What ist ESD about?

ESD stands for ElectroStatic Discharge. A large potential difference creates a spark or breakdown that generates high electrical voltage pulses on electronic components or devices.

Each of us has experienced ESD before. The best known perception is the feeling of an electric shock when touching a door handle. However, many electrostatic discharges are below the threshold of human perception, but can be harmful to electronic components, for example.

People, for example, can only feel a discharge from about 3000 volts. In contrast, 35 volts are sufficient to destroy a semiconductor component.

 

How ESD develops?

ESD occurs when insulating materials are rubbed against or separated from each other. This happens, for example, during these everyday movements:

  • Walking over plastic floors

  • Friction on synthetic clothing

  • Displacement of plastic containers

  • Unrolling of adhesive tapes

  • Unrolling of adhesive tapes

The result is an exchange of charges on objects or bodies with a lower charge. In some cases, visible sparks may form. Well-known examples of discharges are, for example, feeling an electric shock when touching door handles or setting up hair.

 

Why is ESD dangerous for electronic components?

Completely harmless to humans, electrostatic discharge is now one of the biggest problems in electronics production. If this aspect is neglected, it can lead to serious quality problems that may only occur days, weeks or even months after delivery of the product to the customer and can generate high costs in terms of:

  • Complaints

  • Repair and replacement costs

  • loss of reputation

  • loss of customers

The causes of electrostatic discharges are manifold and in some cases not visible or perceptible. For example, electrostatic charging can only be felt at a voltage of approx. 3000 volts. By comparison, voltages as low as 35 volts can completely destroy electronic components such as a semiconductor device.

In order to prevent damage to these sensitive components, it is important to introduce and consistently implement certain ESD protection measures in your company.