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Antistatic Clothing: What You Need To Know

There are many different factors to consider when constructing an ESD-safe cleanroom, workplace or manufacturing establishment. What would be the clothes that are appropriate for use in an antistatic workplace? Let’s find out! Different kinds of fabric present an ESD threat in a workplace, including the material used to make the carpeting, employee uniforms, and cleaning and pantry supplies such as workstation towels. Many companies commonly use a high volume of antistatic clothing in order for them to ensure the lowest possible level of an accidental electrostatic discharge onto a static sensitive device.

Keep on reading this article, as we will let you know more about Anti Static Clothing and the types of Anti Static Clothing you should use.

What is ESD-Safe Clothing?

Electrostatic discharge (ESD) safe clothing is specifically designed to prevent static charges that pass from a person, or their clothing, into the surrounding area. They are worn whenever static damage is a concern and are common practice in a number of industries. Some of the most common types of ESD-safe clothing you’ll find are smocks, coveralls and boots.

Most antistatic clothing is made from polyester or cotton and then embedded with a line of carbon fibre. These fibres effectively create a Faraday Cage around the body of the person wearing the item of clothing. This shields and dissipates any charges generated from the clothing that could otherwise damage all the devices that are sensitive to static electricity.

Electrostatic discharge (ESD) safe clothing is generally manufactured from manmade fabrics as, unlike natural materials, their fibres won’t break down. This helps to minimise static and create a safer working environment. All ESD safe clothing must meet the Standards for ESD clothing set by the IEC-61340-1-5 International Standard in order to properly protect the employees or person and the surrounding environment.

What Are The Different Kinds Of ESD-Safe Clothing?

ESD safe clothing come in a variety of styles, including, ESD lab jackets, ESD lab coats, ESD polo shirts, ESD fleeces, ESD sweatshirts, ESD high visibility vests, ESD t-shirts and ESD cardigan jackets.

ESD Lab Coats & Jackets

A popular clothing option for static protection. ESD-safe lab coats and lab jackets hinder charging and remove any static charge thanks to the conductive yarn that is woven into the fabric. Made with a static dissipative woven fabric with carbon loaded yarns in 5mm grid, the lab coats and jackets are safe to wear in static controlled areas. ESD lab coats and lab jackets are commonly worn in medical areas, cleanrooms (microelectronics) and hospital laboratories.

ESD Polo Shirts

ESD polo shirts are a good all-round type of clothing and can be worn all year round. Most types of ESD polo shirts are made from cotton, polyester or a bled of both materials and woven with conductive yarn. ESD polo shirts allow for more flexibility when moving around in the workplace as they can be less restricting than antistatic lab coats and lab jackets. While ESD polo shirts can be worn in most industries that require static protection, they are commonly worn in the electronics manufacturing industry.

ESD High Visibility Vests

For manufacturing environments and hazardous situations where ESD and safety is of concern, ESD high vis vests are worn as part of a company’s ESD personal protective equipment. Made from a static dissipative woven fabric and designed with reflective stripes, these vests allow for enhanced visibility in low-light conditions where static needs to be controlled.

ESD Fleeces, ESD Sweatshirts and ESD Jackets

ESD workwear such as fleeces, sweatshirts and jackets are designed for working in low-temperature conditions in Electro Static Protected Areas and cold manufacturing environments.

Beyond clothing, other types of ESD protective wear include ESD shoes, ESD heel straps, antistatic gloves, ESD caps, and ESD wrist straps and cords.

Premium ESD lab jackets in royal blue and white. Bondline.Yellow ESD High Visibility Vest From Bondline Electronics LtdPremium ESD lab jackets in royal blue and white. Bondline.

How ESD-Safe Clothing Could Help Your Employees

Keeping your employees safe and protected is imperative for any employer, from both morality and a business profitability perspective. Comfortable and safe workers are happier, and this will also improve their morale and productivity. Providing them with safety equipment to protect them from the dangers of electrostatic discharge can be hugely beneficial in regards to this.

Unlike normal clothing, which is made from high-insulating materials that cannot protect against ESD, ESD-safe clothing is made with specialist materials and fibres that help to dissipate a static charge to Earth. Depending on the ESD-safe garment you choose to purchase, ESD-safe garments will be made with a plethora of connective fibres that help to redirect ESD away from the worker’s skin and instead connect to the ground surroundings, thereby Earthing out the clothing and the worker; this protects the static sensitive components that the operator may be working on from any potential static damage.

Importance Of Bondline Antistatic Clothing

Many people may ask why they should wear ESD-safe clothes, also known as antistatic smocks if they are already grounded and Earthed via an ESD-safe wrist strap. This is due to the common misconception of people believing that if they were wearing a wrist-strap then any charge from their clothes or person would be grounded to Earth. Let’s take this as an example: if your regular (high-insulating) clothes were to generate a static charge, the charge could still disperse into the surrounding area and potentially onto a static sensitive device damaging it, despite wearing an ESD-safe wrist-strap. Additionally, If you were to accidentally brush against a static sensitive component or if you were to drop it onto yourself whilst wearing normal (high-insulating) clothes, a static charge could generate on your clothes and could transfer onto the static sensitive component, potentially damaging it. Wearing anti-static clothes can help to prevent static damage in the first place – a first line of defence! This is why it is important to wear the proper anti-static clothing.

Antistatic clothing is an important part of many electronic engineering and manufacturing companies, alongside health environments, laboratories, and precision engineering facilities. Despite sometimes not being industry-standard, ESD-safe clothing is very practical, especially for the electronics and engineering industries. Not only that, they also maximise full ESD protection which is crucial in highly sensitive environments such as microelectronics.

