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Question We have workbenches with ESD surfaces. I think they're formica tops that have been coated. What is the proper way to ground the surfaces of this type of workbench and how can I verify that it is correctly grounded and that the surface still has its ESD properties?
Answer

Workbench ESD Laminate Grounding and Testing

 

We have an ESD Laminate Micastat see Micastat Dissipative Laminate and Grounding Systems.

 

See TB-2091 the Micastat® Static protective laminate: Installation and maintenance technical bulletin.

 

See Grounding Methods on pages 4 and 5. Testing is also in the Technical Bulletin, but Compliance Verification per ANSI/ESD S20.20 is to be per ESD TR53. It would be sufficient testing to use a Surface Resistance Test Kit or equivalent. Here’s the worksurface test procedure from ESD TR53:

  • “Do not clean the ESD worksurface immediately prior to verification.
  • Remove all ESD sensitive items from the ESD worksurface.
  • Conductive items and AC-powered equipment having separate paths to the ground reference should remain connected to their grounds at the ESD worksurface being verified.
  • Connect one end of the first test lead to the [5#] electrode, and the other end of the first test lead to the integrated checker or meter.
  • Connect one end of the second test lead also to the integrated checker or meter, and the other end of the second test lead to ground reference.
  • Place the electrode in the center of the ESD worksurface and apply 10 volts.
  • Wait for the integrated checker or meter to stabilize.
  • If the indicated resistance is less than 1.0 x 10E6 ohms, continue testing
  • If the indicated resistance is equal to or greater than 1.0 x 10E6 ohms, switch the integrated checker or meter to 100 volts and retest the ESD worksurface.
  • Tests should include those ESD worksurface areas that are subject to wear or are visibly dirty.”

To determine if the workbench is properly grounded, you should make a systems test using one 5 pound electrode and attaching the black sensing lead to equipment ground, for example the ground of a wall AC electrical outlet (or screw or junction box).

 
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