If you are an architect whose client works in an industry where electronic components need to be handled with care or in a space where cleanliness is essential, you may have heard of anti-static flooring.
Anti-static flooring is designed to reduce static electricity and avoid electrostatic discharge (ESD), which can cause fires, explosions, and damage to sensitive equipment.
In this article, we will guide you through everything you need to know about anti-static flooring and how it can help improve the safety rating and practicality of your architectural flooring designs.
Why Does Electrostatic Discharge Occur?
ESD is the sudden and momentary flow of an electric current between two electrically charged objects caused by direct contact, an electrical spark, or other sources. Discharge occurs when two objects with different electrical charges come into contact with each other, creating a ‘static charge imbalance.’ This imbalance causes electrons to flow from one object to the other, resulting in a sudden surge or discharge of electricity.
The most common cause of electrostatic discharge is friction between two surfaces. When two materials are rubbed together – e.g., the boots of a warehouse operative and the warehouse floor, electrons are transferred from one material to the other, creating an imbalance of charge and resulting in a static shock (e.g., when the operative picks up an electrical component). Other sources of ESD include electrical sparks, lightning strikes, and even the vicinity of high-voltage power lines.
From an architectural and flooring design perspective, proper grounding techniques should be integrated into all workspaces used for handling and processing delicate components, and anti-static bags should be used for storage and transportation.
If electrostatic discharge were to occur in these environments, it could severely damage valuable electronics and even render them useless. In industries such as electronics manufacturing, aerospace, and pharmaceuticals, regulations for controlling electrostatic discharge are strict. The use of anti-static flooring is a must in these sectors due to the high risks involved, and so that the production process can continue without any interruptions.
What Is Anti-Static Flooring And How Does It Work?
Anti-static flooring is a type of industrial flooring system or coating that is specifically designed to reduce the danger of electrostatic discharge. The flooring is made with special non-conductive materials and techniques that ensure static electricity can be safely dissipated without posing a hazard to operatives, stock, or machinery.
There are several different types of anti-static flooring materials based on their chemical makeup and the application environment. Anti-static floor screeds, resins, and polyurethane floor coatings, for instance, are commonly used in warehouses, workshops, and factories where sensitive consumer electronics (e.g., smartphones and semiconductor chips) are manufactured, assembled, or stored.
Anti-static epoxy flooring formulations make use of conductive materials and have the added advantage of being highly resistant to the corrosive chemicals commonly used in electronic engineering. Depending on the industry’s requirements, a resin-based anti-static flooring system may be the preferred option, as it is durable and resists heavy foot traffic, abrasion, and other environmental stresses without risk of damage. Anti-static flooring also prevents the accumulation of dust and particulate matter, meeting the cleanroom requirements essential in the pharmaceutical and medical manufacturing sectors for maintaining product quality.
Industrial Resin Flooring Systems From ARTI
In order to keep workers and stock away from static shocks and sudden explosions, we strongly recommend considering an anti-static floor system for workspaces and storage areas used to handle delicate components. To find out more, please contact Advanced Resin Technologies (International) today.