Must chairs be grounded for ESD (electrostatic discharge)?

B

Bunny

#1
We are in the process of improving our ESD workroom. We have ESD workbenches set up with continous monitors. We use sheilded lab coats. Soon we will be applying ESD floor wax so the workers can use foot straps instead of wrist straps (they find them too confining). Much of the assembly work is done on benches designed for the worker to be in a seated position. Here are my questions. Do they chairs need to be grounded even if the workers are instructed to keep both feet on the floor while sitting? Do the chairs need to be replaced with ESD protective chairs?
 
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Jim Wynne

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#2
Re: Must chairs be grounded for ESD?

We are in the process of improving our ESD workroom. We have ESD workbenches set up with continous monitors. We use sheilded lab coats. Soon we will be applying ESD floor wax so the workers can use foot straps instead of wrist straps (they find them too confining). Much of the assembly work is done on benches designed for the worker to be in a seated position. Here are my questions. Do they chairs need to be grounded even if the workers are instructed to keep both feet on the floor while sitting? Do the chairs need to be replaced with ESD protective chairs?
Why not use ESD floor mats instead of expecting people to sit with their feet on the floor all day?

(The link is not an endorsement)
 

CarolX

Trusted Information Resource
#3
Re: Must chairs be grounded for ESD?

I know very little about ESD - but I think it is unrealistic to expect both feet to be kept on the floor all day. The ability to shift position throughout the day minimizes discomfort while sitting.

But if this is your requirement make sure there are no foot rests on the chairs or benches. People will place their feet on these things without even thinking about it.

I know it doesn't answer your question - sorry I couldn't help.
 
B

Bunny

#4
Re: Must chairs be grounded for ESD?

So if we get floor mats, are the chairs OK left as they are?
 
B

blewispunk

#5
Re: Must chairs be grounded for ESD?

If you have anything on the floor grounded (mats or otherwise) and are relying on that and the folks doing the work are seated then I recommend using grounded chairs (with the little chain that drags on the floor). Otherwise, you may not be making contact with the grounding system (I agree with Carol that it is not realistic to expect a seated person to always keep both feet on the floor).

Alternatively, you may consider using ESD workbench mats and/or wrist straps.
 
B

Bunny

#7
We already use ESD workbenches and wrist straps. The workers do not want to wear the wrist straps because they complain they get in the way. I am trying to find an alternative solution otherwise, they won't comply at all.
 
B

Bunny

#8
Are ESD mats needed on top of an ESD waxed floor?

Do the use of an ESD floor mat relieve you of the burden of wearing foot straps?

Will using a drag drain on the chair work on an ESD waxed floor?
 
J

jayquality

#9
I have only 25 years experience in the electronics industry and gave training on esd do and don'ts in a previous position.

Much depends on how sensitive the products are, is it an internal requirement or a customer requirement?

Handling bare parts of assembled parts?

It's like the weakest link, if you miss one weak part it can go wrong, no matter how good some of your protection is.

For the 'ideal' setup:
- benches with grounded esd mats on top
- esd ground separate from mains ground
- use stranded flat cables instead of normal wire to wire up the esd chain
- hook up any metal parts of tooling
- esd shoes
- esd clothing
- wrist straps (maybe with continues monitoring)
- esd chairs (these have conductive cloth and wheels, some use a chain)
- conductive esd floor (use conductive epoxy floor, painted esd floors will deteriorate fast and are interrupted by cracks in the floor or expansion gaps)
- esd safe handling materials, trays, carts, bags and so on
- test stand for straps and shoes near punch clock, use a log
- regular inspection and testing of mats and floor

and most important, strict rules:
- taped off esd area with signs
- no-one without protection in the esd area, not even management
- no loose hanging hair, no brushing of hair
- no rolling up the sleeves and wollen sweater sleeves exposed for example
- no plastic cups (drinks) on desks
- pcb's inside an esd bag when moving, dont use the bag as glove
- beware of creeping things like caps from spray cans ending up as screw tray
- internal esd audits
- make sure the esd 'safety' chain is not broken, for example moving with product in hand from one bench to another

Sounds like a lot of overkill but this is what it 'should' be, i installed setups like these when we had customers like HP, IBM, Philips, Hitachi and so on.

Again, it depends on the product.

If you have a good concrete floor, that is good enough if you use wrist wraps.
If you want to use heal straps, always use 2 and still when seated, hook up with wrist wrap since not all workers have their feet on the floor (don't count on it).
Some will sell you plain cotton t-shirts in blue with esd logo printed on them as expensive esd shirts so beware.

Common sense is good.
Educating the workforce is a must, use staic generators and meter to show difference between types of bags, cloths and so on.
 
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