A lot of people are aware of regular high charging tape in ESD Protected Areas (EPAs) and know that these should be replaced with ESD tape. However, there is a lot of confusion out there as to what type of ESD tape should be used for what application. So, to alleviate the confusion and ensure that you choose the right kind of ESD tape, we’ve compiled this list of the different types of ESD tape available to you and what they can be used for.
Firstly, let’s recap on what ESD is. ESD is an acronym for Electrostatic Discharge. Quite simply, ESD can occur when there is an electric charge between two or more surfaces. When in contact with one another, these surfaces can rub, create friction and thus become electrically charged. As the two surfaces have different charges, this can cause an ESD, resulting in a static shock. While it is a common nuisance in our everyday lives, it can be detrimental to businesses in the electronics field where static must be controlled.
Similar to regular cello-tape, ESD (Electro-static Discharge) tape is a type of adhesive tape that can be used for various applications. What differentiates ESD tape to regular tape contains anti-static properties. This allows the tape to be used around or placed onto electronic components or devices without the risk of static discharge. ESD tape can be naturally anti-static, but the majority of ESD tapes have been treated so that as it is unwound or used, there is very little risk of static charge.
Commonly, ESD tape is used for the sealing of ESD packaging such as bags and boxes. However, depending on the type of ESD tape, some can have heat resistance properties that allow them to be used for masking during wave soldering.
ESD safe tape is primarily used as a protection device which can help prevent static generation and dissipation that can affect static sensitive components and devices. ESD tape can help to reduce the risk of contamination of your electrical products; including printed circuit boards, integrated circuits, memory chips and semiconductors. Often, it is used in addition to storing equipment in a cleanroom.
Exposing your products to electrostatic discharge can often lead to ESD damage. This can be irreversible and can sometimes go unnoticed until months or even years in time. Therefore, managing the risk of ESD is very important.
When we think about ESD tape, anti-static tape may be the first to come to our minds. However, in fact, there are many different types of ESD tape that have been curated for various uses and applications.
ESD tape can vary according to:
It is important to consider the material, technical properties, size, colour and design of the tape as this can have a significant impact on the application.
So, what are the types of ESD tape you can use? Here are eight common examples.
1. ESD conductive shielding grid tape
2. ESD high temperature tape
3. Non-ESD high temperature tape
4. Anti-static tape
5. ESD blue clear tape
6. Aisle / floor marking tape
7. ESD Awareness Language Tape
8. General Purpose Static Awareness Tape
ESD conductive tape, also known as ESD grid tape, is a popular choice for use in Electrostatic Protected Areas where static-sensitive components and devices are handled. Many people opt for this type of tape due to its anti-static inner and outer surfaces; that will not flake, crack, shed, chip, or rub off the inner layer grids. Often, you will find that most ESD conductive tapes can be used in conjunction with an ESD tape dispenser which is very convenient for bench work.
Commonly, the tape is used for sealing primary or intimate packaging due to its EMI shielding. While it can be used to seal ESD packaging and containers, it can also be used for the following applications:
If you are looking for a tape that offers high heat resistance that will remain stable across a wide range of temperatures, then ESD high temperature tape is the best option for you. This type of tape is widely used for masking printed circuit boards during wave solder or solder dip processes due to its high heat insulation properties; protecting fragile components during manufacture. You may also find polyimide tape used for solder wave masking and electrical insulation.
This type of tape is very similar to the ESD high temperature tape except it does not contain anti-static properties. Therefore, non-ESD high temperature tape should not be used in areas where electrostatic sensitive devices or components are handled. While it is non-ESD, this tape still offers exceptional heat insulation which makes it suitable to use for high temperature masking applications. This type of tape material can also be processed into polyimide film.
A stationery essential for all Electrostatic Protected Areas. Anti-static tape is the ideal type of tape to use for all general purpose applications; a suitable replacement for non-ESD cello tape. It is important that you replace standard tape with an anti-static alternative to comply with the IEC-61340-1-5 International Standard. This will ensure the safety of static sensitive components and devices in the EPA.
Anti-static tape is particularly ideal for sealing conductive plastic bags that are commonly used for protecting static sensitive components (i.e. static shielding bags). It can also be used for various other applications listed below.
Often, you may come across anti-static tape in different colours. While ESD blue tape is clear blue in colour, it possesses the same properties as anti-static tape. This is mostly down to personal preference.
This type of tape is particularly used to seal conductive / ESD bags or boxes and other ESD packaging materials.
Aisle and floor marking tape can help mark the boundaries of an ESD Protected Area; defining walkways, zones and safe areas. It is typically used outside of entrances to provide a clear warning that people are entering an Electrostatic Protected Area (EPA). Marking tape can be used for marking out the floor area of an EPA, as well as applying to walls. However, this tape should not be used inside the EPA as it lacks ESD control properties.
Floor marking tape can be applied onto most surfaces. It particularly adheres well to synthetic flooring such as PVC floor tiles. It is also suitable for application on concrete flooring where it can be expected to withstand heavy traffic, particle contaminations and remain intact for several months. Marking tape is typically fluorescent yellow in colour with black printing to enhance visibility and awareness.
ESD packaging tape is great to use for packaging items securely. You will often find that these types of tapes are available in multiple languages; most can be added on request. As these tapes do not contain any anti-static properties, they should not be used in areas where electrostatic sensitive devices and components are present.
These tapes are fluorescent yellow in colour with black text / print to enhance awareness. Most ESD packaging tapes are suitable to use with manual and automatic tape dispensers which is very convenient for offices or workstations. Depending on the supplier, you can find eco-friendly options that are completely recyclable.
After reading this article, you will know that ESD tapes come in all sorts of sizes, colours and materials, each with their own unique properties, so make sure you check the specifications to ensure your chosen tape will work for your application. Once you have chosen the right kind of ESD tape, don’t forget to purchase an ESD tape dispenser to go with it.
If you are still unsure of which type of ESD tape you need, our team can help you determine the most appropriate tape for your application and budget. Alternatively, an ESD audit can help you identify which type of tape and equipment you need to comply with the IEC-61340-1-5 International Standard.
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