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Are ESD tools necessary?

FeaturedThe power to destroy!The power to destroy!

If electricity is somewhat new, electro-static discharges are still unknown for a lot of individuals, even engineers that work in the field. Multiple myths around there don't help a bit, nonetheless this reality continues here and causing damage to sensitive electronic equipment, producing billions in damage. It makes some areas to look like an astronaut training program, with people wearing specialized clothes and devices to discharge themselves, even with a specially designed floor for the purpose, as a mere walking could be near or surpass 1000V.

There are professionals that work finding ESD events in the workspace, with tools that provide insights about where they start, and how to solve them. In some way, it reminds the movie Ghostbusters, although fortunately the events are for real and they create signals that everyone could see or listen. Cases where the solder wire produces the event!

Even ESD tweezers can provide events, or with other words, electromagnetic waves traveling through air. Why? Because some manufacturers print ESD perhaps believing in something unreal. That's where the specialized equipment comes into place to test if the tool in question provides or not ESD protection.

As many tools are made with insulators, these tend to acquire charges with ease thanks to friction. So, if they have, they could release them to any other area producing damage. Touching a piece with a charged material is not strictly mandatory for the damage, simply exposing it to the electromagnetic field is enough. A little sheet of plastic could go after a bit of friction to 3000V. It's a relevant potential to produce damage in sensitive equipment, singularly in those micro-tracks present in integrated circuits. So say for instance motherboards, graphic cards, memory, and a long list of hardware that usually are handled without protection.

A very bad idea because this kind of damage produces something alike ghosts in the hardware as the behavior starts to be strange, working intermittently, without clues or reiterative phenomena to be clear about what's behind the issue, like if it were produced by some spirit. It's actually technical, but most of the time it requires at least an electron microscope to see the "ghosts".

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