ESD Technical eNewsletter
ESD Corner October 2001
Issue 4, Volume 4
   Dr. ZAP
Setting up an ESD control program


Defining Your Program

The starting point of a sound program is to classify the sensitivity to ESD damage of the devices you need to protect. Classification of these devices should include all simulation models (HBM, MM, and CDM, refer to the ESD STM5 series in Table I) that will properly characterize the devices' sensitivity when handled at various locations within the facility.

  1. Realize that there may be different sensitivities at different locations within the facility.
  2. The ESDA standards that aid the sensitivity testing process are ESD STM5.1-1998, ANSI/ESD S5.2-1994, ESD DS5.2-1996, and ESD DS5.3.1-1996. These documents are the most recent in the industry.
  3. The Military standards that can be used to determine device ESD sensitivity MIL-HDBK-263B, MIL-STD-883D Method 3015.7, MIL-STD-750C/4 Method 1020, MIL-STD-785
  4. The IEC standards to help classify device sensitivity are CISPR 24 (1997-09) and IEC-61000-4-2 (1995).
  5. ANSI has a document, ANSI C63.16, that can aid in device sensitivity classification.

If you do not classify the devices then you can assume the worst case for all 3 models, (Classes 0, M0, C0 - refer to the ESD STM5 series standards in Table I), making the program design critical and expensive.

Program Design

Once the ESD device sensitivities for the various areas in the facility have been determined then this information can be mapped over the complete facility and will act as a guide to designing the ESD control program.

ANSI/ESD S20.20, for the Development of an Electrostatic Discharge Control Program for Protection of Electrical and Electronic Parts, Assemblies and Equipment (Excluding Electrically Initiated Explosive Devices) is an excellent standard to guide your control program plan development and is available by clicking here.

Now, the location/sensitivity map of the facility needs to be expanded upon by determining what standards you will use to evaluate the success and monitor the program's progress. This map should also consider the transportation systems and traffic flow of the sensitive devices between various working areas. Additional design criteria to ensure device protection that needs to be broadened are listed as follows.

  1. Minimize voltage or field exposure (remove non-essential charge generators)
  2. Minimize voltage or field exposure (use of protective packaging during transportation or storage)
  3. Minimize voltage or field exposure (from machine to device contact, e.g., automated equipment)
  4. Exposed surfaces and their resistance (controlled discharge times and use of dissipative work surface materials)
  5. Grounding (power ground distribution) for common point grounds/work surface
  6. Grounding (floors - traffic areas)
  7. Grounding (personnel - wrist straps/foot grounders/smocks/gloves)
  8. Use of air ionization for essential non-grounded or insulative materials/equipment/tools
  9. Environmental controls (temperature and humidity)
  10. Training of employees within various affected areas (by far one of the most important factors)

Selecting General Product Criteria for each Area

Which standard(s) should you reference when building your ESD Control program from scratch, updating or evaluating your current program? When you look to build an ESD-safe workstation, you need to know what industry-wide acceptability criteria to comply with.

Table IV will help aid the design and development of an ESD control program for each area using either the ESD ADV-2.0-1994 or the MIL-STD-1686. The former is more recent at this time. Table III lists various ESD Control products and the associated ESDA Standards that can be used to qualify them.

As an example, an ESD Sensitive (ESDS) workstation that is designed for worst case criteria may have the following ESD Control products: an ESD floor; grounded floor mats with use of ESD footwear (such as foot grounders); grounded and monitored table mats covering all exposed surfaces; a common point ground with monitored wrist strap connections; and air ionizers covering all areas on the work surface to which the devices would be exposed. In addition, all exposed insulators and metal surfaces would be replaced with grounded dissipative materials; all non-essential items, especially insulators, would be removed the ESDS area; and most importantly, the ESDS workstation would have ESD Control Trained operator(s) at the helm.


Starting from the ground up, your floor would be the first place to start. One of the most important characteristics of an ESD floor is its ability to conduct charges to ground. The second most important aspect is its anti-static property. One of the main mechanisms of charge generation is triboelectric generation or tribocharging. Some examples of tribocharging are people walking along a floor and carts carrying sensitive devices rolling across a floor. Depending on where the materials in contact with the floor are in the triboseries, voltages of over 30,000 Volts can be attained. If a floor has the property of being anti-static, tribocharging becomes a much smaller concern. The standards documents to help choose a floor are ANSI/ESD S7.1-1994, AATCC Step Test - Method 134-1979, ANSI/EIA-625-1994, MIL-STD-1686, MIL-HDBK-263B, and the AT&T Electrostatic discharge Control Handbook.


