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Grounding

The ground rules

For areas where electronics are being assembled, refurbished or repaired – as with any home or office – proper grounding is essential. Grounding ensures that equipment and workers are protected from electrical surges and harmful voltages. But because of the increased contact with ESD-sensitive parts, special accommodation for ESD needs to be made.

Contamination control mats

The first step to ensure that personnel and equipment is at the same electrical potential is to ground all components of the work area to the same electrical ground point. This includes work surfaces, personnel and equipment.

An evaluation process will need to be undertaken to evaluate the static dissipation and grounding performance of the work environment, including the surfaces, personnel, packaging material and flooring. Industrial standards should be referred to select the appropriate product, such as EOS/ESD-S1.0, EOS/ESD-S4.1, EOS/ESD-S6.1 and EOS/ESD-S7.1.

Grounding Kit

A defined procedure should then be put in place to ensure the safe handling of static-sensitive items. For example:

  1. Put on heel straps or ESD-control shoes prior to entering an ESD-safe area
  2. Ensure that proper contact is made between the heel strap and the user
  3. Clean the heel straps and shoes with a conductive cleaner to prevent increased resistance from the build up of dirt
  4. Wear heel straps on both shoes to ensure constant discharge
  5. Inspect wrist straps for loose connectors, dirty inner bands or stretched material. Correct as required
  6. Apply conductive lotion to wrists to help achieve proper contact between skin and strap
  7. Ensure that workstations, floors and equipment are properly grounded
  8. Verify the integrity of the common ground connection

Heel straps, wrist straps, shoes, mats and flooring should always be tested regularly to ensure static charge drains safely to ground. Calibrated surface resistance meters can be used to give a clear indication if the equipment is antistatic.



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