Category Archives: Protektive Pak® ESD Containers

4 Reasons why you should be using Protektive Pak® Material

Last time we talked about what to look out for when using containers to transport or store ESD sensitive items. Have you implemented our 3 tips yet?
Today we thought we’d cover a topic that ties in nicely with last week’s post: Protektive Pak® Impregnated Corrugated Material. Never heard of it? Don’t panic – we’re here to help! Protektive Pak® Material is made from static dissipative impregnated corrugated material with a buried shielding layer – it provides static shielding to protect ESD sensitive items from ElectroStatic charges, and ElectroStatic Discharges [ESD].

Introduction to Protektive Pak® Material

So now you’re probably wondering what’s different about this type of material – loads of companies out there offer similar products, right? That’s true – BUT what makes Protektive Pak® Material so unique is that its ESD properties are manufactured into the liners of the material itself. Many other materials have a coating or paint applied that gives them their ESD properties. This in itself is not a problem. However, it becomes an issue if the outer layer of your ESD container is damaged.

Protektive Pak Inplant HandlerProtektive Pak® Inplant Handler – for more information click here

Have you ever removed tape from your ESD container or accidently pierced the surface with a sharp object? If you have, chances are you’ve found the black coat give way to a lighter brown material. That’s your ESD properties gone potentially damaging your ESD sensitive devices inside the ESD container. This will not happen with Protektive Pak® Material – even if the outer layer is damaged, your ESD sensitive items are still protected. Not convinced? Check-out this video.

 PinkBlackPPKProtektive Pak® Circuit Board Shippers – for more information click here

4 Reasons why you should be using Protektive Pak® Material

Independent ESD tests have proven that Protektive Pak® Impregnated Corrugated Material is superior! Click here to see the full test report. The bottom line is:

  1. Protektive Pak® impregnated corrugated material has a buried shielding layer.
  2. Protektive Pak® impregnated corrugated material equals or exceeds the discharge shielding capabilities of a coated box.
  3. Protektive Pak® impregnated corrugated material has discharge shielding capabilities equal to a metal-out shielding bag.
  4. Protektive Pak® impregnated corrugated material meets the ANSI/ESD S541 recommendation, avoiding rapid discharge when contacting ESD sensitive items – coated boxes DO NOT.

 

Comparing Impregnated Corrugated Protektive Pak® and Coated Materials

Now that we have talked about the advantages of Protektive Pak® Material – how exactly does it compare to the more common coated materials out there on the market? The below table provides a summary:

Impregnated vs. Coated Material
1 CONSISTENT QUALITY
Manufactured by one paper mill with computerized control, resulting in consistent high quality.
Manufactured without computer controls and applied at various geographical locations, resulting in quality variations.
2 STATE-OF-THE-ART TECHNOLOGY
Carbon is added during the paper making process. The paper is a 6-layer process. The top surface layer is static dissipative, measuring 107 to 109 ohms. The conductive layer is in the 5th layer from the surface measuring <104 ohms.
Material is coated or printed with carbon loaded black ink which is then coated with a clear sealer to help coating stay on. Shielding layer is very close to surface and high carbon content can bleed through. Result is very poor and inconsistent static dissipative effectiveness.
3 LOWER SULPHUR CONTENT
Manufactured from 100% recycled paper with consistently low sulphur content.
Manufactured from either recycled or virgin paper or a combination of both. sulphur content may be low or high which can cause corrosion to leads and circuits.
4 GREATER DURABILITY
1,000 Times Thicker: Abrasion tests have shown no loss in particles at 100 cycles, only 1% loss for 200 cycles and 60% loss for 500 cycles.
Tests have shown a 50% loss in particles in only 10 cycles and a 100% loss in 100 cycles.
5 SLOWS RAPID DISCHARGE
Burying the conductive layer under a dissipative surface reduces the potential for a rapid discharge when contacted by a charged device.
A very conductive surface that may pose a charged device model (CDM) ESD danger to components stored in open bin boxes, in-plant handlers, shippers, totes, nesting trays, etc.
6 BETTER SHIELDING EFFECTIVENESS
Shielding effectiveness is equal to or greater than coated conductive materials.
Some coated products shield poorly due to inconsistent application procedures by some manufacturers.
7 BETTER VALUE
More durable structure, 1,000 times thicker, which consistently shields your product from ESD, is also safer and better for the environment.
Simple structure which can lack consistency of ESD shielding, durability and safety.
PPK Material Carbon Coated Material
Graphite Printed Material

All microscopic photos are approximately the same scale. A PDF version of the above table is available here.