Typically protection on an ESDS device should start at receiving, continue to inventory storage, and then travel through its production flow usually from one workstation to the next before ending up in shipping. All throughout its handling, the device should be handled by grounded personnel. The easiest way to ground people who travel from one station to the next, delivering or picking up sensitive materials, is through mobile grounding. Wearing foot grounders (one on each foot) in conjunction with a conductive floor is one way to ensure that the operator is grounded and protected from delivering or receiving an ESD event. There are several ESDA standards to help in the testing and verification of foot grounders and shoes: ESD DSTM54.1-1997, ESD DSTM54.2-1997, and ESD S9.1-1995.

Work Surfaces

The surfaces where ESDS devices are handled should be both conductive (in the dissipative range) and properly grounded to the equipment grounding conductor to be an effective ESD control element. There are several materials to choose from such as rubber mats, vinyl mats, both single and multi-layered and FRP and Micastat® for rigid or permanent bench surfaces. Conductive metal work surfaces should be discontinued or covered with a dissipative material because it is highly susceptible to causing an ESD event from a metal-metal contact. It is very important to control your discharge time by minimizing the energy transfer by employing resistive materials to ground [4]. The ESDA standards to help characterize a work surface are ESD STM4.2-1998 and ESD ADV53.1-1995.

Personnel Grounding

The human being can be the most dynamic part of a working environment and consequently should be considered one of the most important objects to ground. Wrist straps, a conductive wristband with a connecting ground cord, is the most popular and effective way to ground a person. Wrist straps should always be properly employed when working with ESDS devices. The ESDS standard EOS/ESD S1-1987 can aid in qualifying your wrist straps before implementation.


Materials that must stay with the ESDS work area but are neither conductive nor groundable should be treated with air ionization. Ionizers come in several types, the most popular is the corona discharge air ionizer. Corona discharge air ionizers can have emitters that are powered by AC, DC or pulsing DC high voltage. Air ionizers can be qualified by applying the ESDA standards ANSI-EOS/ESD, S3.1-1991ADV3.2-1995, and ESD SP3.3-1998.

Transportation & Packaging

ESDS devices should always be stored in an enclosed antistatic shielding bag or conductive closed tote or bin when not being handled. This includes inventory storage, transportation, and WIP. Further precautions during transportation include using dissipative carts with conductive wheels or drag chains in conjunction with a conductive floor when transporting ESDS devices in their shielded containers. The standards to help characterize and qualify packaging materials are ANSI/ESD S11.31-1994 for shielding bags, ANSI/EOS/ESD S8.1-1993 for proper use of package markings, ANSI/EIA-541-88 and ANSI/EIA-583-91 for packaging materials.


Determining the product sensitivities within the facility and then mapping this information helps in choosing the right materials to keep each work area under control. Using the ESDA or other related Standards will help your ESD Control program comply with industry-accepted requirements and procedures that govern the materials, products, systems or processes. Acceptability, repeatability, and dependability can be expected from an ESD Control program that employs a good design using the appropriate standards along with proper training and monitoring.

Referring White Paper:


New Product
43106 - XL Bench Top Ionizer
Bench Top Ionizer, XL, 120 Volt, NIST Calibrated

  • Features a patented Faraday balance system that automatically maintains a balance ion output and also emits ions in a true laminar flow. This reduces ion recombination and emitter contamination
  • AC ionizing system for superior performance in neutralizing static charges at greater distances
  • Non-nuclear operation for added safety
  • Gold plated emitters for longer life
  • Fixed temperature heater that removes chill from air and enhances worker comfort and productivity
  • Multiple installation options that provides flexibility
  • Ground point for personnel grounding
  • XL Model is wider and has a wider air flow area
  • Meets ANSI/ESD S20.20 and ANSI EOS/ESD S3.1

Buy Now    Tech Info 



Our products come with full technical support

Product document support includes a technical brief, drawing or bulletin. These are referenced within our on-line catalog as well as listed in our web site.


Technical Brief



Certification Information




Freedom from Expensive Dual-Wire Monitors

If you currently own costly dual wire monitors and are stuck buying fragile and very expensive dual wire wrist straps, we now have a way out for you! Trade in your Dual Wire monitors by December 31, 2001 and we will credit you $25-$50 towards the purchase of ESD Continuous Monitors. See for details or call (508) 485-7390.

Statfree ® Dissipative Mat - Type CE

11380.jpg - 7122 Bytes

  • Durable heat and chemical resistant worksurface with premium dissipative rubber top layer; slows charge removal; meets ANSI/ESD S20.20 and EIA-625 worksurface requirement
  • Cushioned conductive bottom layer provides energy absorption for products susceptible to physical shock like disk drives; conductive layer provides reliable path to ground
  • Designed for cleanrooms; used in Class 100 cleanrooms

Buy Now    Tech Info 


Try this on your car seats!
Statproof® Carpet Protector
Statproof(r) Carpet and Fabric Protector

  • Reduces the generation and build-up of static charges on carpeting and fabric chairs
  • Provides excellent dry soil and stain resistance
  • Can be applied to fabric chairs, carpet and other fiber materials
  • Water based, easy to apply
  • Trigger spray quart makes product easy to apply to small carpet areas and fabric chairs
  • Coverage: 1,200 sq ft per gallon of concentrate, 25 sq ft per ready-to-use quart

Buy Now    Tech Info 


Do you need your own copy of our NEW ESD Static Control Product Catalog?

