· Technical

What is ESD? (Electro Static Discharge)

Any system component that contains transistors or integrated circuits should be considered sensitive to
electrostatic discharge (ESD), so what is ESD?
ESD damage can occur when there is a difference in charge between objects. You can protect against ESD damage by equalising the charge so that the system unit, the part, the work surface and the person handling the part are all at the same charge.
Protecting electronic components is reasonably simple if proper handling of the components and basic
precautions are used.
Sources of ESD
People: during normal activities, charges will be generated on a person’s body, ranging from a few volts to
thousands of volts. Contact with a conductive item (e.g. a PCB) will result in a discharge, possibly resulting in ESD damage.
Equipment: all moving equipment, trolleys, conveyors, automated assembly machines etc. will generate
charges; ESD will result.
Charged Insulators: commonly used items made from plastics (e.g. polyethylene packaging) charge up and retain charge readily. Fields from highly charged items can produce ESD events in devices without physical contact. This is known as ‘charge by induction’.



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