Electrostatic charges and their discharges (ESD) are major threats to the life of electronics and mainly the semiconductors. This threat appears whenever an electrostatic discharge sensitive component, printed wiring board or assembly is handled, transported, stored, manufactured, tested etc.
The electrostatic charge appears whenever two surfaces are, for instance, rubbed or separated from each other. It can therefore occur directly on the electronics and discharge in an uncontrolled manner through the sensitive components. The discharge can also take place when the sensitive electronic component is brought near a charged surface, either by a discharge directly through the components or indirectly by a charge which is induced onto the electronics, which is then discharged.
By suitable means, protective measures, the threat can be removed or minimized.
All parties involved in the handling of ESD sensitive electronics, e.g. semiconductor manufacturers, component distributors, equipment manufacturers, test houses, equipment users are affected and have to adopt measures to avoid the threat of ESD.
Protective measures are specified in a European standard, EN 100 015-1, which also sets up requirements for the measures to be taken. This standard can be referred to by purchasers of electronics as a quality requirement.
To comply with the requirements of EN 100 015-1 measures have to be implemented regarding e.g. training of personnel, administration, packaging, working procedures, equipment and facilities.
The implementation and the quality of the measures shall be verified by the user himself or by an independent auditor.