Fundamentals of Electrostatic Discharge, Part 6

Part 6: ESD Standards

2001, ESD Association, Rome NY

The electronics industry is continually shifting. Device density and technology is more complex. Electronics manufacturing is more heavily reliant on out-sourcing. The ESD industry seems to have jumped into this swirling eddy headfirst. ESD control programs have mushroomed. Black has been replaced by green, blue, and gold. Shielding bags dominate the warehouse. Ionizers exist along side wrist straps, and ground cords. An early history of “smoke and mirrors”, magic and lofty claims of performance is rapidly and safely being relegated to the past.

Today, more than ever, meeting the complex challenge of reducing ESD losses requires more than reliance on faith alone. Users require a way to legitimately evaluate and compare competing brands and types of products. They need objective confirmation that their ESD control program provides effective solutions to their unique ESD problems. Contract manufacturers and OEM’s require mutually agreed-upon ESD control programs that reduce duplication of process controls.

That’s where standards come into play. They provide guidance in developing programs that effectively address ESD process control. They help define the sensitivity of the products manufactured and used. They help define the performance requirements for various ESD control materials, instruments and tools. Standards are playing an ever-increasing role in reducing marketplace confusion in the manufacture, evaluation, and selection of ESD control products and programs.

The Who and Why of Standards

Who uses ESD Standards? Manufacturers and users of ESD sensitive devices and products, manufacturers and distributors of ESD control products, certification registrars, and third party testers of ESD control products.

Why use ESD Standards? They help assure consistency of ESD sensitive products and consistency of ESD control products and services. They provide a means of objective evaluation and comparison among competitive ESD control products. They help in developing, implementing, auditing, and certifying ESD control programs. And, they help reduce confusion in the marketplace.

In the United States, the use of standards in voluntary, although their use can be written into contracts or purchasing agreements between buyer and seller. In most of the rest of the world, the use of standards, where they exist, is compulsory.

Key Standards and Organizations

Just 20 years ago, there were relatively few reliable ESD standards and few ESD standards development organizations. Today’s ESD standards landscape is not only witnessing an increase int he number of standards, but also increasing cooperation among the organizations that develop them.

Today’s standards fall into three main groups. First, there are those that provide ESD program guidance or requirements. These include documents such as ANSI ESD S20.20-1999–Standard of the Development of an ESD Control Program, ANSI/ESD S8.1-ESD Awareness Symbols, or ESD TR20.20 ESD Handbook.

A second group covers requirements for specific products or procedures such as packaging or grounding. Typical standards in this group are ANSI/ESD S6.1- Grounding or ESD S11.11 for Shielding Bags.

A third group of documents covers the standardized test methods used to evaluate products and materials. Historically, the electronics industry relied heavily on test methods established for other industries or even other materials (e.g., ASTM-257-DC Resistance or Conductance of Insulating Materials). Today, however, specific test method standards focus on ESD in the electronics environment, largely as a result of the ESDAssociation’s activity. These include standards such as ESD S5.1- Device Testing, Human Body Model and ANSI/ESD S7.1: Floor Materials — Resistive Characterization to cite just a few.

Who Develops Standards?

Standards development and usage is a cooperative effort among all organizations and individuals affected by standards. There are several key ESD standards development organizations.

Military Standards

Traditionally, the U.S. Military spearheaded the development of specific standards and specifications with regard to ESD control in the U.S. today, however, U.S. Military agencies are taking a less proactive approach, relying on commercially developed standards rather than developing standards themselves. For example, the ESD Association completed the assignment from the Department of Defense to convert MIL-STD-1686into a commerical standard.

ESD Association

The ESD Association has been a focal point for the development of ESD standards in recent years. An ANSI-accredited standards development organization, the Association is charged with the development of ESD standards and test methods. The Association also represents the US on the International Electrotechnical Commission Technical Committee 101-Electrostatics.

The ESD Association has published 26 standards documents  and 9 technical reports. These voluntary standards cover the areas of material requirements, electrostatic sensitivity, and test methodology for evaluating ESD control materials and products. In addition to standards documents, the Association also publishes a number of informational advisories.

ESD Association Standards Classifications and Definitions

There are four types of ESD Association standards documents with specific clarity of definition. The four document categories are consistent with other standards development organizations. These four  categories are defined below.

Standard: A precise statement of a set of requirements to be satisfied by a material, product, system or process that also specifies the procedures for determining whether each of the requirements is satisfied.

Standard Test Method: A definitive procedure for the identification, measurement, and evaluation of one or more qualities, characteristics or properties of a material, product, system or process that yields a reproducible test result.

Standard Practice: A procedure for performing one or more operations or functions that may or may not yield a test result. Note: If a test result is obtained, it may not be reproducible between labs.

Technical Report: A collection of technical data or test results published as an informational reference on a specific material, product, system, or process.

As new documents are approved and issued, they will be designated into one of these four new categories. Existing documents are being reviewed and will be reclassified as appropriate.

