Category Archives: Floor Finish

Controlling Static Charge Generation with ESD Flooring

Static discharges can be noticed when you touch an object of different electrical potential such as a door knob, and a bolt of electricity flows from your charged body to the door knob. This flow of electricity is actually a result of the stored static charge that is being rapidly transferred to the knob. This discharge that can be felt as well as seen, is commonly referred to as an electrostatic discharge, or “ESD”.
The generated static charges are a potentially costly occurrence for office and factory employers. You will learn in today’s post how they can easily be controlled with different types of floor material.

Static Charge Generation from Flooring
When a person walks across a floor, a triboelectric charge builds up in the body due to the friction between the shoes and floor material. The simple separation of two surfaces (such as a person walking across a floor with soles contracting and separating from the floor) can cause a transfer of electrons resulting in one surface being positively and the other one negatively charged, resulting in static charges.

Generating Charges by walking across a CarpetGenerating Charges by walking across carpet

It is not necessarily the static charge generated in the body that does the damage as much as it is the difference in potential that creates an electrostatic discharge.

The problem with ESD
The generation of a static charge can pose quite a problem for environments that contain sensitive equipment or components that are vulnerable to static damage, such as electronics manufacturing, repair facilities and medical facilities, including computer rooms and clean rooms.
Controlling the damage and costs caused by ESD is usually the main concern that drives a company to implement a static control programme. The costs involved with static damage not only include the immediate cost of the damaged component, but the contributing cost of diagnostic, repair and labour that is needed to replace or fix the component. In many cases the labour involved can far exceed the component cost.

Flooring Materials
There are several options available on the market ranging from coatings (floor finish or paint) to coverings (vinyl or rubber). The choice of material depends on the mechanical and optical properties required as well as the available budget.
In general, floor coverings will last longer (10 years or more) than a floor coating. They are more durable and have a specific resistance to ground that remains constant over time.

Types of Floor Coverings – click here for more information

Coatings are easier to apply and repair and their initial cost is considerably lower. Coatings are usually applied to existing floors and often serve to convert a conventional floor into an ESD floor. However, regular maintenance is required as coatings will lose their ESD properties over time.

1. Floor Coatings

  • Antistatic Coating:
    Conventional carpets can be treated with an Antistatic Coating or other treatment. It is required that the treatment be replenished on the carpet as it wears away due to foot traffic.
    ESD carpet is available but proper maintenance is very important.
  • ESD Floor Finish:
    Existing hard surfaces (e.g. concrete, sealed or painted wood, linoleum, asphalt) can be treated with ESD Floor Finish to eliminate the need for ESD control flooring. Repeat applications are required periodically to keep ESD properties within specification.
  • ESD Paint:
    Paint is ideal for providing a cost effective static-free environment and is very effective as a static control floor coating for electronics manufacturing, assembly and storage. It controls dissipation of static electricity and provides path to ground.

2. Floor Coverings:
Floor coverings will have either “conductive” or “dissipative” electrical properties:

  • Conductive materials have a resistance to ground (RG) of greater than 1 x 103 ohms but less than 1 x 105
  • Dissipative materials have a resistance to ground (RG) of greater than 1 x 105 ohms but less than 1 x 1012

It is recommended to use conductive flooring material; EN 61340-5-1 requires ESD flooring to be less than 1 x 109 ohms (RG). The same standard requires a person/footwear/flooring to be less than 3.5 x 107 ohms (resistance in series of operator plus footwear plus floor). Remember that floors get dirty which can raise floor resistance. Therefore, it is good to start off with a floor that is conductive (less than 1 x 106 ohms). So even if the resistance increases, you’re within the required limits of the ESD Standard.

  • Carpet:
    ESD control carpets are made with static dissipative yarn and only require that the yarn be kept clean and free of insulative dirt, dust and spray cleaners.
  • Matting:
    Types of matting range from vinyl to rubber and anti-fatigue matting.
    Vinyl is generally cheaper and provides high resistance to many chemicals. Rubber on the other hand is more durable and can withstand extreme hot and cold temperatures. Anti-fatigue matting (AFM Series) is designed to provide comfort for personnel that must stand or walk for long periods.

Considerations when using Flooring Materials
1. Grounding
EN 61340-5-1 requires that all conductors in an ESD protected area, including personnel, must be grounded. This includes ESD flooring; it must be electrically connected and attached to a known ground. The Desco Europe floor mat ground cord 231265 is just one option for grounding floor matting.

2. Periodic Verification
All ESD control items (including ESD flooring) have to be tested:

  • Prior to installation to qualify product for listing in user’s ESD control plan.
  • During initial installation.
  • For periodic checks of installed products as part of EN 61340-5-1 clause 5.2.4 Compliance verification plan.

