What are ESD mats used for?
Some manufacturing facilities, such as those environments where electronic parts are produced, or data centres housing mainframe computers, have to be especially careful in controlling electrostatic discharge as it can cause considerable, very often permanent damage. It is not just electronic components that need to be protected; employees also need protection from static discharge. There is also the danger that flammable materials, such as chemicals or gases could ignite if they come into contact with an electrical spark.
Many environments are at risk, so ESD matting, or static-dissipative matting either for the floor or workbenches, is essential. Such products are effective in controlling ESD, primarily for protecting sensitive components as well human operatives. They help drain/draw the static charge to the ground but must be either ‘static dissipative’ or ‘conductive’, and grounded to earth through accessories such as heel grounders, wristbands, and cords effective. Very often conductive matting is used on work surfaces, as it draws the electrical current away from the component quicker, moving the static charge efficiently to the ground. Beware of matting described as ‘insulative’, as this is not ESD safe.
The bench seat and HR Matting from COBA Europe are good examples of ESD worksurface mats. Static dissipative, they both feature a conductive buried layer to help protect components, meeting or exceeding IEC51349-5-1 resistance requirements.
When researching ESD matting, you will most likely encounter the symbol Ω or ohm. Electrical resistance is measured in ohms (unit of resistance). There are Kiloms, Megaohms, and Gigahoms. Resistance is measured as surface resistance, with readings in ohm/square.
ESD floor mats are very often manufactured from vinyl or rubber. Products can comprise two or three layers of materials and can have a buried conductive middle layer.