14 Jul

Monitors & Meters: Which One Do You Need?

ESD Monitors and Meters

Monitors and meters may seem like merely a question of semantics. And in most of the world it is, monitors are analogous with meters and vice versa.

But when you’re dealing with electrostatic discharge (ESD) prevention, both have specific purposes and uses that set them apart from one another. And it’s important you know which is which before you start or continue your work with items that can be harmed by ESD.

Monitor: What’s Happening in the Room?

In plain language, in an ESD Prevention situation, the Monitor (noun) keeps known sources of ESD in systematic reviews. It monitors (verb), the ‘progress’ or quality of ESD buildup over a period of time.

So we have monitors for people, that connect to their personal wrist straps, or connect between them and the ESD matting that they are using – in effect, monitoring both.

The key to a good ESD monitor is make sure they provide constant monitoring of the potential ESD in the room.  If the monitor fails, a single spark of static electricity can cost hundreds of dollars in damage before it’s quelled.

Meter: Where Is It?

Meters, in an ESD prevention situation, operate more as the means to locate the sources of ESD build up.

Much like the meters used for testing in construction situations, meters will show the relative ESD levels, allowing the user to pinpoint the exact spot where ESD is being generated or not dispersed properly.

This can be on ESD mats, clothing, people and flooring.

Specialty meters can detect and pinpoint ESD specifically in a cleanroom or ionized area.

There are meters that look at a wide variety of potential ESD buildups and smaller units that check select areas only. And meters that check the humidity, temperature, electrical resistance, and any or all of these at once.

There is a secondary subset of meters that you should also be aware of – Testers.

Testers check the grounding of electrical receptacles to ensure they are actually grounded. Imagine the problems and expense of not realizing your electrical plugs were not grounded and subsequently having to discard or repair any sensitive electronics that had been worked on or assembled during the time the ground was inactive.

There are also testers for personal wrist straps and grounding cords.

Are You ESD Aware?

So, the answer to our question above is YES.

It’s not an either/or situation. It’s both. Each tool has its purpose within your ESD control situation, and both are effective in their job – which is generating awareness of ESD.

We would love to be your full service, seamless ESD solution provider; contact us today for more information.

05 Dec

ESD Compliance: Test the ESD Devices, and test the testers

Q: How does a wrist bandcum footwear ground tester differ from the work station monitor? Can we not use only the work station monitor when it can monitor the worthiness of wrist strap even? And, Can we not check the worthiness of a wrist strap with a normal multimeter

A: I think that I understand your question here.  One way or another, a company needs to say what they are going to do in terms of ESD compliance.  They need to then do what they say they will do and document it.  They need to test the ESD devices.  They then need to test the testers.  And they need to show records of such in a pass/fail document and to prove that they are committed to quality and do not accept anything into the environment than will lead to a failure.

A wrist strap/footwear tester is proven and tested.  It is convenient to monitor and record the compliance to a whole shift of people in a given EPA.  But what if someone tests their wrist strap that morning and it fails at 10:25 that morning.  They won’t know it failed until later that day. 

The advantage of the constant monitor is that it not only alarms the moment it fails but it also forces the user to keep it on (wrist strap) while seated at the ESD workstation.  That’s fine.  But you need to test the testers periodically.  And to document those tests.  I hope I understood your question and answered it accordingly.

I suppose you could check the worthiness of a wrist strap with a normal multimeter.  I have a device that measures the connection from a connected 4mm, 7mm, or 10mm snap, through the coil cord and 1M Ω resistor, and two conductive cylinders that measure a stretched out wrist strap.  With it, I can measure the cuff only, the cuff and cord, or the cord only.  It cost me (us) a small fortune.  I have a Fluke 123 Industrial Scopemeter and a Fluke 77.  They are great meters, up to about 40M Ω or 4.0E7.  If you have wrist straps that are conductive enough, then great.  Good luck.  You may need a Megohmmer.