Anti Static Mats

Protect your electrical components from sudden electrical discharge (ESD) with our premium Anti-Static Mats, expertly made to guarantee safety and performance.
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Anti Static Mats - Buying Guide and Information


Anti-Static ESD Mats

As the UK’s foremost matting suppliers, First Mats is your source of premium Anti-Static Mats and accessories for optimal ESD protection. We are trusted suppliers to many leading organisations including DHL, Debenhams and the BBC, so you can always buy with confidence when shopping online with us.


Every Anti-Static Mat sold through our website has been individually selected to ensure that only those which meet the highest standards of quality are available to our customers. Whether you are looking for Anti-Static Bench Mats, Floor Mats or ESD Accessories, we are confident that any product purchased from us will surpass your expectations.


Discover a range of anti-static mats which offer their own unique features and benefits. Our popular bench mats, for example, are available in standard sizes along with custom length options resulting in a no-compromise installation. Or, for those who work on their feet, we have a fantastic choice of anti-fatigue ESD floor mats. From our low-cost StatMat to the heavy-duty Ground Mat, we have anti-static mats suitable for a multitude of working environments.


Our anti-static mats are manufactured in ISO accredited facilities and tested by world leading safety institutions. The first-class engineering provides an almost static-less working environment, utilized for commercial and scientific applications including component manufacturing, computer science and data warehousing.


If you want to know more, why not contact our team directly? Whether you are looking for a single anti-static mat, or need to refurbish an entire facility, we aim to provide exceptional customer service to all customers. Read our reviews to see what our previous customers thought of our products and our service.


To find out more in-depth information about the expanded benefits and how ESD anti-static mats work, please scroll down to view more or feel free to browse our extensive range of quality driven anti-static products.


What are Anti-Static Mats?


Anti-static mats, sometimes referred to as ESD Mats, are a type of matting that safeguards equipment and users from electrostatic discharges. Without anti-static mats in place, a sudden discharge of electrical energy could permanently damage sensitive components in equipment or cause harm to individuals working with them.


To help you understand more about the different types of anti-static mat, the risks involved, and which type of mat is best for you, then please read more from our detailed guide below.


Our Range of Anti-Static Mats

At First Mats, we have worked hard to put together a comprehensive range of Anti-Static ESD products to satisfy different needs for our customers.


3-Layer Bench Mats

Our most popular ESD product is the 3-layer bench mat. Available in a huge range of sizes, this mat is great 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.


Floor Mats

For those who work on their feet, we offer a selection of hard-wearing anti-static floor mats. This includes the low-cost StatMat, which is made from PVC Foam to offer good anti-fatigue properties whilst reducing the risk of slipping. For more challenging environments, our GroundMat is resistant to oils and chemicals often found in industrial areas thanks to the Nitrile rubber top surface.


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 in standard rolls of 10 metres or in a custom length of your choosing. One of the big additional benefits of this matting is that it helps to increase grip levels, reducing the risk of slip accidents in these hazardous areas.


Anti-Static Wristbands and Accessories

You will find that some anti-static mats feature metal connectors attached to one or multiple corners of the mat. For the mats to be able to work, these points should be used to connect the mat to anti-static wristbands; wearable devices that discharge substantial levels of voltage and allow operators to neutralise any static electricity to match more closely to the working environment. Not only does this protect the person working with any static charges but also protects the equipment from voltage surges.


All of our Anti-Static mats are tested to internationally recognised standards, guaranteeing you a reliable and effective product with a long lifespan.


How do Anti-Static Mats Work?

ESD or electro static 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 that is emitted from the surfaces of objects. 


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 own skin liable to electrical charges.


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


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 for work benches and they 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 connect 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.


How many volts does it take to damage my equipment?

ESD damage can happen to objects with as little as 1 volt of electricity but is mostly dependant on the object. Computer components should as DIMM’s, CPU’s, capacitors and expansion cards are more susceptible to ESD damage, with the risk of permanently damaged equipment with over 100 volts of electricity or higher.


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 larger components, specially designed Anti-Static Floor Mats can be used. One of the big 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 it is beneficial to use a mat that significantly reduces workplace fatigue.


An additional benefit in either case relates to fire safety. In some areas, a spark could ignite flammable liquids, chemicals and gasses so using a mat to prevent sparks from happening could also prevent catastrophic fires.


How to Use 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 on 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.

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.


Why Choose First Mats for your “Anti-Static Mats?

We offer a wide range of high quality, commercial grade Anti-Static Mats, sourced from established and ISO accredited manufacturers. Our mats have a high resistance to heat and chemicals and are designed with health and safety in mind.


