Category Archives: Tech Brief

PERKASIE, PA – October 20, 2023 – The EOS/ESD Association, Inc. (ESDA) has announced that Electro-Tech Systems, Inc. (ETS) has become the first company to achieve its Product Qualification Laboratory Certification.

This certification is awarded to companies that meet the stringent requirements for establishing, implementing, and maintaining an electrostatic discharge (ESD) product qualification laboratory. ETS’s laboratory has been audited and verified to meet the requirements of ANSI/ESD S20.20 standards, which ensure that ESD product qualification measurements on materials and control items are conducted in a consistent and accurate manner.

Electro-Tech Systems, Inc. (ETS) Achieves First Product Qualification Laboratory Certification from EOS/ESD Association

“We are pleased to have worked with ETS and are excited for their achievement to certification, especially since they are the first to be certified,” said Lisa Pimpinella, Executive Director of ESDA. “Our field experts are very thorough and hold high standards, so achieving this certification speaks volumes. Congratulations to ETS!”

ETS’s certification covers the following ANSI/ESD Standard Test Methods:

  • ANSI/ESD STM2.1–2018 – Garments – Resistive Characterization
  • ANSI/ESD STM3.1–2015 – Ionization
  • ANSI/ESD STM4.1–2017 – Worksurfaces – Resistive Measurements
  • ANSI/ESD STM7.1–2020 – Floor Systems – Resistive Characterization
  • ANSI/ESD STM9.1–2022 – Footwear and Foot Grounders – Resistive Characterization
  • ANSI/ESD STM11.11–2022 – Surface Resistance Measurements of Planar Materials
  • ANSI/ESD STM11.12–2021 – Volume Resistance Measurements of Planar Materials
  • ANSI/ESD STM11.13–2021 – Two-Point Resistance Measurement
  • ANSI/ESD STM11.31–2018 – Evaluating the Performance of Electrostatic Discharge Shielding Materials – Bags
  • ANSI/ESD STM12.1–2019 – Seating – Resistance Measurements
  • ANSI/ESD STM97.1-2015 – Footwear/Flooring System – Resistance Measurement in Combination with a Person
  • ANSI/ESD STM97.2-2016 – Footwear/Flooring System – Voltage Measurement in Combination with a Person

“This certification stands as an independent validation, attesting to ETS’s unwavering commitment to upholding the highest standards in executing ANSI/ESD Standard Test Methods,” said Troy Anthony, President of ETS. “ETS prides itself on its professional approach across every facet of its operations, including procedure, environmental conditions, equipment, and its dedicated personnel.”

Achieving this certification is a significant accomplishment that demonstrates ETS’s commitment to providing high-quality ESD testing services. It also gives companies global recognition in the industry and confidence in their services.

For more information about ETS’s ESD testing services, please visit their website at www.electrotechsystems.com.

Electro-Tech Systems, Inc. has operated the largest Independent ESD Testing Laboratory in North America for the past 40 years performing thousands of tests for a wide variety of customers and industries. As a part of our continuing efforts to improve, we have been working diligently to improve our customer capabilities and fulfill ISO accreditation requirements, including:

  • Guaranteeing traceability of our test standards
  • Maintaining data records such as test reports and calibration certificates
  • Budgeted measurement uncertainty calculations

We are pleased to announce as of August 22, 2022, ETS is fully ISO 17025 Accredited.  This allows us to better meet the ever-changing requirements of our existing and future customers by ensuring our team delivers quality and accurate results with a commitment to impartiality that ensures results can be trusted.

In addition to ESD Testing of materials, devices and systems, our Laboratory calibrates and repairs ETS equipment and now offers calibration of products manufactured or supplied by other companies in the ESD Industry.

For additional information about Testing or Calibration please contact the ETS Testing Center at Service@ets2.com

Peanut Powder[/caption]

Powders can pose an ESD hazard if they are unable to be properly grounded. The particles in some powders can collide with each other during the mixing or pouring of the powder in the same manner that particles in a raincloud can collide, triboelectrically charging the mass until a high enough electrical potential is reached that a discharge becomes inevitable. A discharge from such powders has been known to ignite flammable powders or the solvents in which they are mixed. One way to mitigate this risk is through additives which can reduce the volume resistivity of the powders and allow them to be more easily grounded. A volume resistivity test on powders provides an objective measurement of the electrostatic characteristics of the powder.