International Standards

The international  community, led by the European-based International Electrotechnical Commission, has also climbed on board the standards express. Europe’s CENELEC has issued a European electrostatic standard EN100015- Protection of Electrostatic Sensitive Devices that was adopted as a European Norm. Additional work by the IEC too will result in a comprehensive series of standards that may someday be the successor to EN100015.

Japan also has released its proposed version of a national electrostatic Standard, which also shares the many aspects of the European and U.S. documents.

Organizational Cooperation

Perhaps one of the more intriguing changes in the ESD standards has been the organizational cooperation developing between various groups. One cooperative effort was between the ESD Association and the U.S. Department of Defense, which resulted in the Association preparing ANSI/ESD S20.20 as a successor to MIL-STD-1686.

Internationally, European standards development organizations and the ESD Association have developed working relationships that result in an expanded review of proposed documents, greater imput, and closer harmonization of standards that impact the international electronics community.

For users of ESD Standards, this increased cooperation will have a significant impact. First, we should see fewer conflicts between different standards. Finally, we should see less duplication of effort.


For the electronics community, the rapid propagation of ESD standards and continuing change in the standards environment mean greater availability of the technical references that will help improve ESD control programs. There will be recommendations to help set up effective programs. There will be test methods and specifications to help users of ESD control materials evaluate and select products that are applicable to their specific needs. And there will be guidelines for vendors of ESD products and materials to help them develop products that meet the real needs of their customers.

Principle ESD Standards

U.S. Military/Department of Defense

MIL-STD-1686C: Electrostatic Discharge Control Program for Protection of Electrical and Electronic Parts, Assemblies and Equipment (Excluding Electrically Initiated Explosive Devices)

This military standard establishes requirements for ESD Control Programs. It applies to U.S. military agencies, contractors, subcontractors, suppliers and vendors. It requires the establishment, implementation and documentation of ESDcontrol programs for static sensitive devices, but does NOT mandate or preclude the use of any specific ESD control materials, products, or procedures. It is being updated and converted to a commerical standard by the ESD Association. Although DOD has accepted the new ANSI/ESD S20.20 document as a successor, it has not yet taken action to cancel SRD-1686.

MIL-HBDK-263B: Electrostatic Discharge Control Handbook for Protection of Electrical and Electronic Parts, Assemblies and Equipment (Excluding Electrically Initiated Explosive Devices)

This Document provides guidance, but NOT mandatory requirements, for the establishment and implementation of an electrostatic discharge control program in accordance with the requirements of MIL-STD-1686

MIL-PRF 87893-Workstation, Electrostatic Discharge (ESD) Control

This document defines requirements for ESD protective workstations

MIL-B-81705- Barrier Materials, Flexible, Electrostatic Protective, Heat Sealable

This document defines the requirements for ESD protective flexible packaging materials

MIL-STD-129-Marking for Shipment and Storage

Covers procedures for marketing and labeling ESD sensitive items


EN100015: Protection of Electrostatic Sensitive Devices

Adopted in 1992 and 1993, this European Norm covers ESD handling practices for electronic devices.

ESD Association

Standards Documents

ESD S1.1-1998: Evaluation, Acceptance, and Functional Testing of Wrist Straps

A successor to EOS/ESD S1.0, this document establishes test methods for evaluating the electrical and mechanical characteristics of wrist straps. It includes improved test methods and performance limits for evaluation, acceptance, and functional testing of wrist straps.

ESD STM2.1-1997: Resistance Test Method for Electrostatic Discharge Protective Garments

This Standard Test Method provides test methods for measuring the electrical resistance of garments used to control electrostatic discharge. It covers procedures for measuring sleeve-to-sleeve and point-to-point resistance.

ESD STM3.1-2000: Ionization

Test methods and procedures for evaluating and selecting air ionization equipment and systems are covered in this standard. The document establishes measurement techniques to determine ion balance and charge neutralization time for ionizers.

ESD SP3.3-2000: Periodic Verification of Air Ionizers

This Standard Practice provides test methods and procedures for periodic verification of the performance of air ionization equipment and systems (ionizers).

ESD S4.1-1997 (Revised): Worksurfaces- Resistance Measurements

This Standard establishes test methods for measuring the electrical resistance of worksurface materials used at workstations for protection of ESD susceptible items. It includes methods for evaluating and selecting materials, and testing new worksurface installations and previously installed worksurfaces.

ESD STM4.2-1998: Worksurfaces- Charge Dissipation Characteristics

This Standard Test Method provides a test method to measure the electrostatic charge dissipation characteristics of worksurfaces used for ESD control. The procedure is designed for use in a laboratory environment for qualification, evaluation or acceptance of worksurfaces.

ESD STM5.1-1998 Revised: Electrostatic Discharge Sensitivity Testing– Human Body Model

This Standard Test Method updates and revises an existing Standard. It establishes a procedure for testing, evaluating, and classifying the ESD sensitivity of components to the defined Human Body Model (HBM).

