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Question In my company many rolls of bubble wrap, plastic bags, and PCB boxes (plastic cases) are listed as "Anti-static". While we all understand that these items will not produce serious static, many think that they will also protect the components inside from a static charge. My contention is that a significant amount of charge would pass through the bag/box and damage any ESDS item inside. Only a shielded bag would guarantee complete protection from ESD. The question really arises because a well-known and respected PCB manufacturer sends their PCBs' to us in antistatic plastic cases. The clear plastic case only lists "antistatic" and we can not see any conductor strands within the plastic. What are your thoughts? - Daniel, Wilmington, NC Answers
Answer There are two ways to protect ESDS PCBs. One way is by shielding. Use of shielding bags are a good way to protect the contents from external ESD. Another way to protect ESDS PCBs is to isolate them from external ESD with an air gap. There are “clam shell” packaging and other anti-static plastic packages that will give a spacing of about an inch of air between the outside plastic shell and the ESDS part inside. This “air gap” spacing can be an effective way to protect ESDS parts from external ESD as the 1” air gap acts as a dielectric to prevent discharges up to 30kV.
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