In short, making a powder more conductive can make it less hazardous, because it can be grounded, reducing the amount of charge on the particles. In food products, such as Peanut Powder, there are other risks associated with Electrostatic hazards. For example, a charged object will often move when in the presence of charges at the same polarity. This can create movement during manufacturing, which can lead to waste. This may not seem like a dangerous or hazardous problem, but it can cost a considerable amount of money. Likewise, a statically charged powder can stick to surfaces and can be considerably more difficult to clean. It does not require much imagination to see why this could be a problem in the food industry. The ETS Test Lab tests powders like these an many more.  If you have a powder and a potential static issue, contact our ETS team of experts.

Introducing the new M 5504, the next generation of compact environmental chambers offered exclusively by Electro-Tech Systems. At 24” x 18” x 15“ the M 5504 o­ffers a comfortable working space of 3.25 Cubic feet (92 Liters) and features a new much larger 12” x 18” door. The new accessibility of a larger door is complimented by 6″ ports which can be configured to utilize gloves or iris ports.

The M 5504 offers improved configurability with accompanying systems as well. The compact chamber can be set up as basic glovebox or, when integrated with ETS operating systems, an environment with complete humidity & temperature control. Pair the M 5504 with the recently upgraded M 5482 humidification system for up to 95% humidity, or add one of ETS’ three available dehumidification systems to expand that range all the way down to 5% RH. A new thermoelectric heating and cooling system improves the chambers temperature range to a wide 10ºC to 55ºC.

O­ffered in a variety of packages the 5504 is the ideal glovebox for small applications with critical environment requirements.

Quality and Assurance   

Electro Tech Systems Lab Services can save you a lot of headaches and money down the road. Often a company will purchase or manufacture a material under the impression that it is ESD safe. Even if this has been an established supplier with a long-time relationship it is still worth testing the material from time to time. The suppliers themselves are encouraged to have their products tested periodically to ensure that what they are producing is still meeting the standards they set forth. Checking ESD material from suppliers helps confirm that over time quality hasn’t degraded or help spot a faulty batch. This QA not only helps maintain the credibility of your company but helps avoid any liability actions that could come from consequently using noncompliant materials. A simple periodic lab check could protect you from future disaster.   

ETS evaluates the electrostatic characteristics of materials and products using resistance/resistivity, static decay, static shielding and triboelectric test methods. Tests are performed at ambient or controlled-environment conditions, and ETS’ facilities include microprocessor-controlled humidity chambers and a controlled environment room. ETS tests a broad range of products across various industries some examples are; 

Materials & Products; 

Liquids and Powders , Flooring , Fuel Systems , ESD Packaging , Seating, Workstation, & Garments

Industries; 

Automotive , Bio-Medical , Pharmaceutical, Industrial , Semiconductors, Aerospace, Plastics

Standards and Expertise   

ETS is a leader in ESD expertise and can perform testing using many standards or test methods (ie; IEC, ANSI/ESD, MIL, ASTM). Having an independent third-party lab such as ETS test the products can help to mediate disputes between organizations with reliable results.  If it is important for your company to ensure that your product or supply meets the needs of the industry, our experts and guidance are available.  Product qualification usually requires third party testing before releasing a product on the market.  

Unusual or unexpected issues in the field may require some experience with unique situations, and ETS can help with that.  This particular specialization is considered to be somewhat of a niche, so there are very few experts available who have encountered certain problems. Companies often cannot explain static buildup, unusual discharges, and ESD hazards that may be uncommon or come from unusual sources.  ETS offers consulting to help solve these problems in the form of video calls or in-person facility visits and measurements. Education and training sessions are also available. 

To find out more about what services we offer to help you solve these and many other problems, click here to visit our testing services page. 

Working with industry leads such as Dia-Stron, ETS continues to expand and improve the features and functions of the Model 5533 Controlled Environment Chamber.

“When testing the mechanical properties of single hair and natural fibres, which are susceptible to changes in humidity and temperature, the controllable environment of the ETS 5533 ensures accurate, reproducible results for both Dia-Stron and our customers.

