U.S. Tech Chooses Dave Long’s Piece for June 2021’s Publisher’s Choice Pick
FROM U.S. TECH — EMS companies often handle devices that are extremely sensitive to static electricity. If the manufacturer does not have a static-control program in place, it can be tricky to implement one without shutting down the facility for days. Space may be tight, personnel and equipment crowding the shop floor, and operations managers have to balance the enormous cost of lost productivity against the need to protect new parts and devices.
In an article titled, “Installing ESD Flooring Without Adhesives and Downtime,” Dave Long, founder and president, StaticWorx, Inc., describes how a major part of any ESD control program is getting the proper flooring in place. Foreign objects and debris (FOD) can affect the reliability of parts and assemblies. How can one replace a floor without generating any debris? What if the subfloor is in such poor condition that it prevents a standard installation? What will make up for the lost time?
Dave Long, StaticWorx President and Founder, is the author of this month’s Publisher’s Choice for U.S. Tech Magazine, with his comprehensive piece, “Installing ESD Flooring Without Adhesives or Downtime.” Enjoy this excerpt below and then head over to U.S. Tech to read the full piece.
Installing ESD Flooring Without Adhesives and Downtime
Proper flooring is a necessary part of any ESD control program.
By Dave Long, Founder and President, StaticWorx, Inc.
FAILING FLOORS FAIL AGAIN
AMC, a manufacturer of motion control equipment located in Ventura County, California, had a fire in its building, with extensive smoke and water damage. Repairs included installation of a conductive ESD vinyl tile floor. The timing was fortuitous: their 30-year-old vinyl composition tile (VCT) had curled, pulling loose from the concrete substrate. By replacing the floors in their manufacturing and stockroom areas, they could also change the layout of their SMT operation.
They purchased the ESD vinyl tiles from a distributor and hired local flooring contractors for the installation. Because the old VCT was lifting, it had to be removed. The installer determined the root cause of the flooring failure to be a combination of vapor permeation from moisture below the concrete and chemical residues from the bond breakers used to erect the original concrete walls, part of a process known as tilt-up construction.
The solution was to shot-blast the concrete and install a vapor-resistant topical barrier on its surface. Shot-blasting generates FOD, so the areas had to be cordoned off with plastic sheeting, with positive-pressure air handlers to filter the air.
The installers blasted the concrete, applied a vapor barrier, installed conductive epoxy adhesive over the barrier, and set the tiles in place. The installation looked great. The seams were tight, and the white tile added brightness to the building.
A few months later, however, the new tiles began to dimple. Lifting them revealed moisture under the floor, confirming that the vapor barrier was not functioning properly. The installation was a failure.
The good news: AMC only covered 20 percent of its facility with the floor. The bad news: the company committed to installing new flooring and there was no confidence in using glue-down floor tiles a second time.