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Importance of Good ESD Practices in SMT Assembly

Importance of Good ESD Practices in SMT Assembly

The management of electrostatic discharge is a crucial feature in the production, assembly, and maintenance of electronic equipment. If electrostatic discharges are not managed, they may destroy an electrical device at any step of its manufacture or use. Grounding any wires that come into touch with or are close to the electrical equipment is the main way of control. Humans, tools, ESD mats, various electronic equipment, boards, connections, packing, and other conductors are among them. Removal of extra insulators, shielding, ionization, pollution regulations, training, awareness, and highest level compliance are all part of a successful ESD management program.

What exactly is ESD?

The quick current flow between two oppositely charged objects generated by the response to an electric short or insulator breakdown is known as electrostatic discharge (ESD). Tribocharging via electrostatic induction may generate a build-up of high voltage. When different-charged items are placed near together, or the dielectric among them disintegrates, ESD develops, which typically results in a vivid spark. This could result in major part damage during the printed circuit board assembly process.

ESD may generate tremendous electric sparks and less dramatic forms, not seen or heard but strong enough for sensitive electrical equipment to be harmed. Electric sparks need a field strength in the air of more than 40 kV/cm, as seen in lightning strikes. Energy transfer from acute electrodes and brush discharge from flat electrodes are two further types of ESD.

Smt assembly
Smt assembly

What is the importance of ESD?

Exposure to ESD, or the abrupt passage of electricity over two electrically charged items, may cause any electronic device or part to deteriorate. When two differentially charged items brush against one other, an apparent spark is typically produced. Even easy movement on a workstation may cause ESD, which may harm a device’s sensitive electrical components. It may also have an impact on the functioning and quality of electrical devices and components. As a result, ESD protection solutions are critical for preventing the accumulation of electrostatic force in electronic devices. Their primary purpose is to limit the possibility of ESD-sensitive equipment being damaged. These protective solutions are particularly successful in preventing system failure and extending the life of fragile electrical devices.

A pro-EPA (ESD protected area) should be established for the safety of production facilities or pcb assembly workstations. EPA may be enhanced using ESD-resistant goods, including workbenches, commercial furnishings, trolleys, warehouses, etc. Wristbands, conductive straps, and other devices may be worn by persons working in the vicinity to safely disperse ESD. These items are wired to the ground, where an electrostatic charge is dissipated via earthing points and connections. This allows ESD to be dissipated more safely.

ESD Protection Zones in the Facility:

Electrostatic Discharge Shielded Locations (EPAs) prevent ESD-sensitive devices from typical electrostatic discharge sources by grounding conductive objects and personnel in ESD-prone production areas such as:

Pro mats, for example, are conductive surface materials.

  • Staff uniforms and clothing with conductive filaments
  • Optimal humidity levels

Circuits with built-in ESD protection:

When assemblies are most susceptible like during electronic assembly, built-in ESD protection decreases the danger of complete circuit breakdown or latent damage. The following are some of the best practices for ESD protection built-in:

  • Choosing the right short backflow prevention device for your Printed Circuit Board
  • Installing the isolator at the ESD contact site

What is ESD (Electronic Stability Device) Training?

Controlling electrostatic discharge requires ESD training. You recognize the significance of avoiding electrostatic discharge. You already know that in electronics assembly, an ESD control program is critical for quality and yield. Any successful ESD control program and vital to successful electronic manufacturing require an effective, systematic, and long-term ESD training, certification, and re-certification system.

What is ESD 20.20 Training?

Electro Static Discharge (ESD) is a typical phenomenon in which a person or almost any ‘charged’ item emits a brief electrical shock.

The multi-industry guideline for developing ESD management programs that safeguard today’s highly sophisticated electrical parts, assemblies, and machinery from expensive ESD damage and decrease downtime is ANSI/ESD S20.20. An organization may design an ESD control program that protects equipment down to 100 volts or fewer using the format’s control techniques and advice.

