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Question What should be done with insulators for ESD control?
Answer Insulators, by definition, are non-conductors and therefore cannot be grounded. Besides neutralization using ionizers, insulators can be controlled by doing one of the following: Remove insulator from the ESD protected area (EPA); Keep insulators a minimum of 12" from ESDS items at all times; Replace regular insulative items with an ESD protective version; Periodically apply a coat of topical antistat. When none of the above is possible, the insulator is termed process essential and therefore neutralization using an ionizer should become a necessary part of the ESD control program.Per ANSI/ESD S20.20-2007 section 8.3 "All nonessential insulators such as coffee cups, food wrappers and personal items shall be removed from the workstation or any operation where unprotected ESDS items are handled." Per ESD Handbook ESD TR20.20-2008 Ionization, section Introduction and Purpose / General Information "The primary method of static charge control is direct connection to ground for conductors, static dissipative materials, and personnel. A complete static control program must also deal with isolated conductors that cannot be grounded, insulating materials (e.g. most common plastics), and moving personnel who cannot use wrist or heel straps or ESD control flooring or footwear. Air ionization is not a replacement for grounding methods. It is one component of a complete static control program. Ionizers are used when it is not possible to properly ground everything and as backup to other static control methods."
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