Category Archives: Tape

Choosing the right type of ESD Tape for your Application

Most people are aware of regular high charging tape in ESD Protected Areas (EPAs) and know that these should be replaced with ESD tape. However, there is a lot of confusion out there as to what type of ESD tape should be used for what application. So we’ve put together an overview of the different types of ESD tape available and when to use them.

All generators of electrostatic charges, such as untreated plastic films, foams, synthetic fibres, adhesive tapes, etc., must be prohibited and should be kept away from the EPA [ESD protected area].” (EN 61340-5-2 section 6)
EPA should never have any electrostatic generative adhesive tapes or labels, as these can cause very high potentials when applied or stripped off.” (EN 61340-5-1 section 7.4)

ESD Cellulose Tape

Technical information:

  • Colour: generally transparent; some types have a blue, red, green or yellow hue
  • Film construction: cellulose

Cellulose TapeExamples of ESD Cellulose Tape – find out more

Application:

  • Sealing ESD bags and other ESD packaging/containers
  • General purpose ESD tape applications
  • Secure (bundle) IC DIP tubes
  • Prevents damage to sensitive electronic components in manufacturing
  • Ideal for holding notes, work orders or instructions in offices, ESD workstations, or for general purpose
  • Ideal for conformal coating or holding and sealing supplies in manufacturing
  • Ideal in packaging for container sealing, static shielding bag closure and holding DIP tubes
  • Use with ESD symbols for ESD awareness

ESD Conductive Shielding Grid Tape

Technical information:

  • Colour: tan/brown with black grid pattern
  • Film construction: antistatic copolymer with conductive grid layer

Conductive Shielding Grid TapeExamples of ESD Conductive Shielding Grid Tape – find out more

Application:

  • For applications requiring EMI shielding
  • Use in areas where the generation of static electricity is of concern
  • Secure (bundle) IC tubes
  • Cover external plugs, holes or connector pins on electronic chassis (black boxes, etc.) during transportation or storage

ESD High-Temp Masking Tape

Technical information:

  • Colour: natural
  • Film construction: crepe paper

High-Temp Masking TapeExamples of ESD High-Temp Masking Tape – find out more

Application:

  • Silk screening applications
  • Masking application in spray and brush painting, non-staining
  • Protective purposes in manufacturing processes, strips clean
  • For securing polyethylene sheeting to walls during painting
  • For OEM repair shops
  • Use in applications masking PCBs gold features for wave soldering or soldering under 150°C
  • Thick conductive adhesive excellent for conformability to protect critical PCB features
  • Easily handles high temperatures of wave soldering without leaving significant residue
  • Handles temperatures found in test and burn-in ovens
  • For best results, apply to board using a rubber roller

ESD High-Temp Polyimide Tape

Technical information:

  • Colour: brown opaque
  • Film construction: polyimide

High-Temp Polyimide TapeExamples of ESD High-Temp Polyimide Tape

Application:

  • Ideal for masking gold leads and other components on boards populated with sensitive integrated circuits
  • Thick conductive adhesive excellent for conformability to protect critical PCB features
  • Masking off PCBs for IR reflow ovens or wave soldering under 300°C for ~ 10 seconds

Aisle or Floor Marking Tape

Technical information:

  • Colour: yellow with black printing
  • Film construction: PVC

FloorMarkingTapeExamples of Floor Marking Tape – find out more

Application:

  • Use to mark off floors designating ESD Protective Areas
  • Can be used as area signs
  • Note: floor marking tape has no ESD control properties

Packaging Tape

Technical information:

  • Colour: yellow with black printing
  • Film construction: PVC

Packaging TapeExample of Packaging Tape – find out more

Application:

  • Suitable for sealing secondary packaging such as cartons
  • Note: packaging tape has no ESD control properties

 

ESD tapes come in all sorts of widths and lengths so make sure you check the specifcations to ensure your chosen tape will work for your application. And once you’ve picked the right kind of ESD tape, don’t forget an ESD tape dispenser to go with it…

 

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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