Accommodate for user error in highly sensitive environments with ESD flooring.
Wikipedia defines "fault tolerant design" or "fail safe design" as "design that enables a system to continue operation, possibly at a reduced level...rather than failing completely". (1)
Over the years, I have found that this is a very successful way for customers to think about their ESD flooring needs. For most environments, the hazard of static to equipment and/or operations is a risk that cannot be taken. Fault-tolerant ESD flooring is intrinsically anti-static: the end user won't need to do anything after it is installed except walk on it while it allows for the most user errors. Fault-tolerant ESD flooring allows for the most flexibility in an environment while keeping that environment safe:
- People can wear the wrong shoes but still remain protected
- Waxes, polishes, and sprays need not be applied or monitored
- Ambient humidity, temperature, traffic, and the age of the tile are taken out of the equation
Criteria for Selecting Fault-Tolerant ESD Flooring
In mission critical environments, like labs, call centers, healthcare and cleanrooms, there is no room for static or the human error that can bring static if high maintenance ESD flooring is used. Based on the application where the ESD flooring will be installed consider the following elements when evaluating the selection of anti-static flooring (see image, right):
- Footwear: Will the shoes worn in the environment be standard "street shoes" (insulative) or will they be specialty footwear (conductive)?
- Volts (kv): What is the acceptable amount of human body charge allowable in the environment?
- Static decay: Upon contact with the floor, how quickly does the charge leave the body?
- OHMs: What is the floor's measurable ability to conduct electricity?
The first ESD floor that is conductive, antistatic and capable of handling applications where special footwear is not an option: EC Rubber.
- Prevent walking body voltages above 10 volts when used in conjunction with controlled footwear - regardless of relative humidity
- Significantly inhibit the accumulation of static electricity on people, regardless of footwear, according to test results from MIT Lincoln Laboratories
- Never require conductive wax, polishes, or sprays
(1) "Fault-tolerant_design," Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fault-tolerant_design, Dec. 1, 2009