ESD, or electrostatic discharge products help to eliminate the release of electrical energy that is usually caused by the shift of electrons from one object to another as they come in contact with and separate from one another. This transfer often occurs between human hands and electronics, which can result in harmful electric shock that can injure the individual, or interference, permanent damage and catastrophic failure of many different sensitive electronic devices, equipment and machinery.
While the electronic device may not undergo complete failure when subjected to ESD, it will degrade, which is product damage that results in a lower level of efficiency and reliability. However, there are several simple and effective products designed to guard against ESD, all of which are inexpensive and regularly used by computer repair technicians, clean room workers, lab technicians and workers assembling and manufacturing electronics, computers and cell phones. The products include anti static mats and gloves, ground straps, spray, bags and brushes.
These products ground, dissipate, conduct or balance any charge carried on an individual about to handle electronic hardware of any kind. Before anyone touches the internal components of any electronic device or equipment, it must be unplugged and the person must be grounded, which is the process of connecting with a conductor to transfer any ESD to another object, making sure there is no chance to transfer any to the hardware.
ESD protection comes in many different forms, which are all preventative. Static is generated very easily, and can be caused by two pieces of clothing lightly rubbing together. Once static has transferred from a hand to electronic hardware, the damage cannot be undone. The most popular, effective and inexpensive method is a grounding strap, often called a wrist strap. These are Velcro cuffs made of a conductive fiber material with a small piece of metal attached to a wire in the form of a braid, strip, mesh or wire.
That wire is connected to a grounding device like an anti static mat made of rubber and a grounding outlet. Anti static gloves are mostly used in electronics and computer manufacturing and assembly environments, where workers are continually handling sensitive, internal hardware. They prevent the static charge from transferring from a hand to the device by blocking the static.
Static brushes are used when cleaning equipment, while anti-static spray prevents the occurrence of ESD by coating hard-to-reach places. Other less common options include ionizers, which neutralize static charges sitting on object surfaces, and corona treaters, which expose the object to electrical discharge as another preventative measure against ESD.