26 Feb

Can ESD Wax be applied to bring back dissipative properties?

Q: Into our manufacturing area we have a dissipative floor installed, some areas has lost the dissipative properties, we are using ESD wax to correct those areas.

We are not having good results, we measure point to point and point to ground and these areas still measure insulative, my question is:
The ESD wax only works in floors with dissipative properties, or could it be applied on areas where the floor has lost the dissipation properties?”

A: Thanks for contacting us.  This is one of those questions that I like to pounce on, because it brings up many current misconceptions in the ESD flooring industry.  I’m going to answer your question about using chemicals to perhaps patch up certain areas in your flooring system, but I’m going to reach beyond that question and give a comparison of the ESD flooring system vs an otherwise non-ESD flooring system with an ESD sealer applied to it.  We supply both options here, by the way.  I hope you find what you need here and that this response helps guide you in your application.

I’d like to know if your floor was cleaned up and perhaps dust mopped and/or dry mopped prior to making your readings.  I’d also like to know if you’re using the “clean electrode with a minimum 70% isopropanol-water solution using a clean, low-linting cloth and allowing electrode to dry” prior to measurements as per ANSI/ESD S7.1-2005 6.2.1.1.  This is crucial to getting good true and consistent readings.  It seems strange to me that you have a static dissipative flooring system and it’s “wearing off” or going away.  Is there any possibility of contaminants affecting some of these areas?

Where the Static Dissipative flooring system is acceptable, what is the readings for Point to Point and Resistance to Ground?  I would assume the readings are between 1.0E6 Ω and 1.0E9 Ω , is this correct.  And where you find it to be insulative, it’s above a gig ohm?

Yes, there are products we provide- such as ZS-Diamond Seal that will keep the inherent ESD resistance properties of an otherwise Static Conductive or Static Dissipative flooring system by adding a slight bit of resistance to it, but also increasing its ability to keep clean and is easier to remove scuff marks.  We also have a product, ZS-Coat  to be used on a non-ESD flooring system that will bring it into the Static Dissipative range.  I’ve seen this product keep the flooring system to below 1.0E9 Ω and perhaps down to the 1.0E8 Ω range for PTP and RTG if properly applied and maintained.  I believe this requires 3 to 5 coats up front and 2 coats thereafter to maintain.  This would seem like a good short-term solution, but would not be economically feasible in the long term.  I used to work for a company for 8 years that installed a VCT flooring tile in the electronics assembly, QC, production test, burn-in, Tech Services field-repair, and packaging area… and they to this day rely solely on a chemical to make their otherwise non-ESD flooring system Static Dissipative.  And the maintenance crew reapplies this chemical every month.  It is now just over 10 years since I worked for that company and they’re still doing this!

They could have installed a flooring system up front like our Static Conductive DuroStat SMT Solid-Vinyl tile and would have spent maybe a 10th of what they’re spending now.  Or we could go in and install this tile right over their existing flooring system using  our Pressure Sensitive Conductive adhesive system for non-porous applications and copper grid and they’d have a brand-new Static Conductive flooring system with a full Engineer’s Technical Report with Certification of ESD Flooring which meets and/or exceeds the requirements set forth in ANSI/ESD S20.20-2007 (Protection of Electrical and Electronic Parts, Assemblies and Equipment) via ANSI/ESD S7.1-2005 (Resistive Characterization of Materials-Floor Materials) and ANSI/ESD S6.1-2005 (Grounding) and ANSI/ESD STM97.1-2006 (Floor Materials and Footwear-Resistance Measurement in Combination with a Person) and ANSI/ESD STM97.2-2006 (Floor Materials and Footwear-Voltage Measurement in Combination with a Person because I have all the tools and test equipment AND the experience on how to use it AND the smarts to interpret the data and apply the proper Technical Elements with the proper installation to get the job done right the first time).  That was a long sentence.  All this would add a mere 1/8 inch to their existing flooring system and do away with the need to apply these otherwise effective chemicals every month or three.  I guarantee that their flooring system would read less than 1.0E6 Ω when properly cleaned and maintained if necessary and more than about 1.0E5 Ω PTP and RTG throughout their whole flooring system and would generate less than 10 volts ptp and perhaps as low as about 5 volts ptp with the proper footwear ( I recommend Static Dissipative ESD shoes [specifically the SH-4341 M or SH-431 W] or Sole Grounders [these give lower Body Voltage Generation than mere heel grounders from what I’ve experienced]).  A flooring system like this should last 20+ years.  The ESD properties just don’t go away and the pattern is continuous throughout the whole 1/8th inch of the product.  That’s approximately 3.2 mm or 125 mils of thickness.  No amount of stripping and buffing could wear that floor down.

I’m not a salesman, but I’m passionate about the electrical and mechanical abilities of this flooring system.  If I was going to install this floor, use this floor, maintain this floor… this is what I would want.  Besides that, you’ve got a top-performance flooring system (lowest Body Voltage Generation on the market) for less money in the long run, and much less maintenance.

But I’d like to stress this; any money spent on ESD compliance is money well spent.  It pales in comparison to money spent in the Electronics Industry worldwide.  For example, in 2004, about $85 Billion was spent worldwide for ESD failures and about $35-$40 Billion of that in the US alone and these losses are already budgeted and paid for.  Think of losses at the device level, sub-assembly, finished goods, and ultimately, out-of-box failure which leads to shipping costs, field service, unhappy customers, etc.  So ESD compliance is a profit center.  So I’m not against using ESD sealers if it’s what a company can afford at the time or for temporary solutions.

I hope this has been helpful and please feel free to comment or question.

2 thoughts on “Can ESD Wax be applied to bring back dissipative properties?

  1. Does anybody know the reason behind the upper limit resistance (3,5x10E7Ohms)of a grounding system (personnel+conductive shoes+conductive flooring)? Why not 1x10E8Ohms?
    We have tried many waxes and all of them either give an overall reading for the system that is barely, when it is, within the limits above (IEC 61340-5-1 Table 1 – Note 2.

    • That reading is for ANSI/ESD STM97.1-2006 Floor Materials and Footwear- Resistance Measurement in Combination with a person.

      So make sure you’re measuring a clean spot on the floor, someone wearing good clean heel grounders, sole grounders, or static dissipative shoes with one probe from a megger in the palm of their hand to earth or machine ground and the voltage on the meter set for 100 volts, as the resistance is greater than 1.0E6 ohms. Now if they fail this test and are less than 1.0E9 ohms, then they pass if they generate less than 100 volts as per ANSI/ESD STM97.2-2006 Floor Materials and Footwear- Voltage Measurement in Combination with a person.

      Sorry so long for the response.

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