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More information about Anti Static ESD Mats

Anti Static ESD Mats: Safeguarding Sensitive Environments in Manufacturing

Anti-static ESD mats are a crucial investment in manufacturing and industrial settings where the integrity of electronic components is of the utmost importance. These mats are not just an accessory but a necessity for flooring or benchtop applications, as they provide the necessary static control to ensure a safe, efficient, and compliant operation. Integrating Anti-static ESD mats into your workspace is a significant step towards protecting your processes, products, and people from the unseen risks of electrostatic discharge.

The integrity of electronic components is crucial in manufacturing and industrial settings, as any damage to them can result in costly downtime, lost production, and even safety hazards. This is where Anti-static floor mats play a vital role. These mats are not just an accessory but necessary for any facility where electrostatic discharge could pose a risk to critical equipment and sensitive electronic components.

What are Anti Static Mats? 

Anti-static mats, also known as ESD (Electrostatic Discharge) Mats, protect equipment and individuals from electrostatic discharges. These sudden discharges of electrical energy could cause permanent damage to sensitive components in equipment or pose a safety risk to people working with them.

Please refer to our detailed guide below to help you understand the different types of anti-static mats available, the potential risks involved, and which mat would be suitable for your needs.

Our Range of Anti Static Mats:

3-Layer Anti Static Bench Mats

Our most popular ESD product is the 3-layer bench mat. Available in a vast range of sizes, this mat is excellent for benches, large and small. This highly adaptable anti static mat is recommended for those who work with small components, such as computers, as the brightly coloured matting helps to make tiny nuts and screws more visible whilst the foam underside layer reduces the risk of damage to delicate electrical equipment.

ESD Rubber Matting Rolls

If you need to cover a larger floor area, such as around switchboards or high-voltage equipment, then you may be interested in our SwitchRib Electrical Insulating Mat. This thin rubber sheeting is available in three thicknesses (3mm, 4mm or 5mm) and standard rolls of 10 metres or in a custom length you choose. One of the significant additional benefits of this matting is that it helps to increase grip levels, reducing the risk of slip accidents in these hazardous areas.

How do Anti Static Mats Work? 

ESD or electrostatic discharge, in layman's terms, is the transfer of static electricity from one object to another. This static electricity is caused when two or more non-conductive objects collide, forming an electrostatic field emitted from the objects' surfaces.

Out of the two objects, one object will gain a positive charge, while the other will gain a negative charge. Everyday items and materials such as wood, thin plastics, wool, cotton and carpets are all susceptible to ESD, with our skin liable to electrical charges.

For most of us, this is never anything more than a tiny pinch of pain. Still, this sudden Electrostatic Discharge can cause irreparable damage to sensitive electrical components such as Motherboards and CPUs.

With an Anti Static Mat, you can safely earth this energy before it has a chance to cause harm to us or to any electrical components we are working on. Versions of these mats have been designed specifically for floors or workbenches and are available in various materials and construction methods.

In either case, the static needs to be earthed correctly, as the mat alone will only draw the static away. This is done by using a wrist strap (for bench mats) or ankle strap (for floor mats) that connects the operator to the mat, which is then connected to an electrical socket, allowing the energy to be safely earthed.

For an anti-static mat to adequately ground an item, the item must be either dissipative or conductive as insulative items, such as plastics, will not allow charge to drain to the ground.

Anti Static Mat Benefits

When using Anti Static Matting, you can ensure protection for valuable electronic equipment plus the individuals who work with them. There are also additional benefits depending on the type of mat used.

Bench Mats – As well as protecting equipment from the dangers of ESD, using Anti Static mats on worktops also provides a certain level of padding, which helps to prevent equipment from being damaged when being moved about on hard surfaces. We would recommend using our 3-layer bench mat in this scenario. Anti Static Mats for worktops and benches are generally brighter in colour, too, making it easier to see small components like screws and nuts, tools and wires.

Floor Mats – For those who work on their feet with more significant components, specially designed Anti Static Floor Mats can be used. One of the considerable advantages of using this type of mat, such as our PremBubble, is that they also provide excellent anti-fatigue properties. Fatigue caused by prolonged standing in the workplace can lead to serious long-term health problems, usually in the form of muscle and joint conditions, so using a mat significantly reduces workplace fatigue is beneficial. 

Frequently Asked Questions

How to use ESD Anti-Static Mats?

  1. If using a workbench ESD mat, place the mat on top of the workbench and plug the grounding connector into a wall socket.
  2. If the mat is only equipped with an alligator clip, attach the clip from the mat to the computer that is being built or repaired. Make sure the computer is unplugged first!
  3. Attach the anti static strap to your wrist, with the alligator clip at the other end connected to the mat. You will now be able to work with your computer safely.

Anti Static usage guide

The process for anti-static floor mats is similar, except you will most likely be using a strap connected to your ankle rather than your wrist.

What Materials are anti-static mats made from?

Anti-static mats are typically made from either Rubber or Vinyl. Rubber is the most widely used material for Anti Static mats as it has a high resistance to heat and chemicals, is durable and offers excellent comfort. Anti Static Rubber Mats are ideal for;

  • Heat resistance – does not melt as easily
  • Soldering areas
  • Resistance to chemicals
  • Resistance to cutting and abrasion
  • Durability

Anti-static mats are either conducting or dissipative. Conductive mats can disperse static electricity quicker than dissipative mats can. This is because, with low electrical resistance, electrons flow easily across the mat's surface and, therefore, work faster than dissipative items. Dissipative items are slower as the charges flow to the ground more slowly because they have a higher surface resistance of more than 1 x 10 5 ohms. In contrast, conductive items have less than 1 x 10 5 ohms surface resistance.

Note: This guide is intended to provide general information about antistatic mats, their construction, features, and operation. It is the responsibility of the user to ensure that mats and associated equipment are used correctly and safely. As such, First Mats Ltd cannot accept liability for harm caused to people or components when using the information in this guide.

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Further Reading for Anti Static ESD Mats

ESD, or Electrostatic Discharge is the sudden release of static electricity that occurs when two objects come into contact. Examples include the shock you can experience when touching the metallic...

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Technicians regularly use anti-static wrist straps when they are building computers. They are also commonly used in conjunction with Anti-Static Mats. These wrist straps are also commonly referred to as...

Read the Full Article