A Trusted UK Supplier Of ESD Products Since 1986

ESD Matting

Bondline’s range of anti-static mats and bench matting are designed to keep you grounded when working with static-sensitive devices. Our matting is available in a range of sizes, colours and studs to suit all applications.

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Anti-Static Mats for ESD Applications

Bondline offer a wide variety of ESD worktop mats and ESD floor mats, including some of the following:

ESD Matting In An EPA

ESD working surfaces, such as mats, are typically an integral part of the ESD workstation, particularly in areas where hand assembly occurs. It is important that each bench, or work surface, is covered with the proper ESD material and is properly connected to earth using a system of cords and Earth Bonding Points (EBPs). Most workstations will use pliable ESD matting to cover the bench and be the ESD work-surface on which to handle ESD sensitive (ESDS) items. The mat needs to be grounded and best practice is to use metal grounding hardware snaps and ground cords connecting the work-surface mat to the common point ground. The entire bench-top should be covered by the ESD mat.

An ESD protective work surface is usually dissipative on the surface with a conductive layer either underneath (2-layer matting), or buried between two dissipative layers (3-layer matting). Although conductive materials are the quickest to ground a charge, they can also cause damage by discharging too rapidly.

Walking alone can create static electricity. However, ESD matting can help to disperse this electricity. These mats have electrically conductive carbon fibres throughout. Consequently, the ESD flows at a slower rate across the surface of the mat which in turn neutralises it. There is also matting available which is appropriate to use on workbenches, trolleys and other surfaces.

It’s important to be comfortable whilst you’re working, that’s why you should consider investing in quality, comfortable matting to give you the support and comfort you need. At Bondline, we offer a range of comfortable anti static matting including anti-fatigue matting, anti-fatigue mats and cushion matting.

Importance of Antistatic Mats

Industrial static control is increasing in demand and many businesses are looking for ways to reduce static damage in their workplaces. Any static damage is devastating to manufacturers since components are costly to produce. ESD matting is an essential grounding item for many businesses because it reduces the risk of static charge.

We can’t eliminate generation or discharge of static in a working environment; therefore, the best solution is to neutralise the charges when they occur. Proper grounding and use of anti-static mats neutralise the ESD. For full guidance on ESD, see our ESD guidance post.

How Do Anti-Static Mats Work?

ESD or Static matting is designed to drain static discharge from items placed on its surface. It also serves to protect the surface of the ESD sensitive devices from wear and tear (but that’s a secondary benefit). The way it does this is by slowing down the flow of static charge, which neutralises the static electricity and moves the charge into the (grounded) mat, away from the electronic components being worked on.

The performance of ESD matting is based on the material it’s constructed from, as well as its electrical properties and abilities to withstand heat, chemicals and mechanical abrasion.

Generally, anti-static mats have a low electrical resistance of between 0.1 and 1000 MegaOhm (MΩ). The use of anti-static matting prevents the build-up of electrostatic charge in the body by dissipating this charge and thus prevents a sudden discharge between electrically charged objects on contact.

How Are ESD Mats Used?

Many working environments involve risks, which is exactly why ESD mats and accessories for floors or workbenches are indispensable. These products contribute to the efficient control of ESD, especially for the protection of sensitive components and workers.

For a mat to effectively ground an item, the mat must be either conductive or dissipative and be connected to a suitable grounding point. ESD accessories that should be used in conjunction include shoe earthing straps, wristbands and coiled cables in order to be effective.

A fantastic little kit you could use for your workstation is our work station kit, which provides you with all the essentials you’ll need to carry out tasks. Great for personal use or for small businesses who are looking for a great value, compact grounding kit.

