Have you ever purchased an electrical or computer component and been perplexed as to why we need anti-static bags? Or, to put it another way, how do they operate?

Many electronic components are highly susceptible to electrostatic discharges and may be damaged. Static electricity may severely harm the inside circuitry of components or microprocessors, rendering them useless or “fried.”

Electrostatic discharge protection is for computer boards and delicate electronic components, especially during shipping, handling, and assembly. As a result of this necessity, a whole new class of anti-static packing materials has emerged. With considerable advancements in polymers, a multibillion-dollar packaging sector now exists. These are thin metalized coatings over particularly conductive polyethylene and other laminates. This packaging sector saves the computer and electronic industries hundreds of millions of dollars each year, dwarfing nearly all other industrial and commercial Anti-static abatement businesses.

The most prevalent cause of static electricity accumulation is turbocharging. Turbocharging is a type of contact electrification in which materials become electrically charged because of frictional contact with another substance.

Anti-static bags are frequently coated with a topical anti-static agent to help prevent the generation of static electricity. Anti-static bags with an anti-stat built into the film layers are more trustworthy and cleaner than anti-static bags that have been topically treated. Anti-static characteristics are found on both the interior and exterior of a good bag’s film composition.

warning for sensitive packaging

Static energy can destroy our components. Therefore, Custom Crating and Logistics use anti-static bags to safeguard them. The two most common types of anti-static bags are: 

  • dissipative anti-static bags
  • static shielding bags. 

However, most people call them “anti-static bags.”

Dissipative Anti-static bags:

Pink or black polyethylene plastic is used to make these bags. If the contents of the bag move or anything external rubs against it, the turbocharging effect does not occur, and hence there is no formation of static charge.

Polyethylene plastic might get utilized for more than just baggage in the world of electrical transportation. Polyethylene is used to make polyethylene bubble wrap and poly-foam, which provide an additional layer of protection to your package.

Although these bags are good at preventing static energy buildup, they do not protect electronic components from direct static discharge. As a result, they should be used only on parts that aren’t affected by static rushes but may get exposed to an environment where a static discharge might injure more sensitive components. 

Static-shielding bag: 

These bags are more heavy-duty and bulky than dissipative anti-static bags since they are made up of numerous layers of various materials. The electronics within static-shielding bags are shielded from direct electrostatic discharge and static energy accumulation by simulating a Faraday cage effect. Static-shielding bags are utilized to protect sensitive gadgets from electrostatic discharge. 

The first and inner layer of the bag is made of dissipative polyethylene material. Dissipative polythene material is also used in dissipative bags. This layer provides a pleasant surface for the electronic component to sit on while also reducing static electricity caused by component movement.

The bag’s second (middle) layer is made of aluminum, which offers a layer of protection against electrostatic discharges. This layer also acts as a conductor, securely taking a direct static charge and grounding it, ensuring that the contents within the bag are safe.

This bag’s third (outer) layer is made of polyester. It has a dissipative coating similar to that found on polyethylene plastic. This layer is utilized to give an additional layer of protection to the bag and its contents by protecting the middle layer and preventing static charge accumulation on the bag’s outside.

Metalized Shielding Bag: 

A metal film is either integrated into the bag film composition or deposited over an existing layer in metalized shielding bags. This metal film serves as an electrical buffer against discharges from the bag’s outside. An ESD event often spread out along the outer surface of the metal film depending on: 

  • the energy of discharge
  • length of the discharge
  • the thickness of the metal film.

Charge current from the ESD event is limited to the outside (outside surface) of the metal film if entirely enclosed, that is, if the bag is shut, creating an area of no electrostatic fields within the bag, so safeguarding the contents within. Using metalized shielding bags, conductive bags, and a conductive tote box with a cover, the Faraday Cage Effect is a common way of regulating ESD.

For tiny portions, both internal and exterior resistances are more than 2 Mohms. Researchers even pierced them to determine whether their interiors were conductive, but they are unsure if their test penetrated the plastic’s inner layer (if there is one). In any case, the outcome was identical to that of the outside layers.