Click here to request your own copy


Click here to go directly into our on-line eCatalog

ESDS Cover 10-01


 Welcome to APEX 2002  Click here for more information
When: Jan. 20-24, 2002
Where: San Diego Convention Center, 111 W. Harbor Dr., San Diego, CA, Booth 748
What: APEX
Why: Visit the ESD Booth # 748 for product demonstrations of everything you need for your ESD control program. See new products, ESD Control solutions, and product literature.

APEX is the only place in North America you'll see an extensive display of electronics assembly equipment from every major pick-and-place manufacturer. Plus, you'll see exhibitors from all other parts of the electronics assembly supply chain.


Q371: We are currently introducing ESD precautions within our company and wish to know whether garments made from 100% cotton will be adequate to protect against damage from ESD.

Resistive tests on the garments seeem to indicate the correct values for dissipative material. We are at present using this material for our company tea shirts. The working conditions are very warm and everyone would be reluctant to wear coats or jackets above over these.

So it cotton an acceptable as an ESD protective garment? -James Milton, Radiodetection Ltd., United Kingdom see ANSWER 371

Q381: We are in the process of implementing an ESD program. the personnel on the floor are accustomed to having food and drink at their work stations. Are there ESD alternatives that we can use to supplement plastic and styrofoam food and beverage containers? - John, Asheville, North Carolina  see ANSWER 381

Q795: We'd like to setup ESD control program. maybe you can recommend us where to start. we'd probably will buy a tester or monitor first to identify the need of control methods. -Shao-wen   see ANSWER 795

Q849:I need to add ESD protection to a semiconductor test lab. What resource should be used to define the requirements? - Anonymous, Somerset, NJ see ANSWER 849

Q890: We need to refit our test lab and make it meet ESD standard. - Anonymous, Londonderry, NH   see ANSWER 890

Q900: I am the new QA person here and I am in the process of writing ESD procedures. The company has no ESD procedures. Do you have any suggestions where I may fine information on ESD procedures? -Anonymous, Dallas, TX    see ANSWER 900

Q921: We use wrist straps, floor mats w/foot straps and bench/table mats and I need a way to test them all for proper ESD functionality. What do I need?-Anonymous, Dallas, TX   see ANSWER 921

Find more ESD Q&As here


If you haven't already done so, downloading Acrobat Reader is highly recommended as most of our Technical Literature is in an electronic form known as portable document files (PDF). These can be eMailed or downloaded from our website, however you'll need Adobe Acrobat Reader to view them.

The good news is that this program is free. Adobe Acrobat can be downloaded from Adobe’s website. The file is over 3 megs, so be sure you have the capacity to receive that large a file.

Developing an ESD Control Program

For an ESD Control program to be effective it should be designed around the ElectroStatic Discharge Sensitive (ESDS) devices it is protecting; and most importantly, it should be supported at all levels within the company, from the company officers through all managers to the operators and technicians. This top-down approach, when fully adapted, ensures that all the elementary elements of the program are properly deployed.

One of the main reasons companies deploy an ESD Control program is to save money. Increased throughput and decreased scrap can yield a ROI (Return On Investment) of up to 3000% per year for successfully deploying an ESD Control program [1]. A secondary reason is to comply with their customers' demands and ISO 9000 programs. Whatever reason, setting up and implementing an ESD Control program will almost always pay for itself within the first year.

There is an array of ESD Control products on the market. Which products should you choose when developing your ESD Control program? The products that you select are determined by how you have defined your ESD control program.

Click here to enter the ESD Store

Click here for Tech Support

Place orders on-line 24/7
508-480-0257 (International)


Click here to ask a technical question

Click here to ask a sales or service question


Change of eMail address:
eMail "" with both your old and new eMail addresses.

Need your own copy? Want to subscribe to this Newsletter? All you or your colleague(s) need to do is simply fill out the subscription form at

Want to remove yourself from this eMail list:
To unsubscribe from this mailing, send an eMail to and put "UNSUBSCRIBE ESD_Newsletters" in the body.

Still having trouble getting off this eMail list:
Go to Newsletter Subscribe/Unsubscribe and type in your eMail address under the unsubscribe field.

This is a free monthly eNewsletter, which specializes on issues in electrostatic control in the semiconductor/electronics workplace and is best viewed while connected to the Internet.

Let us know what you think. Tell us what you would like to see in future issues. Want to contribute articles or other related information to our Newsletter? If you have any comments, suggestions or feedback about this eNewsletter, please send them directly to the, Thanks.

Copyright © 2001 ESD All rights reserved.