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What's ESD?

January 09, 2023

Electrostatic discharges (ESD) can damage a sensitive electronic component, resulting in failures, reduced reliability and increased rework costs, or latent component failures of equipment in the field.

ESD can also cause interference with the operation of electronic systems. Static electricity can build up high level voltage in operating environments. Levels above 10 000 Volts are not uncommon, and levels over 30 000 Volts have been recorded. A simple action such as a person getting up from a chair can cause a rise in the body voltage (HBM) up to 10 kV.

ESD produce fast high current waveforms and fast magnetic (H-field) or electrostatic (E-field) disturbances. These can induce voltages or currents in nearby sensitive circuitry, and corrupt data or cause spurious failures.

The cost of a single ESD failure in the field can be astonishing. The cost of in-house failure can also be significant, and wastes time and resources. A return of 10:1 or more on investment in ESD measures is quite possible.

The ESD protection requirements are managed by 2 international standards :

• IEC 61340-5-1 : protection of electronic devices from electrostatic phenomena - general requirements

• IEC 61340-5-2 : protection of electronic devices from electrostatic phenomena - user guide.

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