Is Paper Safe at an ESD Workstation?

Regular paper is insulating, but generally low charging because it is hygroscopic ( absorbs moisture). A critical concern with paper is placing ESD sensitive items on the paper — interfering with the path-to-ground of the grounded ESD mat. ESD Control Manufacturer Desco suggested in their blog ‘Paper in the ESD Protected area’ that the “best practice is to use Dissipative Paper or maintain regular paper in Dissipative Document Holders. If regular paper is used, personnel need to be trained to not place any ESD sensitive items on the paper, and must be especially aware during periods of low relative humidity.”

Although the ANSI/ESD S20.20-2014 does not specifically mention paper. it says the following about insulators:

Section 8.3.1 Insulators
All nonessential insulators such as coffee cups, food wrappers and personal items shall be removed from the EPA.
The ESD program shall include a plan for handling process-required insulators in order to mitigate field-induced CDM damage.

If the field measured on the process required insulator is greater than 2000 volts/inch and the process required insulator is less than 30 cm (12 inches) from the ESDS item, steps shall be taken to either:
A) Separate the required insulator from the ESDS item by a distance of greater than 30 cm (12 inches); or
B) Use ionization or other charge mitigating techniques to neutralize the charge.

If the field measured on the process required insulator is greater than 125 volts/inch and the process required insulator is less than 2.5 cm (1 inch) from the ESDS item, steps shall be taken to either:
A) Separate the required insulator from the ESDS item by a distance of greater than 2.5 cm (1 inch); or
B) Use ionization or other charge mitigating techniques to neutralize the charge.

Check out our Interactive ESD MAN…a fun and informative Personal ESD Protection guide.

ESD Man

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Murray Percival Company offers thousands of capital and consumable products for virtually every facet of printed circuit electronics assembly and repair. With more than 60 manufacturers to choose from, Murray Percival Co. is ready to take on your challenges with technical information, and over 59 years of experience in the circuit board manufacturing and repair industry. We have a multi-state technical sales force, as well as, on-demand shipping to anywhere in the continental United States. Our "We Know How" knowledge base provides in-depth support information for many of our products. We also offer competitive specialty pricing for customers that register on our Web Store.

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