ESD safe case: where to pay attention to

Bart Burmanje
Sales Manager
More articles by Bart Burmanje

What does electrostatic charge have to do with packaging?

We all know the feeling; you touch the door handle, a metal cabinet or a car door and get a slight electric shock. That is electrostatic discharge, or ESD (Electro Static Discharge). This is caused by friction of certain materials, in which humidity and temperature also play a role. Now you may think: okay annoying, but what does this have to do with packaging? Well, in certain cases a lot!

Electrostatic discharge can have a huge impact on electronic equipment. It can damage them or even make them completely unusable when ESD occurs. This means, for example, that your customer receives a defective device or, in the worst case, that the device malfunctions at the wrong moment and brings an entire system to a standstill. Not the intention, of course, and fortunately also easy to prevent by choosing the right packaging.

What does an ESD-safe case have to comply with?

The challenge lies mainly in the use of the right materials. Which materials (combinations) can cause discharge when subjected to friction? We look at the outside: the hinges, the handles, the corners and even the print. But we also look at the properties of the materials on the inside: the foam we use for the interior, for example. Each component has an influence on the static properties, so it’s up to us to take a good look at them. Together with my colleague Mark Naber, Head Engineer Faes, I discuss the possibilities per situation and application.

Safety is crucial in electronic applications, which is why I always advise to have a prototype made first, which we can test extensively.

Bart Burmanje | Sales Manager

The critical properties of ESD-safe packaging

It is very important to know the critical properties of the materials used. Critical for ESD-safe cases are the insulating and conductive properties. The end-user will have to indicate in his requirements what the desired behaviour of the case is, insulating or dissipative. When a customer makes a request or order, we first go through the analysis or set of requirements phase, where our engineers incorporate all these characteristics into the initial design. In this way, a well-functioning solution is created in the concept phase. I always recommend making a prototype in crucial situations like this so that we can test it for ESD safety, but also for various other functionalities.

Do you want to guarantee the proper functioning of your electronic equipment?

Prevent damage to your image caused by defective deliveries to your customers, processes that grind to a halt due to suddenly malfunctioning equipment and the high costs involved in repairing or re-delivering it. Make sure your packaging is ESD-safe in all situations and get informed about the risks and possibilities. My experienced colleague packaging experts at Faes and I will be happy to help you with this.

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