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Question What test method or standard should I use to determine whether an item is safe in an EPA, and at what proximity to my product, which is extremely sensitive (can be damaged by 30 V discharge)? For example, I want to determine whether plastic pens should be allowed on the workstation. What is the way to go about doing this? - Edward Sandoval, Ericsson, Morgan Hill, CA,
Answer I'd recommend the ANSI / ESD S20.20-1999 Standard:
In 1999, the ESD Association has approved and published a new standard covering the development of an ESD control program. Approved as an ANSI standard, ANSI/ESD S20.20-1999: Development of an Electrostatic Discharge Control Program. The standard covers the requirements necessary to design, establish, implement, and maintain an ESD control program to protect electrical or electronic parts, assemblies and equipment susceptible to ESD damage from Human Body Model (HBM) discharges greater than or equal to 100 volts.

All process essential insulators [e.g., plastic pens] that have electrostatic fields that exceed 2,000 volts should be kept at a minimum distance of 12 inches from ESDS items. 2,000 volts is a measure of the electrostatic field at the point of measurement and is not necessarily directly related to the electrical potential of the item. The accurate measurement of electrostatic fields requires that the person making the measurement is familiar with the operation of the measuring equipment. Most hand held meters require that the reading be taken at a fixed distance from the object. Equipment manufacturers typically specify that the object being measured needs to have certain minimum dimensions. Objects smaller than the minimum dimensions may not provide an accurate reading. Additional guidance related to Protected Areas may be obtained in ESD ADV 2.0. shed particles that may cause production-related problems. It is important that the Organization evaluate ESDS protective packaging materials for process, storage and environmental compatibility.
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