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ShadowFX™ SDC Patterns

ESD Carpet Tile in Electronics Manufacturing and 24/7 Extreme Duty Environments. Superior Performance and Lower Cost of Ownership than Armstrong® SDT™

Taken at Annapolis Microwave in Maryland

The idea of using carpet tiles for floorcovering in electronics manufacturing began in the early 1990s. The perceived benefits of carpet tile over conventional hard surface flooring like vinyl and epoxy were:

  • Installs for less than SDT
  • Sound absorption
  • Anti-fatigue properties
  • Vacuuming and extraction cleaning are less costly than washing, waxing and buffing
  • Maintenance: 1/3 the annual cost of maintaining SDT
  • Releasable and movable tiles allow easy repair and reuse of tiles
  • Superior grounding of drag chains and carts due to carpet’s low contact resistance surface.
  • Superior control of walking body voltage over ESD vinyl and epoxy

In the late 1990s, corporations like Teradyne, Lucent, Nortel, RIM, Motorola, Cisco and Solectron installed many 1000s of square feet of carpet tile in PCB manufacturing areas, test departments, final assembly as well as box build areas. Periodic vacuuming and yearly extraction cleaning offered a much lower cost of ownership than hard surface flooring. Additionally carpet tile installations were far less costly than hard surface floors because carpet tiles didn’t require nearly as much subfloor repair and preparation. Many of these installations remain in place today.

The problem with carpet tile: Traffic patterns are visible on carpet

There was one drawback to carpet tile and in many cases it outweighed carpet tile’s otherwise numerous advantages; after two to three years of use, carpet tiles exposed to chair casters and heavy traffic looked different than adjacent tiles due to pile crush. The main contributor to this problem was the yarn systems used to make ESD carpet tile. All of these systems were either a solid, slightly mottled colors or linear patterns with lines running directionally through them. Because carpet tiles appear seamless, like one large continuous floor, worn areas stuck out like a coffee stain on a white shirt.

The solution: Learning from nature.

With the launch of Entropy® tile in early 2000, Interface®, the inventor of carpet tile introduced i2, a new design platform that revolutionized the way manufacturers, designers and end-users look at modular carpet.

Relying on the concept of biomimicry - the study and imitation of nature’s best ideas to solve human problems – i2 tiles were created to mimic the organic design of nature. Rather than make each tile the same, they vary in patterning and coloring within one style and colorway. This all but eliminates the ability to observe pile crush variations or other forms of wear between tiles. Because there’s no need to worry about matching dye lots, you need less attic stock and selective replacement is even more effective. Replacement and worn tiles are almost indistinguishable from older original tiles in the same installation. In 2010, Staticworx brought the i2 concept to a whole new level. In conjunction with Interface, Staticworx launched an ANSI/ESD S20.20 compliant version of i2 utilizing i2 style and innovation. This new variation on a long proven concept is called ShadowFX SD.

Like many standard i2 styles, ShadowFX SDC Patterns offer the added benefit of non-directional installation, meaning that tiles can be laid in any order or orientation. With no set pattern to maintain and no need to align tiles in a certain direction, there is significantly less installation waste. In fact, the average ShadowFX non-directional installation produces only 1.5% waste versus an average of 14% for other carpet styles. That means more of your floorcovering investment is on your floor, not in a dumpster. And the best part – ShadowFX SD can be installed glueless as a floating over any hard surface at half the cost of expensive high maintenance interlocking vinyl tiles.

Why all the fuss about carpet being too conductive? It's simple. It's about responsibility, liability, understanding OSHA safety guidelines and meeting a professional standard of care. Since 2005, standards organizations and grounding guidelines have required a static dissipative ohms rating for carpet.


Available Styles

Forest Floor

Santa Fe Sunset

Lake Tahoe

Appalachian Trail
Note to Spec Writers
X/Y = MR = Industry Recognized Metric
Learn why Modification Ratio defines durability, appearance and performance

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Resulting electrical current allowed

Staticworx ShadowFx Static Dissipative Carpet Tile as compared to Conductive Carpet Tile with PVC-free Backing

Source:"How Electrical Current Affects the Human Body." OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) web site (

View PDF file.

Resources/Technical Info