We investigate the difference between ESD mats and anti-static matting

What’s the difference between ESD mats and anti-static matting?

ESD mats and anti-static mats for the workplace are both conductive products. This means that both, anti-static and ESD mats, dissipate electrical energy into the floor and thus prevent static discharge or even shock.

What is ESD and how is ESD created?

ESD stands for electrostatic discharge ( ESD ).

ESD is the sudden release of electricity between two electrically charged objects. Electron transfer from one surface to another can result from walking, rubbing or sliding on a material.

Static electricity can arise, for example, when we simply walk on a carpet or come into contact with another person’s clothing. We touch a metal doorknob and get, ouch, a knock sometimes! Many surfaces conduct static electricity and that needs to be controlled. We cannot see the transfer of electricity, it is an invisible threat.

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What are the dangers of ESD (electrostatic discharge)?

Manufacturing facilities where electronic parts are produced, or data centres where mainframes are located, have to pay particular attention to the control of electrostatic discharge, as it can lead to considerable, often permanent damage.

Not only do electronic components need to be protected; even employees need protection from electrostatic discharge.

There is also a risk of flammable materials such as chemicals or gases igniting if hit by an electrical spark.

Why are ESD mats and anti-static mats important?

A static shock may not seem to be so severe at first glance, everyone is familiar with the experience of receiving a small electric shock after walking across carpet. Certainly unpleasant, but hardly a major concern, is it?

However, sensitive components and control groups in electronics can be damaged or destroyed. This can lead to far greater damage if these elements fail during operation or supply incorrect signals.

esd mat

And the effects that can occur as a result of a spark during a static discharge can be far more dramatic. In environments with gases or highly flammable solvents, this can lead to the burning of the solvents or even to explosions.

Even a small electric shock can have fatal consequences. Did you know that the explosion that led to the famous Hindenburg air disaster was caused by an electrostatic discharge?

Conductive floor mats and bench mats are used in industries where static charge could be a problem or cause a fire or explosion. However, they should not be confused with switchboard matting, which protect against the closure of an electrical circuit with the floor.

If you’re unsure about which ESD mat or anti-static workplace mat to opt for, get in touch with our team for more tips and advice.

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What are the differences between ESD mats and anti-static mats?

The terms anti-static and ESD (or Electrostatic Discharge/Discharge) often cause confusion and not only when it comes to workplace mats.

It’s a bit like the zebra and the horse, every zebra is a horse but not every horse is a zebra.

Likewise, every ESD mat is anti-static but not every anti-static mat can be called an ESD mat. Although both terms relate to resistance, there are fundamental differences between the two.

esd mat

How do anti static mats work?

Anti-static mats have a low electrical resistance of between 0.1 and 1000 MegaOhm (MΩ). The use of anti-static matting prevents the build-up of electrostatic charge in the body by dissipating this charge and thus prevents a sudden discharge between electrically charged objects on contact.

Anti-static mats work by dissipating static electricity to prevent damage to sensitive electronic equipment or to protect individuals working in environments where static discharge could cause harm. These mats are typically made from materials that conduct electricity, allowing the static charge to flow through the mat and safely disperse into the ground.

They often feature a conductive layer that channels the static electricity away from the surface where sensitive electronics or people are situated. By providing a controlled path for the static charge to discharge, anti-static mats help in maintaining a neutral electrostatic environment, reducing the risk of static shocks, and safeguarding against potential damage to electronic components.

How does an ESD mat work?

ESD flooring or ESD table top mats have a low upper limit for electrical resistance between 0.1 and 100 MΩ. The use of them prevents the build-up of electrostatic charge in the body through a safe and very controlled discharge of the charge. They guarantee the suppression of sudden electrical discharge between electrically charged objects on contact.

Take a look at our range of ESD and anti-static mats.

An ESD (Electrostatic Discharge) mat, functions as a controlled grounding surface to prevent the buildup and discharge of static electricity that can damage sensitive electronic components or harm individuals in an environment where electrostatic discharge is a concern.

These mats are typically made of a specialised material that conducts electricity. They often have a top layer made of a dissipative material and a bottom layer that is conductive. When an electronic device or component is placed on the mat, any static charge that accumulates on the device is safely discharged through a grounding point, usually a grounding wire connected to the mat or an earth ground.

The dissipative surface of the mat helps to control the rate at which the static charge is neutralized, ensuring a slow and controlled discharge that prevents sudden surges of electricity. This controlled dissipation protects sensitive electronics from potential damage caused by static discharge.

Additionally, ESD mats are often used in conjunction with wrist straps or other grounding devices worn by individuals working with sensitive electronics. These mats create a static-safe work area by providing a controlled path for static electricity to flow to the ground, safeguarding both equipment and personnel from the harmful effects of electrostatic discharge.

Where and how are ESD mats used?

Many working environments involve risks, which is exactly why ESD mats and accessories for floors or workbenches are indispensable. These products contribute to the efficient control of ESD, especially for the protection of sensitive components and workers.

ESD mats redirect the static charge to the floor, but must either be ‘static-dissipative’ or ‘conductive’ and also be earthed by ESD accessories such as shoe earthing straps, wristbands and coiled cables in order to be effective.

ESD mats

High quality ergonomic ESD mats from COBA Europe

Our ESD range includes ESD mats for various requirements and working environments.

COBAstat: Single-layer ESD workplace mat

Our COBAstat mat is a simple solution for standing workstations where ESD protection is also required. This PVC foam mat offers anti fatigue benefits, is suitable for dry workplaces and has been tested to EN14041 resistance requirements.

Senso Dial: Hard wearing ESD mat for a wide range of working environments

This ESD anti fatigue mat has an SBR / NBR surface, which makes Senso Dial very resistant and also has a resistance to oils and fats. The checker plate surface ensures more slip resistance. The bottom is made of foamed EPDM and offers very good anti-fatigue properties.

COBAelite ESD: Excellent anti-fatigue mat for ESD protection

COBAelite ESD is grounded via a 10 mm male stud fitted to the mat. The surface structure of this ergonomic workplace mat ensures optimal standing comfort. The polyurethane mat meets or exceeds IEC61340-5-1 resistance requirements and is fire tested to BS EN 13501-1 Class Efl – s1.

Deckplate Anti-Static: Durable anti-fatigue mat for statically sensitive workplaces

This particularly hard-wearing anti-fatigue mats surface is made of vinyl and is resistant to many industrial chemicals. The underside is made of PVC foam and gives Deckplate excellent ergonomic properties. Unlike many other products, the top and bottom are not glued, but fusion bonded, which increases the lifespan of the mat. The diamond profile provides additional slip resistance.

ESD and Anti static Matting

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We offer site surveys throughout the UK and Europe, often accompanying our distributors. Our experienced sales team will visit your premises in order to assess your specific working environment and associated risk factors. Using this information we will then be able to recommend the most effective floor level safety solutions

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ESD and Anti static workplace mats

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