How to protect electronics against electrostatic discharge?
The abbreviation ESD in the context of electronics can be translated in two ways: Electrostatic Sensitive Device, i.e. devices sensitive to electrostatic discharge, but also as Electrostatic Discharge. ESD protection is a set of rules and standards that allow you to protect sensitive components against these phenomena. Let's check how manufacturers try to protect ESD devices.
Growing risk of electrostatic discharge
Over the past decades, we have seen a gradual miniaturization of electronic equipment. Manufacturers are trying to place the necessary components in less and less space. It is possible thanks to modern technology that enables very precise printing and assembling of PCBs. Progressive miniaturization leads to a greater concentration of sensitive components in a small space. This increases the risk of short circuits and electrostatic discharge. Consequently, ESD protection is an important task faced by all electronics manufacturers.
Radical control at every stage of production
The risk of electrostatic discharge depends on many factors, ranging from the design of the board, through air humidity and temperature, and ending with the wrong selection of protective coating that can lead to ESD discharges. The risk also increases with the use of certain synthetic materials.
All this means that the risk of electrostatic discharge is present throughout the entire production process. Therefore, control aimed at reducing this risk must be comprehensive and targeted at all stages of production. Undoubtedly, this is a difficult task that requires the introduction of certain standards and rules of conduct on the production line.
EPA zones for assembly and processing of ESD components
The basic action to protect ESD is the introduction of EPA zones, i.e. zones free from electrostatic discharge. It can be a separate area of a room or a separate room with control gates. Inside the EPA zone, the maximum electric field strength does not exceed 100 V/cm. Thanks to such zones, it is possible to exclude the risk of errors in the initial production phase, which cannot be verified at a later stage. Moreover, employees designated to work in the EPA zone must be equipped with special protective clothing made of materials that do not increase the risk of ESD discharges.
What are the effects of reliable ESD protection?
The introduction of restrictive rules for the treatment of elements exposed to electrostatic discharge allows to significantly reduce the risk of defects in the production process. It should be noted that minor flaws only appear after the product is put on the market, which means huge losses for the manufacturer. Careful ESD protection allows you to avoid such problems, and thus reduce losses resulting from the costs of complaints and repairs of electronic products.