ESD STM5.2-1999 (Revised): Electrostatic Discharge Sensitivity Testing– Machine Model

This Standard establishes a test procedure for evaluating the ESD sensitivity of components to a defined Machine Model (MM). It also provides a system of classifying the sensitivity of these components. The component damage caused by the Machine Model is often similar to that caused by the Human Body Model, but it occurs at a significantly lower voltage.

ESD STM5.3-1999: Electrostatic Discharge Sensitivity Testing- Charged Device Model–Non-Socketed Mode

This Standard Test Method establishes a test method for evaluating the ESD sensitivity of active and passive components to a defines Charged Device Model (CDM).

ESD S6.1-1999: Grounding– Recommended Practice

This Standard recommends the parameters, procedures, and types of materials needed to establish an ESD grounding system for the protection of electronic hardware from ESD damage. This system is used for personnel grounding devices, worksurfaces, chairs, carts, floors, and other related equipment.

ANSI ESD S7.1-1994: Floor Materials– Resistive Characterization of Materials

Measurement of the electrical resistance of various floor materials such as floor coverings, mats, and floor finishes is covered in this document. It provides test methods for qualifying floor materials before installation or application and for evaluating and monitoring materials after installation or application.

ANSI ESD S8.1-1993: ESD Awareness Symbols

Three types of ESD awareness symbols are established by this document. The first one is to be used on a device or assembly to indicate that it is susceptible to electrostatic charge. The second is to be used on items and materials intended to provide electrostatic protection. The third symbol indicates the common point ground.

ESD S9.1-1995: Resistive Characterization of Footwear

This Standard defines a test method for measuring the electrical resistance of shoes used for ESD control in the electronics environment.

ESD SP10.1-2000: Automated Handling Equipment

This Standard Practice provides procedures for evaluating the electrostatic environment associated with automated handling equipment.

ANSI ESD 11.11-1993: Surface Resistance Measurement of Static Dissipative Planar Materials

This Standard Test Method provides test methods for measuring the volume resistance of static dissipative planar materials used in the packaging of ESD sensitive devices and components.

ANSI ESD S11.31-1994: Evaluating the Performance of Electrostatic Discharge Shielding Bags

This Standard provides a method for testing and determining the shielding capabilities of electrostatic shielding bags.

ESD STM12.1-1997: Seating- Resistive Characterization

This Standard provides test methods for measuring the electrical resistance of seating used to control ESD. The test method can be used for qualification testing as well as for evaluating and monitoring seating after installation. It covers all types of seating, including chairs and stools.

ESD STM13.1-2000: Electrical Soldering/Desoldering Hand Tools

This Standard Test Method provides electric soldering/desoldering hand tool test methods for measuring the electrical leakage and tip to ground reference point resistance and provides parameters for EOS safe soldering operation.

ANSI ESD S20.20-1999: Standard for the Development of an ESD Control Program

This Standard provides administrative, technical requirements and guidance for establishing, implementing and maintaining an ESD Control Program.

ESD STM97.1-1999: Floor Materials and Footwear- Resistance in Combination with a Person.

This Standard Test Method provides for measuring the electrostatic voltage on a person in combination with floor materials and footwear, as a system.

Advisory Documents

Advisory Documents and Technical Reports are not Standards, but provide general information for the industry or additional information to aid in better understanding of Association Standards.

ESD ADV1.0-1994: Glossary of Terms

Definitions and explanations of various terms used in Association Standards and documents are covered in this advisory. It also includes other terms commonly used in the ESD industry.

ESD ADV3.2-1995: Selection and Acceptance of Air Ionizers

This Advisory document provides end users with guidelines for creating a performance specification for selecting air ionization systems. It reviews four types of air ionizers and discusses applications, test method references, and general design, performance and safety requirements.

ESD ADV11.2-1995: Triboelectric Charge Accumulation Testing

The complex phenomenon of triboelectric charging is discussed in this Advisory. it covers the theory and effects of tribocharging. It reviews procedures and problems associated with various test methods that are often used to evaluate triboelectrification characteristics. The test methods reviewed indicate gross levels of charge and polarity, but are not necessarily repeatable in real world situations.

ESD ADV53.1-1995: Triboelectric Charge Accumulation Testing

This Advisory document defines the minimum requirements for a basic ESD protective workstation used in ESD sensitive areas. It provides a test method for evaluating and monitoring workstations. It defines workstations as having the following components: support structure, static dissipative worksurface, a means of grounding personnel, and any attached shelving or drawers.

ESD TR20.20: ESD Handbook

New handbook provides detailed guidance for implementing an ESD control program in accordance with ANSI/ESD S20.20.

Sources of Standards

ESD Association, 7900 Turin Road, Building 3, Rome, NY 13440. Phone: 315-339-6937 Fax: 315-339-6793 Web:

HIS Global Engineering Documents, 15 Inverness Way East, Englewood CO 80112. Phone: 800-854-7179 Fax: 303-397-2740 Web:

International Electrotechnical Commission, 3, Rue de Varembe, Case postale 131, 1211 Geneva 20, Switzerland. Fax: 41-22-919-0300 Web: http://www/

Military Standards, Navel Publications and Forms Center, 5801 Tabor Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19120.


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