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Question We currently are using grounded workstations in all our manufacturing areas. We utilize ESD mats on the workstation surfaces. We ensure that the wriststraps are connected to the mats and that the mats and workstations are connected to a common ground. Is it necessary to use an ESD mat on top of an ESD workstation that is correctly grounded - Anonymous, Westwood, MA
Answer The answer is yes if you are using ESD Sensitive devices on top of your workstations and if the top of the workstations are not dissipative and connected to ground. If the bench top is already dissipative (less than 1x109 ohms and grounded, then a separate dissipative mat is not necessary. Typically, a separate ESD static dissipative mat is used on top of a standard (non-ESD workbench) to ensure maximum protection of your ESDS devices when being handled (by grounded and monitored personnel) at the workstation. This ESD Safe working area (a grounded dissipative ESD work mat) allows for charged surfaces to safely bleed through the mat to ground. It also keeps all conductors placed on its' surface grounded, i.e., at ground potential which should be the same as the operator to minimize the possibility of an ESD event. Grounded wrist straps and ESD mats are the first lines of defense for when ESDS devices are being handled by human operators.
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