Common Environments Where ESD Mats Are Used

ESD mats are commonly found in environments where electrostatic sensitive products are present, or where static electricity can potentially cause harm. These often include:

  • Computer server rooms.
  • Assembly lines.
  • ESD Protected Areas (EPAs).
  • Microchip manufacturing plants.
  • Computer repair shops.
  • Operating rooms.
  • Environments where flammable materials are present.
  • Medical and dental offices.
  • Electronics Manufacturing.
  • Clean rooms.
  • And more besides.

The use of ESD mats is common in companies where employees regularly come into contact with ESD-sensitive products; however, these mats are also necessary in situations where employees may only occasionally enter ESD-sensitive environments, such as back office staff who sometimes need to enter a clean room or manufacturing space.

Types of ESD Mats

Generally, ESD mats are divided into two categories: ESD work surface mats and ESD floor mats.

Bench Mats

ESD work surface mats, also known as table top mats, are typically thinner than floor mats. They are usually available in either smoothly or lightly embossed finishes. Bench mats’ surfaces are generally embossed to help to reduce the surface’s reflective properties, reducing glare and improving operator comfort – aiding workers with complicated electronic assembly tasks. With that in mind, bench mats tend to come in bright, light colours to help workers find smaller components on their surface, and are designed to be used with other ESD controls such as wrist straps and grounding points.

Floor Mats

Underfoot ESD mats are usually larger and thicker than table mats as they need to absorb more wear and tear. They have more durability and, because of their strong formation, they often last longer too. They feature heavier embossing, or sometimes grooves, to prevent workers from slipping. Additionally, many come with anti-fatigue cushioning to improve operator comfort so that long periods of standing at a time is more comfortable and improves the operator’s health. Colour-wise, they typically come in dark colours to hide dirt and scuffs from workers’ shoes. However, the darker colours can make seeing components challenging if they accidentally drop from the worktop onto the floor. ESD floor mats are designed to work as part of a wider ESD protection scheme. When using ESD floor mats, you should always ensure to use ESD footwear in conjunction with the floor matting. This allows full grounding and Earthing so you can be sure you are static-free when moving around the EPA.

ESD Matting Materials

Before choosing your matting, there are four ESD matting compositions you need to know about first. Each composition offers different levels of static resistance, and every one are typically used for different reasons.

Homogenous (Vinyl and Rubber):

  • Homogenous or solid mats are made of a single layer polymer mix and therefore consist of the same material throughout.
  • These mats provide good mechanical service with electrical performance normally limited to about 109 to 1010 RTG.

Three Layer (Vinyl):

  • Three-layer mats are constructed from a conductive metal/carbon layer between a top surface of the vinyl and a layer of vinyl on the back.
  • The conductive layer improves the electrical properties by acting as a fast track to move the static charge to ground.
  • The foam back layer provides a cushioning effect, making it easier to pick up parts.

Two Layer (Vinyl):

  • This mat combines the foam from the three-layer mat and the dissipative vinyl from solid mats.
  • As it contains no metallised layer it provides average electrical performance.
  • It does, however, provide a more cost-effective option.

Two Layer (Rubber):

  • This option provides a top layer of static dissipative rubber and the back layer of conductive rubber, giving the same electrical performance as the vinyl three-layer mat, but with great tolerance to heat and chemicals.
  • The type of matting, however, does come with a cost premium.

The type of matting material you oft for can provide you with different benefits, whether it be a more cost-effective solution or provides better static dissipation.

Vinyl mat advantages:

  • Generally, vinyl mats are most widely used for tabletop or work surface applications.
  • Vinyl mats are cost-effective, easy to cut to shape and provide excellent static dissipation.
  • Vinyl floor matting is suitable to use for electronics manufacturing applications that require the use of ESD footwear.

Rubber mat advantages:

  • Rubber mats are heat resistant (resistant of hot solder; whereas Vinyl material will melt).
  • Rubber mats are used where high resistance to heat and chemicals is required.
  • Rubber mats remain in its same form. Whereas vinyl mats can change and become harder in cold conditions.
  • Rubber mats are said to be better for the environment.
  • Rubber mats are stable; ESD properties cannot change.
  • Rubber mats are generally cheaper to manufacture – cost-effective savings.

