What is ESD?

ESD (Electrostatic Discharge) is static electricity that is transferred from one object to another. We daily experience ESD as an electric shock or a spark, such as when we walk on a carpet or get out of a car and then touch something made of metal.

Static electricity occurs when non-conducting materials such as a shoe sole and floor surface touch one another. How much static electricity is stored in your body depends on materials, clothing, weather and indoor climate, but it reaches its highest level when humidity is low. For instance, we experience this on a frosty day when the hair stands up and becomes charged with static electricity, or if we feel a tiny electric shock when touching metal.

You can minimise static electricity using conductive materials, such as ESD approved footwear or clothing that literally grounds you and conducts static electricity away from your body. This way, you avoid transferring the static electricity to the material you are working with.

 

See the range of ESD approved footwear

How much static electricity do you generate?

 10-20% relative humidity65-90% relative humidity
Person walking on a synthetic carpet35.000 Volts1.500 Volts
Person walking on vinyl flooring12.000 Volts250 Volts
Person in a seated workplace6.000 Volts100 Volts
PVC bag lifted from a table top20.000 Volts1.200 Volts
Desk chair with a polyurethane seat18.000 Volts1.500 Volts

The lower the humidity, the more static electricity you will generate

Why protect against ESD?

Electronic components are very sensitive to static electricity and are affected by voltages that are far below what we daily experience as small shocks.

For instance, a sedentary person can generate up to 6,000 volts and first notice static electricity at 3,000 volts. But sensitive electronics can be damaged at just 100 volts. ESD protection is therefore important for all businesses working with electronic components – and especially for all internal employees and external craftspeople, installers and others working in ESD-critical areas (EPA – Electrostatic Discharge Protected Area).

What are the consequences of ESD?

ESD can cause severe damage to electronic components. The damage can occur during production, assembly, repair and servicing. In 10% of cases the damages are discovered internally, which may result in the loss of valuable time, reduced efficiency and increased production costs. But in 90% of cases the damage will only appear later – in the form of reduced performance, a periodic bug or a broken product.

It can do great damage to your company's image and lead to:

  • Lost sales
  • Decreased customer satisfaction and negative publicity
  • Increased service-related costs and repairs

Choice of work footwear

When choosing work footwear for your customers, your employees or yourself, be aware of the difference between antistatic footwear and ESD approved footwear.

Antistatic footwear

Antistatic footwear dissipates the static electricity but has a relatively low conductivity. The user will therefore accumulate a larger amount of static electricity in the body. The electrical resistance is between 0.1 MΩ and 1000 MΩ, which is far above the standards for ESD approved footwear.

ESD approved footwear

ESD approved footwear ensures a continuous discharge of static electricity. The conductivity is significantly higher than in antistatic footwear, so the user absorbs a minimal amount of static electricity. In accordance with standards, the electrical resistance must be between 0.1 MΩ and 100 MΩ (EN 61340-4-3) or 0.1 MΩ and 35 MΩ (EN 61340-5-1). ESD approved footwear is always marked with the yellow ESD symbol.

More and more companies are requiring that employees use ESD approved work footwear. And although the challenges are greatest in the electronics industry, the use of ESD approved footwear is becoming more and more widespread in transportation and warehousing, and construction and craftsmanship.

ESD approved footwear from Sika Footwear

At Sika Footwear, the development of ESD approved footwear is an area of focus in product development, production and advisory services to our customers. As part of our quality assurance, we test our footwear in international industrial enterprises with stringent requirements for footwear meeting ESD standard EN 61340-4-3 or EN 61340-5-1 – even when humidity is low. Whatever your needs, we are here to help you and find exactly the right ESD approved footwear for your business.

 

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ESD approved footwear from Sika Footwear

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