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Electrostatic Discharge (ESD)
Electrostatic discharge (ESD) is one of the most significant factors leading to damage and failure of a wide variety of electronic components. This damage results in increased manufacturing and warranty costs, and unreliable products are the result.
Static Electricity is a common occurrence in everyday life. As we go about our lives, we all experience mild electric shocks from objects around us. Friction between, and separation of, dissimilar materials, causes electrons to be transferred from one object to another. This in balance of electrons between objects causes the objects to be at different electrical potentials, relative to one and other. When two bodies of opposite charge, or a charged and an uncharged body come into contact with each other, electrons flow from one body to the other very rapidly, and can generate very high current flows and heat for a very short period of time.
Synthetic materials like those clothes, carpets and furniture are made of are bad offenders, particularly in very dry weather conditions. They are very good insulators and when a charge is built up on them, it will not flow away due to leakage, it must be discharged by coming into contact with another body. These materials generate high voltage Static Electricity charges when rubbed together. All of us have had a mild electric shock from a door handle, a metal cabinet or a similar object, after we have walked some distance over a carpet or vinyl floor, or moved around on a plastic chair. The motion of our body clad in clothing made of synthetic cloth causes us to be charged to a high potential relative to surrounding objects. These mild electric shocks cause us some discomfort when they occur but this is insignificant when we look at the damage they do to modern electronic components.

EDS becomes a more serious problem on low humidity days when the lack of moisture permits a more rapid static charge build-up.
These five little known facts about ESD can make a big difference in its elimination:
1. ESD often can’t be seen, heard or felt.
2. Devices can be stressed or damaged even without physical contact.
3. Smaller, miniaturized devices are sensitive to 50 volts or less.
4. ESD problems can occur to devices at anytime – even after they are installed on circuit cards.
5. Everyone involved in the handling, installing, test, shipping and storing of electronic devices or boards must take preventative measures against the threat of     ESD.

 Here are eight rules to follow to keep ESD out of your workplace:
1. Always wear a properly grounded wrist strap. Test it to make sure it’s in good working order.
2. For areas where wrist straps are impractical wear grounded heel straps or special footwear.
3. When using anti-static packaging materials take special care in the number of times the material is re-used. Time and use reduce its non-charging capabilities.
4. When using conductive static shielding make sure the material completely envelops the objects and that it’ closed properly. Open only at a protected          workstation and when wearing a wrist strap.
5. If you are in doubt about what kind of ESD packaging material to use, remember this simple rule: put antistatic material next to the sensitive part and then place     conductive shielding around it.
6. Eliminate the use of plain plastic and synthetic items in the workplace.
7. Even when wearing a grounded wrist strap at a protected workstation, keep sensitive devices away from common plastics, clothing and hair.
8. Don’t wear long sleeves unless a static dissipative smock covers them.

ESD Precautions at Shelfkey
• At Shelfkey utmost care is taken in storage and packaging of electronic components and goods.
• There is an ESD susceptibility symbol (also called sensitivity or warning symbol) which is used to identify components, assemblies, and products that are sensitive    to ESD.
• All personnel in an organization who handle ESD sensitive items [ESDS] have received ESD control training.
• In addition, facilities personnel and those who purchase electronic items have also undergone ESD control training
• Static control garments, wrist straps and foot grounders are used while handling the components.
• Only authorised personnel are allowed to enter the ESD protected area.

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