Thursday, February 02, 2006

Grounding through ESD footwear and flooring

We have a very peculiar problem while using the ESD ( Static Dissipative ) Shoes. The the pass band - lower limit on the tester is 0.75M Ohm and the upper limit is 35M Ohm) some shoes pass and some fail. Are the limits set on the footwear tester ok or should we increase the upper limit?

The limits on your tester are correct for measuring resistance from the person's body to ground via the footwear and flooring, for a person who is handling ESD susceptible parts. This is recommended by IEC 61340-5-1 to be between 750 k ohm and 35 M ohm.

However the limits might not be correct for testing footwear as worn, to a metal plate electrode. Under the IEC 61340-5-1 standard the range limit for this is between 100k ohm per shoe, or 50 k ohm testing both shoes together, and 10^8 ohms. Footwear can be within this range (and so compliant with the standard) and yet fail your test.

For primary grounding of personel (in other words, the main means of grounding people who are handling ESD susceptible parts) the resistance for shoes needs to be lower than the maximum required resistance for grounding through footwear and flooring. There must be some margin for the resistance of the floor. Also, the floor resistance needs to be low enough to achieve a resistance to ground less than 35 M ohm - this will require floor resistance considerably less than 10^9 ohm allowed by the standard. In this case the best procedure in my view is to measure the resistance from person's body to ground while they stand on the floor - this is recommended to be between 35 M ohm and 750 k ohm. This measurement, and compliance with this resistance range, is not specifically required by the standard.

In summary:
1) 61340-5-1 allows footwear and floors to have higher resistance than would be needed to achieve 35 M ohm resistance from a person's body to ground
2) In order to achieve 35 M ohm resistance from body to ground you would have to choose footwear and flooring types that would reliably give low enough resistance
3) It is recommended, but not required, by 61340-5-1 that the resistance from a persons body to ground should be between 750 k ohm and 35 M ohm when grounded by footwear and flooring - if they are relying on this as the primary means of grounding while they are handling ESD susceptible components.


Duban Michel said...

I agree with you the measure of résitance of person to ground is important when you well know your flooring system and your shoes.
When your are qualified a grounding system you must take into account the parameter "Body voltage generation" of your grounding system. The grounding system must take into account the ground, the shoes and the person.

These measures are difined on ESD STM 99-2 1999 or IEC 61340-4-5.
On Internet you can find a document on this subject I wrote in 2001.(on Google type %ESD Duban%).The limit you must take is defined in function of the sensitivity of the component in use.

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