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Question Is there an air ionizer available that when used will alleviate the use of wrist straps and foot grounders? - Anonymous, Riverside, CA
Answer Ionizers are not a substitute for grounding because ionization eliminates charges in seconds while grounding does it in microseconds. ElectroStatic Discharges happen in nano-seconds. So grounding is the first line of defense, ionization is a secondary line of defense primarily used to eliminate charges from insulative materials! Wrist straps drain the static charges generated by workers. It is usually referred to as the first line of defense against ESD. It should be the first tool used, and should not be substituted for by ionization. Foot grounders should be used where workers are mobile.Wrist straps and foot grounders drain the generated static charges from conductors. Insulators, such as plastic items, by definition do not conduct electricity. Ionization is used to neutralize the static charges from insulators. The static charges on a large conductor, such as a person, will neutralize by itself over a long enough period of time. Unfortunately, ESD events can easily occur during such time damaging sensitive electronic components. There are room ionizer systems that neutralize static charges from an entire room. These systems are expensive and have the disadvantage of taking too long a period of time having the similar problem allowing damaging ESD events to occur during the time it takes to neutralize static charges. Our experience is that room ionization systems are expensive and ineffective. Many applications still require the use of localized ionization. By using point of use/localized ionization such as benchtop and/or overhead ionizers the workstation will achieve - Superior discharge/decay times, faster neutralization of static charges (like 10 to 100 times faster, 5 seconds compared to 50 seconds), and superior ion balance. Localized ionizers can operate to +/-10 volts of zero, providing maximum protection of critical devices. Better control of ionization balance. Superior control at the workbench level, in terms of allowing better suitability for each operation or process in the work area. Flexibility, maintaining the ability to reconfigure critical ESD work areas as conditions change Less expensive alternative
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