Antistatic clothing should always be seen as another vital aid in ESD Protected Areas. Often, this is overlooked. Our ESD-safe clothing range can help prevent damage to sensitive electronic components that are being assembled or packaged within a protected area.
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Do you use antistatic clothing as part of your personal protection in an EPA? If not, you should consider implementing it in your ESD Control Programme.
There are many different factors to consider when establishing an ESD-safe cleanroom, workplace or manufacturing facility. 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.
Antistatic clothing is an essential part of many electronic manufacturing and engineering companies, including labs, health environments and precision engineering facilities. Despite the ESD Standard not requiring ESD clothes, they are still 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 including microelectronics.
Many people may ask why they should wear ESD-safe clothes, also known as ESD-safe smocks, if they are already grounded to Earth via a wrist-strap. This is due to the common misconception of people believing that if they were wearing an antistatic wrist-strap then any charges from their clothes or personnel 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. This is why it is important to wear the proper anti-static clothing.
Static discharge is destructive to sensitive electronic components. Even 1 volt of electricity is enough to cause damage but most devices need around 100 volts to cause damage that is beyond repair.
Humans cannot feel a static discharge unless it is 2,000 volts or higher. So, if you don’t feel a zap, it doesn’t mean a static discharge did not happen or damage your electronic components.
There are many industries that depend on electronic components and their reliability to work in harsh conditions, so the need for ESD protective clothing is very important.
Often, electronic component producers are not aware that static discharge has damaged their products during the assembly process, unless they test all components one by one or see their final product fail after assembly. If these products were used in an industry like aerospace, one minor problem on a small component could lead to an enormous failure, which is why ESD is a major challenge for many industries. You can learn more about ESD by reading our blog post.
Electrostatic discharge (ESD) safe clothing is specifically designed to prevent static charges that pass from a person, or their clothing, into the surrounding area and onto sensitive electronic components. 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 ESD-safe 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 protective clothing set by the IEC-61340-1-5 International Standard in order to properly protect the employees or person and the surrounding environment.
The main reason as to why people wear ESD-safe smocks is to shield their insulative clothing and minimise the electric fields generated from their clothing. By wearing these protective clothes, it allows static fields to be suppressed on employee clothing. The conductive fibres woven into the material provide a ‘Faraday Cage’ effect that prevents dangerous fields from extending to and damaging sensitive products. Therefore, allowing an ESD-safe area.
As touched on above, clothing material is a significant factor to consider when selecting what to wear in your Electrostatic Protected Area (EPA). If your clothes are manufactured from synthetic fibres then they can generate great amounts of static charge and could potentially cause damage to sensitive electronics. However, if the fabric is an insulator it can cause catastrophic results when in contact with static-sensitive components; this is because an isolated charged insulator cannot be grounded. When working with ESD sensitive equipment, you should also consider your sleeves and waist since they can produce several thousand volts (a significant electric field to expose nearby conductors) that may induce charges on nearby isolated conductors.
Bondline’s antistatic smocks are specifically designed to prevent damage to sensitive electronic components that are being assembled or packaged within a protected area.
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 or 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 / devices that the operator may be working on from potential static damage.
When looking for antistatic clothes to purchase, you should look for clothes that have antistatic properties that protect the user and the surrounding electronic items from ESD contact.
The following ESD control characteristics you should look for are as follows:
When choosing your ESD-safe garments, always look for the material composition and, if possible, where the garments have been sourced from; so you know you are purchasing high-quality clothing that have a good longevity.
Here at Bondline, we ensure that we use the highest quality fabrics and static dissipative materials to provide you with excellent ESD protection. Additionally, our ESD-safe clothing range is specially designed to be comfortable and light-weight for the operator to ensure maximum satisfaction and increased productivity.
We offer a wide array of anti static clothing to suit a range of needs and requirements, including the following:
Overall, ESD-safe clothing should always be seen as another vital aid in an ESD protective area. Static control products are there to minimise effects of electrostatic charges being built up from non-ESD clothing. It’s best to invest in high-quality ESD-safe clothing rather than having to spend a great amount of money and time in replacing electronics damaged from static.
Within our garment range, there are three types of ESD-safe clothing that prove to be our best sellers among our customers. These are antistatic lab coats, antistatic lab jackets and ESD polo shirts.
ESD Lab Coats – Our antistatic lab coats have been specially designed to be comfortable, lightweight yet practical for the user. The lab coats have been manufactured using a static dissipative material which makes them suitable to be worn in ESD protected areas. The conductive yarn on the lab coats ensures the garments eliminate static and prevent the effects of electrostatic charges being built up from non-ESD clothing. Lab coats are essential to wear in environments such as electronics manufacturing, labs, cleanroom, health environments and precision engineering environments.
ESD Lab Jackets – Similarly, to our ESD lab coats, our ESD lab jackets make an excellent addition to your static control gear. The shorter length makes the lab jackets even more practical when moving around your electrostatic protected area. They are comfortable, lightweight and extremely practical! Likewise to ESD lab coats, they have a conductive yarn that ensures the garments eliminate static and prevent the effects of electrostatic charges being built up from non-ESD clothing.
You can read more about why ESD lab coats and lab jackets are essential for these industries on our blog post.
ESD Polo Shirts – Our antistatic polo shirts are excellent for all year round wear. They allow for comfortable work in your electrostatic protected area. Our polo shirts allow for more flexibility when moving around in the workplace as they can be less restricting than antistatic lab smocks. ESD polo shirts have excellent antistatic properties which makes them suitable for EPAs. A great choice for all environments and seasons.
Would you like your brand to stand out when meeting or visiting clients? Bondline offer a premium bespoke customisation service for their antistatic clothes on request. Whether you’d like your clothes to have a specific colour that matches your company’s branding or even to have your company’s logo embroidered, we can make this happen for you.
Please contact us if you would are interested in our bespoke customisation service and we can discuss your requirements with you!
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