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Electrostatic Discharge Packaging Solutions
Shipping electronic equipment is more challenging than shipping other forms of equipment due to the need for safeguarding the shipment from electric charges. Many forms of electronic goods are highly sensitive to electrical charges—even the minor static charges that usually build up due to friction—and can be ruined if not safeguarded properly.
Of course, other materials can be impacted by the buildup of static electricity as well. In addition to electronic equipment, liquids or gases that are flammable must be safeguarded against static charges. To fail to properly protect these materials from static electricity can be dangerous and can lead to the loss of the shipment. The best way to protect your valuable and sensitive goods and—in the case of flammable gases or liquids—the property and lives of others is to utilize electrostatic discharge (ESD) materials in your packaging.
What is ESD?
Electrostatic discharge is the sudden movement of charged particles from one object to another upon the contact between the two objects. Put differently, static electricity is the jolt that occurs when two objects—both of which have an electrical charge—come in contact with one another. The most common illustration is the small shock that you get when you touch something conductive after walking across a carpet.
How does ESD occur?
There are two primary causes of ESD. The first is when two materials touch each other and then are separated, such as when you walk across the carpet and your feet first contact the carpet then are separated from it. This is called tribocharging, and it results in a gradual buildup of an electric charge. Then, when you touch something that is conductive, you feel the shock as the charge leaves your body.
Another cause of ESD is a process called electrostatic induction. This takes place when an item with an electric charge is placed near another item. If the second item is conductive—that is, it conducts electricity—and yet is insulated—meaning that it has an insufficient contact with the ground to allow it to discharge an electric charge—it will begin to build up a charge. Then, as with tribocharging, when it does touch something that is conductive, there will be a flow of electricity from it to the other item: a discharge of static electricity.
While static electricity may seem to be harmless relative to other forms of electrical current, the fact is that it can be extremely damaging to electrical components and can cause fires or explosions when it is introduced to flammable liquids or gases. This is true even of those ESD events that are so minor that you don't even feel them.
How can you protect against ESD?
The best way to protect your sensitive electrical equipment (or flammable liquids and gases) from an ESD event is to utilize special packaging the reduces the buildup of an electrical charge. There are three primary types of ESD packaging that can be used to this effect: conductive material, dissipative material, and anti-static material.
Conductive material. Conductive material is a type of material that helps to conduct any electric charges away from the object. This prevents a buildup of a charge, and keeps the flow of electricity to a manageable level. This material is designed to promote and direct the flow of electricity in such a way as to keep it from damaging the materials inside. A great illustration of this type of arrangement is the use of a lightning rod on a building. A lightning rod is designed to attract any electrical charges (such as lightning); then, by use of a highly-conductive cable that runs to the ground, it directs the flow of electricity away from the building.
Dissipative material. In contrast to directing the flow of electricity, dissipative materials are materials that are designed to slow the flow of electricity. Essentially, dissipative materials help to reduce the strength of an electrical charge. This, too, can protect the sensitive goods encased in the packaging.
Anti-static material. Designed to inhibit tribocharging, anti-static materials prevent the buildup of static electricity in the first place. Anti-static materials are a great packaging option for a number of reasons. When utilized in conjunction with an ESD program, these packaging materials can greatly reduce your company's losses due to ESD events.
Standards and regulations relating to ESD packaging
The EOS/ESD Association, Inc. is an association of professionals that works towards ESD avoidance. The Association has a number of standards for ESD packaging that, when followed, can help reduce damage caused by ESD events.
Nefab is proud to offer a range of ESD packaging options. These packaging solutions are developed in compliance with the relevant standards and represent a significant step forward in protecting your sensitive materials during shipment.
Nefab utilizes packaging comprised of shielding, conductive, insulating, and dissipative products. Depending on the specific needs of your organization, we can design a packaging solution using one or more of these materials to help protect your valuable shipments.
Contact Nefab for your ESD packaging needs
We are experts in the packaging and shipping industry, and we know what it takes to get your product there safely and efficiently. We are happy to sit down with you and closely evaluate your packaging needs. Then, keeping cost and efficiency in mind, we can design a packaging solution that will perfectly suit your needs.
Come find out why we are the leaders in the industry. We look forward to showing you the same great service that have made us the go-to name in packaging and shipping. Once you let us go to work on your packaging needs, you will see exactly why we have so many happy customers. We look forward to working with you and helping you with your ESD packaging needs. For more information about ESD Packaging click here
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