenging to detect. Products with latent defects could then reach customers, and a system failure can occur while they’re in use. Wearing ESD anti-static gloves can keep static sensitive electronics safe from damage due to static discharge and prevent products from failing.
Generally, ESD events are harmless for humans. An exceptional case would be lightning, which is considered an ESD event but on a much larger scale. But while exposure to ESD is not typically considered life-threatening for humans, it is still vital for workers in industries such as electronics and aerospace to follow ESD safety standards. This is not only to protect electronics from ESD damage. Maintaining ESD protocols also allows workers to safeguard themselves from possible harm due to static discharge.
There are various protective gear that workers can use to promote ESD safety while working. Aside from gloves, workers can also utilise ESD-safe mats, wrist straps, shoes and garments. By wearing ESD gloves and other safety equipment, workers can prevent static electricity from building up. Consequently, this helps them protect themselves from electric shocks due to static discharge.
In settings where ESD gloves are a mainstay, such as in electronics assembly, labs and cleanrooms where workers handle sensitive components, protecting workers and their hands is vital. But it’s also essential for workers to be able to use their hands efficiently to maintain productivity in the workplace. This only works if the protective gear they’re wearing are comfortable enough and have a perfect fit.
The best anti-static gloves come from reliable suppliers and are made from static dissipative polyester to ensure workers’ ESD safety. They should allow for the efficient assembling and handling of electronics, especially when employees are working on small and sensitive components. They should provide optimal flexibility, fingertip sensitivity and grip, so workers can carry out their tasks well and perform effectively. Another feature to look out for is the durability of the gloves. They should offer protection from cuts and abrasions while still being breathable enough, so they can be worn all day if needed.
There are different types of ESD gloves available. To suit various production environments, anti-static gloves come in different materials, sizes and even styles. Generally, ESD gloves are used for handling and transporting static sensitive equipment, PCB milling, chemical engineering and manufacturing explosives.
The popular materials for ESD gloves are latex, vinyl, nitrile and fabric. Latex gloves are affordable and protect a person’s lower arms and wrists. They’re great for working on wiring and installations or maintenance of electrical equipment. However, those allergic to latex will need to find other options for ESD gloves. An alternative to latex is vinyl. Gloves made from vinyl typically have rolled cuffs and are ambidextrous. They’re ideal for assembling electronics and other Cleanroom settings.
Meanwhile, anti-static gloves made from nitrile are highly durable and resistant to punctures and chemicals. They’re often used in Cleanroom environments, labs, industrial cleaning, electrical maintenance, as well as utilities and engineering applications. Lastly, fabric gloves are washable, making them a cost-effective alternative to disposable gloves. They can be used in biotech and electronics environments. This type of glove is most widely used across the electronics manufacturing industry.
Some ESD gloves are specifically designed to be resistant to various chemicals and oils. This is essential for those working in the petrochemical industry, explosives industry and other environments where multiple hazardous chemicals are present. ESD gloves that are resistant to a wide array of chemicals protect workers from chemical contamination. They ensure that contaminants won’t be able to penetrate the material and therefore come in contact with the workers’ skin.
Aside from providing a protective barrier against chemical contamination, ESD gloves also help minimise the risk of fires and explosions. Electrostatic discharge, when not dissipated in labs and other environments, can cause combustible materials to ignite and explode.
The proper and effective wearing of ESD gloves, coupled with other protective gear and equipment, can help a company cost-wise. Product failures, in terms of permanent damage and latent defects alike, can cost businesses billions annually.
ESD damage in the workplace can lead to significant setbacks in production, which can affect an organisation’s profitability. Meanwhile, devices with latent defects that result in system failures impact the reliability of the product and the satisfaction of consumers. Indeed, a company would do well to implement an effective ESD control program to help avoid these issues and protect their workers at the same time.
Get the correct level of static protection with Bondline and our wide range of ESD gloves that can match various working environments. For queries and advice on getting the best ESD-safe gloves for your needs, contact our ESD experts now.
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