3 Tips for using Containers to store & transport your ESD sensitive devices

Do you use containers to store or transport ESD sensitive items? If so, make sure to read on! We’ve compiled a list of 3 tips you should follow to make sure your ESD sensitive devices are fully protected. So let’s get started:

1. Use shielded containers!

ElectroStatic Discharge (ESD) is silent, quick and potentially lethal to electronic parts. When electronic parts are not properly handled during manufacturing, assembly, storage or shipping, damage from ESD can reach into the millions of dollars each year.

For an ESD control container to be effective and meet EN 61340-5-1 Edition 2.0 2016-05, the requirements are:

  • Surface resistance 1 x 104 to < 1 x 1011 ohms per IEC 61340-2-3
  • Discharge Shielding (energy penetration) < 50 nanoJoules per IEC 61340-4-8

Shielded versus Non-Shielded Containers

We know what you’re saying now: “But non-shielding containers are so much less expensive than ESD shielding containers.” Unfortunately, it’s not as simple as that.

Non-shielding containers might be cheaper, but they are not less costly when it comes to handling ESD sensitive items. Anytime ESD sensitive parts and assemblies are handled, regular containers are not a sound option, even part of the time, as the risk of ESD damage is always lingering. As a result, costs will be incurred, either via ESD damage or as an additional investment in discharge shielding packaging and material handling containers.

The disadvantages of cross-using shielding and non-shielding containers include:

  • Increased cost
  • Risk from ESD damage
  • Handling inconvenience

The cost of a discharge shielding container is far less than the cost associated with damaged parts or extra handling that result with a “less expensive” non-shielding container. So the bottom line is: ALWAYS go for shielded containers!

2. Put a lid on it!

A Faraday Cage effect can protect ESDS contents in a container with a shielding layer (this is what a shielding bag has). This Faraday Cage effect protects people in real life when a lightning bolt strikes an airplane or automobile with the charge residing on the outer metal fuselage or car body.

The Faraday cage effect causes charges to be conducted around the outside surface of the conductor. Since similar charges repel, charges will rest on the exterior.

Put a lid on it!To complete the enclosure, make sure to place lids on boxes or containers. Packaging with holes, tears, or gaps should not be used as the contents may be able to extend outside the enclosure and lose their shielding as well as mechanical protection.

Outside an EPA Inside an EPA

Outside the ESD protected area (EPA), the lid needs to be in place to provide the ESD control property electrostatic discharge shielding.  Per Packaging Standard EN 61340-5-3 clause 5.3 Outside an EPA: “Transportation of sensitive products outside of an EPA shall require packaging that provides both:
a) dissipative or conductive materials for intimate contact
b) a structure that provides electrostatic discharge shielding.”

Inside the EPA, it would still be a good idea to have the lid in place, but it is not a requirement. When using a shielded container, electrostatic charges and discharges take the path of least resistance. Packaging with the discharge shielding property protects ESD sensitive items from the effects of static discharge that are external to the package.

3. Choose the right foam!

Generally speaking, there are 2 types of foam available with shielded containers: pink static dissipative and black conductive foam. Depending on your application and/or budget you should choose the one best suited for you.

Pink Foam vs. Black FoamThere are resistance differences but the key is that the black foam resistance is inherent and longer lasting:

Pink Static Dissipative Foam Black Conductive Foam
Static dissipative polyurethane <1011 ohms Conductive polyurethane 1 x 103 to < 1 x 105 ohms
Antistatic low charging – minimising electrostatic charge generation Permanently conductive
Will lose electrical properties over time Will not lose electrical properties
When exposed to the environment, the foam will discolour (turn yellow) over time Foam will not discolour over time
Economical Higher initial investment; better value for long term applications
Ideal for short term use and/or one-time shipments Ideal for storing or transporting ESDS over a prolong period of time, and reusing the container
Not recommend for lead insertion applications Not recommended in applications where Static Dissipative properties are required
Easy to adapt for custom uses by die-cutting, laminating, etc.
Non-contaminating, non-corrosive, and non-sloughing

 

We hope you found this post helpful and informative – let us know if you have any requests for future blog posts.

