ESD mats vs. anti-static matting

What’s the difference between ESD mats and anti-static matting?

ESD mats and anti-static mats for the workplace are both conductive products. This means that both, anti-static and ESD mats, dissipate electrical energy into the floor and thus prevent static discharge or even shock.

What is ESD and how is ESD created?

ESD stands for electrostatic discharge ( ESD ).

ESD is the sudden release of electricity between two electrically charged objects. Electron transfer from one surface to another can result from walking, rubbing or sliding on a material.

Static electricity can arise, for example, when we simply walk on a carpet or come into contact with another person’s clothing. We touch a metal doorknob and get, ouch, a knock sometimes! Many surfaces conduct static electricity and that needs to be controlled. We cannot see the transfer of electricity, it is an invisible threat.

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What are the dangers of ESD (electrostatic discharge)?

Manufacturing facilities where electronic parts are produced, or data centres where mainframes are located, have to pay particular attention to the control of electrostatic discharge, as it can lead to considerable, often permanent damage.

Not only do electronic components need to be protected; even employees need protection from electrostatic discharge.

There is also a risk of flammable materials such as chemicals or gases igniting if hit by an electrical spark.

Why are ESD mats and anti-static mats important?

A static shock may not seem to be so severe at first glance, everyone is familiar with the experience of receiving a small electric shock after walking across carpet. Certainly unpleasant, but hardly a major concern, is it?

However, sensitive components and control groups in electronics can be damaged or destroyed. This can lead to far greater damage if these elements fail during operation or supply incorrect signals.

esd mat

And the effects that can occur as a result of a spark during a static discharge can be far more dramatic. In environments with gases or highly flammable solvents, this can lead to the burning of the solvents or even to explosions.

Even a small electric shock can have fatal consequences. Did you know that the explosion that led to the famous Hindenburg air disaster was caused by an electrostatic discharge?

Conductive floor mats and bench mats are used in industries where the static charge could be a problem or cause a fire or explosion. However, they should not be confused with switchboard matting, which protects against the closure of an electrical circuit with the floor.

If you’re unsure about which ESD mat or anti-static workplace mat to opt for, get in touch with our team for more tips and advice.

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What are the differences between ESD mats and anti-static mats?

The terms anti-static and ESD (or Electrostatic Discharge/Discharge) often cause confusion and not only when it comes to workplace mats.

It’s a bit like the zebra and the horse, every zebra is a horse but not every horse is a zebra.

Likewise, every ESD mat is anti-static but not every anti-static mat can be called an ESD mat. Although both terms relate to resistance, there are fundamental differences between the two.

esd mat


How do anti-static mats work?

Anti-static mats have a low electrical resistance of between 0.1 and 1000 MegaOhm (MΩ). The use of anti-static matting prevents the build-up of electrostatic charge in the body by dissipating this charge and thus prevents a sudden discharge between electrically charged objects on contact.

How does ESD flooring work?

ESD flooring or ESD table top mats have a low upper limit for electrical resistance between 0.1 and 100 MΩ. The use of them prevents the build-up of electrostatic charge in the body through a safe and very controlled discharge of the charge. They guarantee the suppression of sudden electrical discharge between electrically charged objects on contact.

Take a look at our range of ESD and anti-static mats.

Where and how are ESD mats used?

Many working environments involve risks, which is exactly why ESD mats and accessories for floors or workbenches are indispensable. These products contribute to the efficient control of ESD, especially for the protection of sensitive components and workers.

ESD mats redirect the static charge to the floor, but must either be “static-dissipative” or “conductive” and also be earthed by ESD accessories such as shoe earthing straps, wristbands and coiled cables in order to be effective.

ESD mats


High-quality ergonomic ESD mats from COBA Africa

Our ESD range includes ESD mats for various requirements and working environments.

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