Warning: Trying to access array offset on value of type bool in /home/gndzero/public_html/gndzero.com/blog/wp-content/themes/fruitful/functions.php on line 575
27 Apr

Why Moisture is the #1 Enemy to Your ESD Flooring

#1 Enemy of ESD Flooring

It’s hard to walk down a sidewalk these days without seeing a crack in the pavement. Some of these have obvious reasons, like strong tree roots pushing them up, while others seem to appear out of nowhere.

When concrete is initially poured on a flat surface, to create a floor or sidewalk, it is left for a day or more, depending on the location, to cure. Curing is the process by which the concrete is protected from evaporation until it hardens.

The wetter and cooler concrete is while it’s curing, the stronger and less permeable it is.

I know what you’re thinking… Wait. Why does this matter to ESD flooring? The short answer is more than you know.

A Concrete Problem

Because of the unique nature of the concrete curing, moisture is captured within the concrete. Again, this helps the concrete stay stronger and last longer. But it has an unfortunate side effect.

You see, concrete cracks when the moisture inside it evaporates faster than it can draw replacement moisture from the ground under it.

You may have noticed that a bare concrete floor is unusually cooler than its surroundings.  There’s even the old wives tale about walking on bare concrete causing arthritis flare-ups.

But concrete doesn’t just capture moisture during curing. After hardening, it also transmits the moisture and the temperature of the ground below it.

All of this leads to the number one reason electrostatic discharge (ESD) preventative flooring fails: moisture permeation.

Flooring Failure

When too much moisture moves through the concrete, it results in a high alkalinity in the concrete.  The higher pH levels react to the bonding agent, causing the adhesive in many instances to fail. And if that failure isn’t discovered, could even lead to mold between the concrete and the flooring.

A properly constructed system built recently should include a vapor barrier – a plastic shield that lessens the moisture transference of the concrete flooring. But older buildings may not include this and preventative measures should be taken.

The best and most economical solution is to install resilient flooring to the concrete base before laying down the adhesive backed ESD flooring. Resilient flooring is an organic floor surfacing material in sheet or tile form: rubbervinyl, cork, or linoleum are all viable options.

You can also apply a resin-based moisture barrier coating before laying down your ESD flooring tiles.

A more efficient method is to simply pour a static conductive water-based epoxy floor covering. This eliminates the need for an additional layer of ESD flooring as the epoxy itself provides the protection.

What you can’t do is nothing. Moisture-related floor covering failures are responsible for over $1 billion annually in damages.

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

05 Dec

Conductive flooring in an "explosive" environment.

Q: We are an explosives manufacturer and are looking to repaint our conductive flooring. We subscribe to the standard NFPA requirements for conductive flooring. What is the best and most economical product to apply? Consider that the environment would be expected to be consistently wet.

A: We recommended (2) possible options, both of which would be completely monolithic and seamless due to the excessive liquids that will be present.
Anytime that you have explosives present, the floor will have to be “sparkproof” and fall into a conductive range, verses static dissipative.
These are the two most important criteria for recommending a system for this environment.

Out of these (2) systems, a conductive epoxy is going to be most cost effective, verse a thermally heat welded conductive vinyl system.

Always best to consider a “professional” or approved factory installation for warranty consideration as well as certification that the floor meets the customers expectations and is actually going to get the job done.

05 Dec

Which is best: Epoxy or Vinyl and Conductive or Dissipative?

Q: We are removing old vinyl tile and replacing with ESD protective tile. We are wondering if ESD conductive or dissipative is best. Our business is dehydration baking, final functional testing and packaging semiconductor IC’s with design circuits typically in .25 micron range. We need recommendations on conductive vs. dissipative and epoxy vs vinyl tile. The area is not high traffic. Thanks.

A: Good questions. In selecting an electrical range there are several key factors to consider, these are in order of importance in our professional opinion:

  1. Device sensitivity?
  2. Does the type of work being performed in the protected area include, working with Power Supplies?
  3. Is your staff going to be wearing personnel grounding protection?
  4. Are there any environmental conditions to consider?
  5. How important is meeting industry standards to you and your company? e.g.
    • EOS/ESD S7.1
    • ANSI/ESD S20.20
    • ISO Compliance
    • In-House Standards
    • Customer Contract Standards

Based on what you have described in you e-mail, conductive range is best suited for your application, dissipative should not be considered. See the attached white paper on this specific subject. As this particular document has even been published yet, please keep this document confidential for your internal use only.

The factors that should be considered in choosing a Material Type are as follows:

  1. What is the intended use for the floor? What type traffic will the floor see? Will liquids or spills be anticipated or utilized in this area? Do you own or lease the building? Will odors be a problem during the installation process? Are you fully operational and or will the work be done in phases? Budgetary factors Performance warranty Maintenance level expectations
  2. Esthetics

I think this will give you some things to consider moving forward. Please see the attached floor comparisons chart for additional things you should consider, this chart may prove helpful to you and your team. Let us know if we can provide you with flooring sample submittals, product specification sheets, quotations, etc. I would like to talk to you in greater detail regarding Epoxy vs. Tile, we have many millions of square feet of experience in this category, so please call me when you have some time.

Please let us know how we can better support you and your company moving forward, as your satisfaction is our highest priority!
See also: ESD Open Forum(PDF); ESD Flooring Comparison Chart(PDF)

01 Dec

Flooring system suitable for use in a pharmaceutical manufacturing space

Q: I am looking for a flooring system suitable for use in a pharmaceutical manufacturing space where Class I-B flammable liquids and vapors are routinely present. Is conductive epoxy the best choice? Is an integral copper grounding grid needed?

A: Yes, Conductive is the correct choice for this type of environment. I’d recommend glancing through our flooring selection chart as a starting point:

Ground Zero Flooring Comparison Chart (PDF)

I’d start with an ESD Conductive floor, whether it be a, Vinyl Tile, Vinyl Sheet, or Epoxy. If you go with vinyl tile or sheet, it needs to have welded seams so it can be chemically sound and completely resistant to spill, etc.

Vinyl Sheet is the most economical option. Vinyl Tile has the highest rated loading at 2500 psi, while Epoxy is most durable. They all have good chemical resistance and excellent permanent ESD performance.

All of our flooring installations incorporate the copper grounding grid tape, this is important to assure a permanent and mechanical path to A/C electrical or structural ground.

Below are some of our examples currently being used in your industry:

ESD Vinyl Tile (Weldable)
ESD Vinyl Sheet (Weldable)
ESD Epoxy