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Question I work in a mfg facility where production is saying how hot it is near the flow solder machines. There are currently huge fans that are posted high up horizontally over the flow solder machines & A/C units running thru out the facility. Production is requesting to have mounting fans placed in the aisle to help them keep cool. Would this pose a risk to any ESD products?
Answer

Fans in an ESD protected area should be no problem.  There are concerns, however, which would include:

-          air flow tribocharging

-          fan components being high charging insulators (such as: housing or blades)

-          if Ionization is used, cooling fans interfering with ionized airflow

 

From ESD Handbook TR20.20 section 2.5 “Virtually all materials, including water and dirt particles in the air, can be triboelectrically charged.”  Per section 5.5.5 “Moving gases that are free of particulates, e.g. from air guns, fans, or heat guns do not tribocharge an insulator or conductor. If rapid air movement causes parts or dust particles to rub together, tribocharging might occur. Grounded conductive surfaces can tribocharge an insulative surface. An insulative surface can charge an ungrounded conductor, which is the greatest ESD hazard.”

 

If the fan components are insulative, they should be kept 12 inches away from ESD sensitive items. Per ANSI/ESD S20.20 Paragraph 6.2.3.2. Protected Areas Guidance

“All process essential insulators that have electrostatic fields that exceed 2,000 volts should be kept at a minimum distance of 12 inches from ESDS items.” 

 

Any Ionizers used should be checked for discharge times after the cooling fans are operating to determine if there is any degradation of performance.

 
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