  • A large range of Anti-Static Mats for Benches and Floors
  • Only premium quality mats kept in stock
  • Anti-Static Floor Mats also help to fight fatigue
  • Free samples available upon request
  • Fast deliveries, normally within 2 to 3 working days

Other electrical safety matting we offer is Switchboard Matting which is also anti slip and is designed for use specifically in front of high voltage equipment to decrease the risk of ESD.


Whatever ESD mat you’re looking for, please do not hesitate to contact our friendly and knowledgeable team here at First Mats for any help that you need!


What Materials are Anti-Static Mats Made From?

Anti-Static Mats are normally 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, as well as being durable and offering great comfort. Rubber Mats are ideal for;


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

Vinyl mats are normally used for bench mats on worktops. They are cost-effective, lightweight, easy to cut to size and provide cushioning for components. Vinyl anti-static mats are ideal for;


  • Impact resistance
  • Assembly and production purposes due to it being a softer mat, so small objects will not bounce off it
  • Cutting to required sizes

Anti-Static Mats are either Conductive or Dissipative. Conductive mats can disperse static electricity quicker than dissipative mats can. This is because with a low electrical resistance, electrons flow easily across the surface of the mat and therefore work quicker 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, whereas conductive items have a surface resistance of less than 1 x 10 5 ohms.


Solid and Layered ESD Mat Constructions

A solid Anti-Static Mat (homogeneous) is made up of the same material throughout, generally vinyl or rubber. These mats, such as our StatMat, can provide a good performance but are limited in their electrical resistance.


Three-layer mats consist of a top surface of vinyl, above a conductive metal layer and another layer of vinyl foam on the underside. The conductive layer helps to move static charge to the ground faster. The Vinyl covered foam back layer has cushioning qualities and provides protection for components against hard surfaces.


There are also types of two-layer vinyl and rubber mats. The two-layer vinyl has foam on the underside and a dissipative vinyl layer on the top. It still provides good performance, but less so than the three-layer versions as there is no metallized layer, so there is no acting fast track to move static charge faster to the ground. The two-layer rubber anti-static mat has a top layer of static dissipative rubber and the bottom layer is conductive rubber, this gives the same electrical standard as the vinyl three-layer mat with excellent tolerance to heat and chemicals.


Where are Anti-Static Mats Used?

Anti-Static Mats can be used by anyone working with electrical components on a regular basis, although they are more common in technology labs and manufacturing facilities than they are in homes.


Rubber Anti-Static Mats are used by;


  • Those who are working with chemicals and heat
  • Employees who are working with soldering equipment
  • Those who are working in explosive material manufacturing
  • Employees who are working with sharp tools as the mat is more cut and abrasive resistant
  • Electricians who work on their feet

For individuals and those who are working with small objects, A Vinyl ESD mat may be preferable. These mats are soft, meaning that objects such as small components and tools bounce less if dropped. Their bright colours also make it easier to see small components such as nuts, screws and washers, that may have fallen on to the bench. Vinyl Anti-Static Mats are used by people who are working with small objects on a workbench needing a soft mat, so that objects such as small components and tools bounce less if dropped.


How to clean Anti-Static Mats


  • Test your mat regularly to ensure maximum performance
  • Clean your mat if the Resistance to Ground (RTG) tests show a rating lower than normal
  • Don't clean with alcohol or ammonia as this causes the mat to become brittle and dry.
  • Don't clean with a silicone-based cleaner as it will leave a residue that will ruin the mats ESD capabilities.
  • Don't use strong chemicals as it will corrode the mat.

Common ESD Myths

MYTH: ESD is only a problem for IT-based hardware companies and data centres.

TRUTH: As mentioned before, ESD can be an issue for non-electrical non-conductive objects outside the remit of IT hardware production and maintenance.  In some factories, ESD mats will be prevalence around the outside of large manufacturing machines and motors, safeguarding operators from any risk of electrocution while operating any machinery.  Scientific laboratories also tend to opt for ESD matting in the conception and creation of new substances, compounds and molecular structures, which can be very volatile and reactive to electricity.


MYTH: ESD charges are very rare and completely harmless as I can’t feel anything.

TRUTH: ESD charges happen constantly, but the smallest charges are not noticeable by the human body. Other components and equipment require a lower voltage to be temporarily or permanently damaged in the process.


MYTH:  I can use an anti-static bag as a working surface

TRUTH:  Whilst anti-static bags are great for transporting electrical goods without the risk of being damaged due to static electricity, placing any equipment onto of the anti-static packaging reaps no benefits as this effect is only permitted while the bag is sealed with any equipment.


References

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antistatic_device

https://hardforum.com/threads/esd-truths-myths-and-flat-out-lies.812518/


Note: This guide is intended to provide general information about Anti-Static 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.

0121 702 1659 info@firstmats.co.uk @FirstMats