19290_RtgMeasuring Surface Resistance of ESD Floor Matting – click here for more information

A surface resistance meter can be used to verify compliance of the ESD floor with the ESD standard.

3. Person/Footwear/Flooring System
ESD flooring does not ensure protection from ESD damage unless operators walking across the ESD floor wear ESD footwear, either ESD shoes or ESD foot grounders.
ESD foot grounders are designed to reliably contact grounded ESD flooring and provide a continuous path-to-ground by removing electrostatic charges from personnel. They are easy to install and can be used on standard shoes by placing the grounding tab in the shoe under the foot.
Foot grounders must be worn on both feet to maintain the integrity of the body-to-ground connection Wearing a foot grounder on each foot ensures contact with ground via the ESD floor even when one foot is lifted off the floor. This will more reliably remove static charges generated by human movement.
Desco Europe offer a number of different foot grounder types for your requirements.

Conclusion
Static charges can easily be controlled with different types of floor material which vary in their properties, cost and durability. The best static control systems are not only the ones that protect sensitive components and equipment but are: A) at hand and readily available, B) easily maintained. Floor coverings are long lasting and maintain their ESD properties over time, while existing floors can be economically converted for use in an ESD control program using various types of coatings.
Remember that all ESD control items such as flooring, personnel grounding and specialty equipment should be grounded and tested periodically to verify all components are within specification.

Not sure which ESD flooring is right for you? Request a free ESD Survey at your facility by one of our knowledgeable representatives to evaluate your ESD programme and answer any ESD questions!

 

 

 

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Creating an ESD Floor is as easy as 1, 2, 3

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In previous posts we covered how to ensure your ESD Flooring is working and what the difference is between conductive and dissipative floors. So the obvious question now is: how do I actually create an ESD floor??? Well, no panic – we can help! Vermason has a number of items in the offering that will help you achieve just that: create an ESD floor. And not just that – it’s also incredibly easy!

StaguardStatguard® Stripper
Unlocks our ESD polymers with the least amount of labour while minimising the pH level needed to rinse and neutralise. The Statguard® Stripper can save one or two labour rinse steps which cuts down labour time and can save you money. Typically 80% of the cost of maintaining a tile floor is labour. Cutting down the labour time is a savings to both the Building Service Contractor and the Customer.

Statguard® Dissipative Floor Finish
Exceeds the required limits of EN 61340-5-1 for Resistance (operator grounding) of < 1.0 x 109 ohms when tested per IEC 61340-4-1 and Operator Charge Generation of < 100 volts when tested per IEC 61340-4-1 when proper ESD footwear is used.

Statguard® Floor Cleaner
Statguard® Dissipative Neutral Floor Cleaner is formulated to clean floors treated with Statguard® Dissipative Floor Finish, as well as other dissipative or conductive floor tiles and polymer type floor finishes. It is formulated with dissipative agents that will rejuvenate and improve the static dissipative properties of the flooring surface that it is used with without leaving behind residue that can impede dissipation or conductive properties of the flooring material or finish.

 Application1  Application2  Application3
 Application Pictures

Reduce Floor Maintenance Costs

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Not Protecting ESD Floorings Can Result in High-Cost Maintenance

Implementing and improving ESD protection is an ongoing process for many companies. Selecting the correct ESD flooring is critical. However, maintaining that floor can be costly.

In addition to the technical requirements of an ESD floor, the ability to keep a bright, high-gloss appearance is often part of the selection criterion. If a floor is being maintained like a regular (non-ESD) floor, often no waxes or finishes are used per the tile manufacturer’s recommendation; however, the flooring manufacturer may recommend using buffing pads or other maintenance techniques.

Depending on the size of the floor and floor traffic, the maintenance costs will be significant, especially if part of the goal of an ESD floor is to keep it looking shiny.

Floor Finish Benefits
When thinking about using a dissipative floor finish with ESD flooring, a company’s goals often include:

  • Maintain the electrical properties of the ESD floor.
  • A clean, bright, and shiny floor appearance.
  • Reduce the floor maintenance costs.

A dissipative floor finish, such as Statguard® Dissipative Floor Finish, will improve the gloss, reduce costs and enhance the electrical properties of the existing ESD floor tile.

Vermason Floor Finish
Vermason Floor Finish

Floor Finish Solution
Using a dissipative floor finish, such as Statguard® Dissipative Floor Finish, can help a company to:

  • Preserve/enhance the electrical properties of ESD flooring.
  • Improve the visual characteristic of ESD flooring.
  • Reduce on-going maintenance costs.

GO GREEN:
Statguard® Low-VOC Dissipative Floor Finish does not contain harmful chemicals:

  • NO APE (alkylphenol ethoxylates) surfactants
  • NO Carcinogens, Mutagens, or Reproductive Toxins
  • NO Ozone-depleting compounds
  • NO Ammonia
  • NO Heavy metals (Zinc Free)
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