Antistatic Clothing FAQs

How do you know if clothes are antistatic?

Antistatic clothing is designed to reduce the damage caused by static generation on the surface of clothes. It is typically used in industries where electrostatic discharge (ESD) can pose a hazard, such as electronics manufacturing or cleanroom environments. But how do you know if your clothes are antistatic?

One way to determine if your clothes are antistatic is by looking at the label or manufacturer’s information. The label may state that the garment has been treated with an antistatic agent or it may be made from a specific type of fabric that naturally resists static build-up. Additionally, some manufacturers may have their own labelling system to indicate that a garment is antistatic.

What is the standard for antistatic clothing?

The standard for antistatic clothing usually involves measuring the electrical resistance of the fabric. In Europe, the standard for antistatic clothing is EN 1149-1, otherwise known as the IEC 61340-5-1 International Standard, which specifies requirements for protective clothing with electrostatic properties. The standard requires that garments should have a surface resistance of less than 2.5 x 10^(9) ohms.

Regardless of which specific standard is used, it’s important that these clothes are properly maintained and cared for in order to ensure their continued effectiveness in reducing static electricity build-up and protecting both the wearer and surrounding electronic components from damage or harm.

How does anti-static clothing work?

Anti-static clothing is made from materials that are designed to prevent the build-up of static electricity. They work by dissipating any electrical charges away from the body and into the ground, which prevents damage to static sensitive electronic components and helps keep workers safe in potentially explosive environments.

The most common type of anti-static clothing is made from a blend of polyester and carbon fibre, which creates a conductive fabric that can dissipate static charges. Other materials used include cotton, nylon and polypropylene with conductive fibres woven in.

Anti-static clothing is typically worn in industries where there is a high risk of electrostatic discharge, such as electronics manufacturing, cleanrooms and chemical plants. It’s important to note that while anti-static clothing can reduce the risk of ESD, it does not eliminate it entirely. Workers should still take precautions such as grounding themselves before handling static sensitive products or entering hazardous areas.

What makes antistatic cloth so special?

As well as being able to dissipate static charges from the body to the ground, antistatic cloth is also designed to be stronger and more reliable than what you’d typically find in a fabric garment or item, including water resistance and overall durability.

What Are The Benefits of Using Antistatic Clothing?

Protection against ESD

Antistatic clothing can provide significant benefits in protecting static sensitive components from electrostatic discharge (ESD). Clothing made from antistatic materials provides a barrier against ESD, which is especially important for those working with static sensitive electronic components and devices. Antistatic clothing helps prevent static build-up on the surface of the material, which can prevent irreversible damage to the products and reduce the risk of accidental shocks.

Prevention of damage to static sensitive electronic components

ESD occurs when two objects or surfaces with different levels of electrical charge come into contact with each other, causing a sudden flow of current that can damage electronic components. Antistatic clothing helps reduce this risk by preventing static electricity from building up on the wearer’s body.

Minimisation of fire and explosion risks

Antistatic clothing is an essential tool in minimising fire and explosion risks, especially in workplaces where flammable materials are used. Such clothing is designed to minimise the build-up of static electricity on the surface of garments by providing a path for electrical charge to flow away from the body harmlessly. This helps prevent electrostatic discharges that could ignite flammable gases or vapours.

Antistatic clothing is particularly useful for workers involved in handling chemicals, fuels, and other volatile substances. The use of antistatic clothing reduces the risk of sparks being generated during transfer processes or when filling containers with flammable fluids. Investing in high-quality antistatic workwear can go a long way towards creating a safer workplace environment while also improving productivity and reducing downtime due to accidents caused by static discharge.

What Are The Industries That Require Antistatic Clothing?

Electronics manufacturing and assembly

Electronics manufacturing and assembly is a highly specialized process that requires the use of antistatic clothing. The electronic components are extremely sensitive to static electricity, which can easily damage them during production if proper precautions aren’t taken. For this reason, the workers in electronics manufacturing plants need to wear antistatic clothing to prevent static build-up.

Pharmaceutical and medical industries

The production of medicines and other pharmaceutical products involves handling sensitive chemicals that are highly flammable. Static electricity can easily ignite these chemicals, causing an explosion or fire. Antistatic clothing helps to prevent static charges from building up in the body of workers who handle these static sensitive materials.

Similarly, the medical industry also requires antistatic clothing. In a hospital setting, electrostatic discharge can damage delicate medical equipment such as monitors and defibrillators, leading to malfunctioning or inaccurate readings. Therefore, it is important for healthcare professionals to wear antistatic clothing to effectively manage and mitigate any risks associated with electrostatic discharge in medical settings.

Explosives and volatile materials handling

Antistatic clothing is an essential part of the equipment used in this industry, as it helps prevent static electricity build-up that can lead to dangerous sparks. Industries such as mining, oil and gas exploration, chemical manufacturing, and fireworks production are just a few examples of those that require antistatic clothing.

Electronics Manufacturing

Get Your ESD-Safe Clothing Now At Bondline

Bondline is a UK leading supplier and vast stockist – specialising in the production and distribution of high-quality ESD Products and Static control Equipment to the electronics manufacturing industry.

This year we are celebrating 35 years in the business, you can rely on our experienced friendly team for all your Static Control needs.

Antistatic clothing should always be seen as a vital aid in ESD-protected areas. Bondline’s antistatic smocks are specifically designed to prevent damage to static sensitive electronic components that are being assembled or packaged within a protected area.

Protect yourself and your electronic components today by investing in our high-quality ESD-safe clothes. Additionally, contact us for our bespoke customisation service, or you may visit our website for more details at ESD Garments and Gloves | Bondline Electronics. Hope to see you soon!

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Chloé Warlow
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