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Question I'm setting up a small lab which requires the disassembly of computers and the removal of hard drives. What type of mats do I need for the table and is there a mat that I should put over the carpet as well? Should I be using a wrist strap as well? This are is in an extra room in a house.

You need to handle ESD sensitive items in an ESD Protected Area (EPA) which can be very simple or quite elaborate. The key rules are to ground all conductors including people and to remove all insulators from the EPA.

This can be accomplished by using a Field Service Kit which includes a Wrist Strap for the person to be grounded and a worksurface which also needs to be attached to ground using a ground wire. Note: a common mistake is to lay the ESD sensitive item on shielding bags; it’s ESD packaging but typically much higher resistance than a worksurface should be.

For a workbench to be a ESD Protected Workstation, you need:

  • Wrist Strap
    ESD Worksurface
  • Ground Cord / Common Point Ground
  • Mat Kit

  • You ground the mat using the snap kit and the common point ground cord with include two banana jacks to plug Wrist Strap into.

If the person is sitting, he is to be grounded via a ground cord. Alternatively the person can wear ESD Foot Grounders on a grounded floor mat, but it is not necessary. If the carpet is high charging, a low charging antistatic mat would help. 

ESD packaging with the ESD control property shielding is required to transport ESD sensitive items outside the EPA. However, since when you reassemble and close the computer, it is not ESD sensitive, you may not require any packaging. If an ESD sensitive is defective, it is recommended that it be protected by ESD packaging so if not to be discarded additional ESD damage does not occur. See various sizes of Statshield® Metal In ESD Bags.

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