Packaging for ESD sensitive components is a very important task, which should be carried out carefully and properly. As each component can vary in size and shape, the right ESD packaging must be used for optimum protection. By following these tips, you can reduce the risk of packaging failure better. In this article, we will discuss our top seven tips to follow for packing a variety of ESD sensitive products to compliance standards.
Before you select which ESD packaging to use, it’s important to understand the different types of bags, films and foams on offer and the varying levels of protection they provide. Perhaps the most important consideration is whether to use anti-static packaging or static shielding packaging. While these may sound similar, they work in different ways so it’s vital to understand the difference.
Anti-static polyethylene bags help to prevent static building up within the bag, for example, but they don’t protect the contents from electrostatic discharge which occurs outside the bag. Essentially, they do not shield the contents of the bag from outside sources of ESD, but they do help to stop static building up within the bag itself. For this reason, pink anti-static p e bags are often used to package non-ESD-sensitive items that will be used in an electrostatic protected area (EPA).
In contrast, static shielding bags contain a dissipative layer of material that protects against ESD charges that may occur both inside and outside the bag. With a dissipative seal bag, for example, you can prevent static charges from building up but also protect the contents from external ESD charges.
If you’re using static shielding materials for packing ESD sensitive components, it’s essential to create a full ‘Faraday Cage’ effect. Using a shielding box but foregoing a shielding lid will not fully protect the contents from ESD charges, for example. Similarly, failing to properly seal a static shielding bag will mean it does not adequately protect the contents from electrostatic charges. To ensure the items you’re transporting are fully protected from ESD, be sure to create a Faraday Cage effect with shielding materials.
Electrical components that are sensitive to electrostatic discharge can also be extremely vulnerable to temperature and humidity. Due to this, it’s important to assess whether extra protection is required to keep items in optimal, functional condition.
Moisture barrier bags or metallised barrier bags will protect the contents from moisture as well as electrostatic discharge and, therefore, prevent multiple environmental threats that could damage the items you’re transporting.
If items are sensitive to moisture, it can also be beneficial to include desiccant bags within the packaging for enhanced protection, as well as humidity indicator cards to prove that items have been stored and transported in safe conditions.
As many ESD-sensitive items are also fragile, extra protection may be required when they are being handled, stored or transported. Anti-static packing foam provides excellent mechanical and electrical protection, so you can be confident that items can be shipped without being damaged in transit.
Remember – ESD foam cushioning is available in anti-static format, static dissipative, conductive and closed cell for clean rooms, so choose packing foam based on the level of protection required for the items you’re transporting.
Companies routinely use ESD packaging when they are transporting ESD-sensitive components to distributors or customers, but this isn’t the only time that you might need to use electrostatic packaging. In fact, you should ensure that ESD-sensitive items are fully protected any time they are removed from an electrostatic protected area.
A well-equipped EPA will have a variety of equipment to protect against electrostatic discharge, such as an ESD user bench, grounding kit, earth lead and anti-static elastic wristband but, as soon as the items leave the EPA, this protection is lost. To prevent unnecessary damage occurring, ensure that items are always contained in appropriate ESD packaging before they leave an EPA, even if they are remaining on site.
ESD protection film can be used as a primary form of packaging but it’s particularly useful as a secondary layer of protection. When individual components are packaged in ESD static shielding bags or boxes, for example, ESD film can be used to secure them safely on a pallet.
Again, there are many different types of film to choose from, including anti-static film, puncture-resistant conductive film, static shielding film, moisture barrier film and even anti-static bubble wrap.
Although there are plenty of ready-to-use ESD packaging options on the market, it can be advantageous to customise your ESD packaging to suit your needs. ESD packing foam can be cut to your exact specifications to deliver tailored protection to ESD sensitive items, for example. Additionally, ESD protection film can be made in different thickness levels to provide a sufficient level of protection.
With bespoke ESD bags and packaging, you can customise the size or thickness of the packaging to ensure that ESD-sensitive items are properly protected while in transit.
There are a wide variety of ESD packaging options to consider when you’re transporting ESD-sensitive items, which can make it difficult to know which ones are right for your needs! From reusable static shielding boxes to anti-static bags, our range of ESD packaging ensures you can find the perfect solutions for transporting items that are sensitive to electrostatic discharge.
Our experienced team can provide detailed information regarding our range of ESD packaging and help you to find the right products to protect ESD-sensitive items. To find out more, contact our friendly team now on 01793 511000 or email us at email@example.com.
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