The anti-static substance is get coated on both sides of the anti-static bag, which we verified at our plant. The resistance is 1011 on the inside and outside. Metal-in Static Shielding Films are for items that need to be safeguarded against electrostatic discharge (ESD). Static shielding bags have qualities that protect electronic devices and assemblies from electrostatic discharge (ESD) while also preventing charge accumulation on the bag, which might harm ESD-sensitive electronics and components.

metalized shielding bag

Working of Anti-static Packaging: 

To demonstrate the functioning of an anti-static bag that stores and transports finished boards and electrical components, you’ll need: 

  • A tonal electrostatic voltmeter, or TESV
  • Numerous anti-static bags large enough to cover the TESV positioned on a tripod
  • A Plastic tube or rod
  • A Rubbing Cloth. 
  • A Teflon, Nylon, or PVC pipe will work nicely with wool or silk fabric.

Mount the TESV on a tripod, switch it on and zero the instrument to prevent any movement while it is in use. Charge a plastic rod by rubbing it with the cloth and placing it near the TESV’s detecting head. The gadget will demonstrate the presence of an electrostatic charge.

When the TESV is covered with one of the anti-static bags, it reports little or no charge when the experiment is repeated. The TESV provides no charge signal even when the charged conducting item discharges straight to the bag. The conductive bag covers the TESV from the electrostatic field, which is the only explanation.

Even though the instrument is not linked to the ground, the bag protects it. The anti-static bag would have been more cumbersome and inefficient if it had been necessary to ground it to make it operate. Electric charge only exists on the exterior surface of the conductive substance and does not penetrate inside or into any space encompassed by the conductive material. Hence, grounding is not required. The charge is only held harmlessly on the outside of the ungrounded bag.

It also eliminates the need to remove a delicate component from the bag. The touch of a person’s hand with the bag grounds the bag and drains the charge from its surface. If the user were to remove the component from the packaging while wearing an insulated glove, the item would generate an electric spark and may get destroyed.

Commercially accessible anti-static and static shielding materials are available in any size or shape. MIL requirements or the rate of charge dissipation are typical specifications, as are abrasion resistance, thickness, and other factors. Because the charge cannot pass through the bag, some advertising refers to their anti-static bags as Faraday cages.

Another option is an anti-static bag of conductive polyethylene film rather than a metal layer. According to the manufacturer, the packaging can dissipate 5 kV in 2 seconds. Although the electric charge dissipates in practice, the voltage is much easier to measure and is proportional to the potential difference for a given capacitance design.

Anti-static compounds only prevent static energy from accumulating. Because the material can neither create nor store a triboelectric charge, it cannot act as a carrier for static in a static-controlled environment. Electrostatic discharge is not protected by these materials (ESD). Non-static sensitive items used in electronics production, such as nuts and bolts or instructions, are packaged in anti-static bags. When most people think of anti-static bags, they think of pink polyethylene bags. Pink Poly anti-static bags should never be used alone to protect electronic components from electrostatic discharge.

anti static packaging

Use of Anti-static Packaging: 

Anti-static bags can be used to transport both static-sensitive and non-static-sensitive components into a static-sensitive environment. Anti-static bags are suitable for the shipping, packing, and keeping of ESD-sensitive objects since they serve firms with sophisticated electronics and even military-grade electronics.

Benefits of Anti-static Packaging: 

more packaging…great

Anti-static bags are a low-cost technique of shielding electrical gadgets, and they are physically protective and puncture-resistant when made thick enough. When used together, anti-static and conductive packaging is critical for the safety of your electrical equipment and those around you. Static charges can ignite other objects, resulting in harm. Devices are protected from damage during storage, shipping, and sale with anti-static and black conductive wrapping.

So, what exactly do you require? It all depends on the items you’re sending and where you’re sending them. All electronic components (circuit boards, hard drives, sound cards, and so on) must be packed in materials that fulfill the extreme criteria of MIL-PRF-81705, a static shielding material, according to the US military. You can get away with the pink poly, anti-static material if you’re not transporting or storing electronic components or anything that might get harmed by static. But your products may get delivered to a static-controlled region.

So, here you have it, a quick guide to anti-static packaging, and it’s working! Contact Custom Crating and Logistics for the best advice on ensuring total storage and transit protection for all your products. 

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