Storage and Transport of ESD Sensitive Items

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We thought today we could focus on ESD during storage and transport. If you have read our recent post on Tips to Fight ESD, you will remember how important it is to protect your ESD sensitive items when leaving an EPA. Yet, too often we see customers who have the perfect EPA, but when it comes to transporting and storing their precious components, it’s all falling apart.

1. Packaging required for transporting and storing ESD sensitive items

During storage and transportation outside of an EPA, we recommend that ESD sensitive components and assemblies are enclosed in packaging that possesses the ESD control property of shielding.

Remember:

  • In ‘shielding’ we utilise the fact that electrostatic charges and discharges take the path of least resistance.
  • The charge will be either positive or negative; otherwise the charge will balance out and there will be no charge.
  • Charges repel so electrostatic charges will reside on the outer surface.


2. The Faraday Cage effect

A Faraday Cage effect can protect ESD sensitive items in a shielding bag or other container with a shielding layer. To complete the enclosure, make sure to place lids on boxes or containers and close shielding bags.

ESDPackaging
Cover must be in place to create Faraday Cage and shield contents.

3. Types of shielding packaging

The below list gives a few examples of what types of shielding packaging is available on the market. This list is by no means complete; there are many different options out there – just make sure the specifications state “shielding” properties.

  • Metal-In Shielding Bags
    ESD bags which protect ESD sensitive items. The ESD shielding limits energy penetration from electrostatic charges and discharge. They offer good see-through clarity. Available with and without dissipative zipper.
  • Metal-Out Shielding Bags
    Integral antistatic and low tribocharging bags which will not electrostatically charge contents during movement. Bags have an aluminium metal outer layer of laminated film. Available with and without dissipative zipper.
  • Moisture Barrier Bags
    Offer ESD and moisture protection and can be used to pack SMD reels or trays. Check out this post for more information on MBB and ESD Control.
  • Bubble Shielding Bags
    These bags combine the “Faraday Cage” and mechanical protection. They shield about twice as well as normal shielding bags of equivalent size.
  • Component/Circuit Boards Shippers
    These boxes offer an efficient way of shipping or storing ESD sensitive circuit boards and other items. They provide ESD shielding with the lid closed. The foam cushioning reduces stress from physical shock.
  • In-Plant Handlers/Storage Containers
    Shield ESD sensitive items from charge and electrostatic discharges (with lid in place). They provide ESD and physical protection for ESD sensitive circuit boards.


4. Additional options for storing ESD sensitive items

Do you have the following in place?

  • ESD flooring
  • Grounded personnel (using foot grounders). Read this post for more information on how to ground moving personnel.
  • Grounded racking

TEAMOperator wearing foot grounders

IF (and this is a BIIIG IF) the above requirements are fulfilled, you can use conductive bags or containers to store your ESD sensitive items. Conductive materials have a low electrical resistance so electrons flow easily across the surface. Charges will go to ground if bags or containers are handled by a grounded operator or are stored on a grounded surface.
Conductive materials come in many different shapes and forms:

  • Conductive Black Bags
    Tough and puncture resistant bags which are made of linear polyethylene with carbon added. The bags are heat sealable.
  • Rigid Conductive Boxes
    Provide good ESD and mechanical protection. Boxes are supplied with or without high density foam for insertion of component leads or low density foam which acts as a cushioning material.
  • PCB Containers
    Are flat based and can be stacked. They are made of injection moulded conductive polypropylene.

Again, there are many more options available on the market so make sure you do your research.

Note: we do not recommend using conductive packaging to transport ESD sensitive devices. Also, pink antistatic and pink antistatic bubble bags are not suited for storing or transporting ESD sensitive components.

5. Final thoughts

Packaging with holes, tears or gaps should not be used as the contents may be able to extend outside the enclosure and lose their shielding as well as mechanical protection.
Also, do not staple ESD bags shut. The metal staple provides a conductive path from the outside of the ESD bag to the inside. The use of a metal staple would undermine the effectiveness of the ESD bag making a conductive path for charges outside the bag to charge or discharge to ESD sensitive components inside the bag. To close an ESD bag, it is recommended to heat seal or use ESD tape or labels after the opening of the bag has been folded over. Alternatively, you can use ESD bags with a zipper.

Picture5Sealing ESD Bags the correct way

One final word of warning:
When ESD sensitive items are unpackaged from shielding bags or other containers, they should be handled by a grounded operator at an ESD workstation

 

 

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