The S20.20 standard, which several multinational OEMs use and serve as a successor for MIL-STD 1686, has swiftly gained traction in the electronic, telecommunications, aircraft, automotive, and devices sectors. In reality, the S20.20 standard is included in the telecom industry reference TL 9000 as a recommended practice for addressing ESD control requirements.

A good ESD management program within a printed circuit board assembly facility may help you avoid expensive system failures while also improving customer service. Organizations may use NQA’s ESDA-accredited Site Certification program to guarantee that their programs satisfy the standards and give documentation of conformance for customer marketing reasons.

When it comes to ESD training, there’s a statement that goes something like this:

“Managing an ESD program is an important aspect of a full quality program in the modern electronics sector. Any electronics company that does not have an active ESD program is putting itself or its customers in danger.”

At PNC, all the employees receive annual ESD training based on ESD 20.20.

What Are the Advantages of ESD Training?

Improper handling of today’s electrical components may quickly harm or make them faulty. Furthermore, rejecting or fixing items affected by electrostatic discharge (ESD) may waste time and money for companies that handle electronic components.

  1. Raises ESD awareness in the workplace
  2. Enhances overall performance levels and product control
  3. Lowers the failure rate, lowers rework, and saves money.
  4. Aligns with peers in the electronics industry
  5. Provides consumers with clear evidence during site visits
  6. Controls for ESD (proper clothing, grounded tables, signage, etc.)
  7. Increases marketability and gives you a competitive edge.

What is ESD Audit?

A solid ESD control program should include an ESD audit. It audits all ESD-control processes and products, reminds employees of their obligations regularly, and provides management with the information needed to take remedial action.

An audit is conducted using an ESD control program that has been designed, authorized by management, and applied at all levels of the smt assembly area. In most cases, such software is based on industry-developed standards. ANSI/ESD S20.20-1999, produced and regulated by the ESD Association, is the cost of setting up a document for many programs and is a good option for a guiding standard.

ESD Audit Work Area:

The audit must ensure that the border between ESD-protected and non-ESD-protected locations is properly marked, e.g. signs, directional arrows, and floor markings. This reminds both employers and employees that they enter a critical control environment or leave it.

Supply carts to store or carry ESD-sensitive items should have electrically linked uprights and shelves mounted by a trailing chain to avoid tribo-loading. A floor snap is strongly suggested for strong grounding of the cart when fixed in an ESD safe location.

ESD Practices at PNC Online                           

During an audit at PNC, it was noted that all the employees themselves tested multiple times a day. The company follows all standard patterns for complete ESD audits on an annual basis. PNC employees wear ESD Smocks, wrist straps, foot Straps, and ESD shoes.

Written by Sam Sangani

Sam Sangani

Sam Sangani is the President & CEO of PNC Inc., a Nutley, NJ based Printed Circuit Board manufacturer. Sam graduated from L. D. Engineering College with a BS Degree in Mechanical Engineering. He also continued his education and graduated from Steven’s Institute of Technology where he acquired a Master’s degree in Computer Science.

After completion of his BS, Sam worked as a QC Manager, for Xerox, Romania and London. He was responsible for the Quality Control of Cable and Wire Harness imports from Romania. After completing his Master’s Degree, he worked as a Senior Programmer with IBM, Tucson, Arizona. Sam was responsible for leading the Mainframe System Programming Team.

In 1997, Sam acquired PNC INC., a Nutley, NJ based PC Board fabrication Shop. From 1997-2013, Sam has made tremendous improvements and changes within PNC INC., as he added many new Products and Technologies in PNC’s portfolio. With his proven track record and leadership, PNC has never had an unprofitable year and has continued its growth yearly since 1997.

His current responsibilities are Strategic Planning, Corporate Management, New Business Ventures, Sales & Marketing, Trade Shows, Professional Services and leading productive teams to achieve peak potential. He has also utilized Lean Management techniques which have built a foundation for PNC’s high-paced growth. Sam also enjoys real-estate investing, web design & SEO, trading stocks, options, futures and Forex markets.

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