How Is ESD Matting Measured?

ESD matting can be measured in three ways:

  • Resistance To Ground (RTG): The main measurement, and the one we’ll focus on most in the examples below. RTG measures the resistance given between the most heavily used part of the ESD mat and the electrical ground.
  • Resistance to Groundable Point (RTGP): This functions like RTG with one difference. It measures the resistance between a single point on the mat’s surface and the grounding point of the work surface.
  • Resistance Point to Point (RTP): Surface resistance from one part of the mat’s surface to another point ten inches apart.

Field Service Work

Field work is perhaps the most risky situation of handling ESD sensitive devices, it is also often the most neglected aspect of ESD damage prevention. The situation is risky as there are usually many potential ESD sources in the environment. If you will be working off-site at a remote location, we recommend that you invest in a Field Service Kit.

How To Maintain An ESD Mat

Since dirt can behave as an insulator, it is important to regularly clean ESD mats before testing and monitoring the resistivity. Cleaning will also ensure optimum electrical performance and, by regularly cleaning, you will maintain the original resistivity of the anti-static mat whilst extending its shelf-life.

To clean ESD mats, we recommend using a mild, multi-purpose neutral cleaner that doesn’t contain any alkali, ammonia or chemicals on RoHS and REACH SvHC. You should also opt for a cleaner that leaves no streaks or film. Generally, any ESD-safe mat cleaner should be safe to use on workstations, table tops and anti-static mats, including rubber and vinyl.

An example of a good ESD-safe mat cleaner is Bondline’s Staticide Mat and Table Top Cleaner. This mat cleaner is a non-flammable cleaner that leaves no film or streaks. It effectively removes flux residues, oily finger-marks, grease, nicotine, dirt, grime and inorganic contaminants. It also removes dirt on chair mats and other antistatic mats without degrading the surface’s antistatic properties.

Matting Supplier

Finding the right manufacturer for your anti static matting can be a daunting task, so we recommend you focus on a few key characteristics such as cost, lead times, customisation and product quality.

Cost. For many, this is the final determining factor. Although investing in high-quality products does not come cheap, it is important that you should not cut back on costs. For manufacturers of highly developed products, sending off inferior final products is costlier due to incurring lost parts during the manufacturing process as compared to saving a few pounds on creating cheaper versions of it.

Lead Times. When determining which manufacturer to partner with, determine whether they can deliver your order on time, check their delivery success rate and what assurances they provide if there are unavoidable problems. If possible, choose a domestic manufacturer because they have a significant advantage over foreign manufacturers when it comes to shipping finished products with tight deadlines and international shipping can add a layer of complexity to delivery times. Working with a domestic partner can also lessen the risk of you receiving low-quality products and not receiving them on time.

Customisation. Finding a manufacturer that can work on your special requirements is an essential factor to consider. A good partner to work with can customise ESD matting into bespoke sizes to fit your very specific needs. The studding can be customised too.

Product Quality. Always go for the highest quality of materials. For instance, a 2-layer static-dissipative and conductive anti static rubber is a good material to choose from. On top of that, make sure that your manufacturing partner has a good track record of creating products that can withstand the harsh elements of your specific facilities.

Here at Bondline, we pride ourselves in being one of the leading UK suppliers and vast stockists of anti static matting. Our matting is stocked on a regular basis to ensure we can support our customer’s needs. Our ESD mats are generally available in vinyl or rubber materials. Please get in touch with us if you have any questions regarding our matting.

Still unsure on which matting is the best for you?

We have a full ESD matting guide to help you choose the correct mat for your requirements.

Contact Us

If you are still looking for a company that can provide high-quality bespoke products, short lead times and competitive rates, get in touch with Bondline Electronics on 01793 511000 or sales@bondline.co.uk today!

 

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