By adjusting specific environmental factors, studies can be conducted to investigate how the mechanical properties of fibres are affected by different humidity conditions, and the chamber has also proved useful for our customers to reduce the rate of evaporation of liquid during wet testing by increasing the humidity in the chamber environment.” ~ Dr Rebecca Lunn, Application Manager at Dia-Stron

For 2021, we have upgraded the Humidification System which now produces a particle size less than 5 microns allowing better dispersion and uniformity of humidity levels within the chamber. Additionally, precision cooling to 10C can now be achieved with the selection of the optional 500W Thermoelectric Cooling System allowing a wider temperature range of 10C to 50C. While the standard system meets most requirements, additional options are available that allow fine tuning to meet your specific requirements. Other industry sectors benefitting from the 5533 included University, Cosmetics and Government Research. All ETS systems are designed and manufactured in the USA. For additional information please visit the 5533 Controlled Environment Product Page or contact us at sales@ets2.com.    

 

Throughout the pandemic, a large volume of equipment fell out of calibration as companies experienced financial distress and employees working remotely lost regular access to their labs and equipment.   As business operations recover and staff return to their facilities, the equipment they use on a regular basis may be out of calibration. While the equipment may operate properly in the short-term, the risks and costs begin to grow as time goes on. Equipment must receive preventative maintenance and be calibrated to provide trustworthy data.   

During the pandemic, a customer noticed that two identical environmental sensors calibrated in 2019 showed a difference in humidity reading by the end of 2020.  By mid-2021, the sensors were more than two degrees different. Over time, these two sensors were far enough apart that they begin to cause a severe operational difference. 

In other cases, companies have calibration gaps lasting for decades due to deficient calibration programs or attempts to minimize costs. Despite the obvious gaps, they are often perplexed as to why the “ESD safe” products they manufacture are causing problems or failing to protect their customers’ products. In one instance, a customer had not maintained their equipment since 1983 and could not understand why it failed to operate as intended when they needed it most.   

Deficient product design or manufacturing quality issues resulting from inaccurate data is a risk that most companies cannot afford. Scrap, warranty, recall, loss of business, and liability issues due to out-of-calibration equipment can be enormous.  The solution is to help “vaccinate” your equipment from these issues by ensuring equipment is kept calibrated. 

There is a lot of confusion in the electronics manufacturing industry regarding packaging safety and ESD.  There is an unfortunate tendency among manufacturers to call pink polymer bags “ESD bags,” which is incorrect.  As a result, many circuit boards (and even some energetic materials, such as flammable materials) have been incorrectly packaged.

Pink Anti-Static Bags can dissipate a static charge to ground preventing static charge building up on the package or device within the bags. The material is also antistatic and will not charge up when rubbed against other materials and these bags can be used to safely package/transport your non-ESD sensitive devices within your ESD protected area.  However, it does NOT shield against electrostatic discharge events.  There are bags that are designed to be used for ESD shielding, which are metalized shielded bags or ESD shielded bags.  These are specially designed multilayered bags engineered to prevent a discharge from releasing too much energy into the contents inside the bag.

As an analogy, imagine that packaging a sensitive object in pink poly antistatic bags is like packaging an egg in a pillow and packaging sensitive objects in a shielded bag is like taking that pillow packaged egg and placing it in a steel box. A firm punch could crush the egg in the pillow But when placed in a steel box it will remain unharmed. Likewise, a sensitive object is less likely to experience damage from discharge in a shielded bag than pink polymer packaging.

However, pink polymer material has it’s place for preventing static charge buildup.  From a cost perspective, it is usually less expensive than shielded bags, which is part of the reason why so many organizations prefer it. Some organizations have determined through cost-benefit analysis that the risk of using a pink polymer Anti-static bag is achieving their desired goal of risk reduction without the added cost that comes with using shielded bags.  While this serves a purpose, it should always come with an awareness that these bags are NOT shielding items from a discharge and are serving no risk mitigation if discharges are causing damage on a regular basis.

To make matters worse, it is quite easy to add pink coloring to a polymer film without adding any anti-static elements to the material.  A host of companies around the world have arisen which make counterfeit or low-quality material.  At Electro-Tech Systems, we regularly encounter customers who find that the packaging material they purchased is CAUSING problems rather than reducing the risk of static charge buildup.  This may be due to a bad batch of pink anti-static polymer, or it may be an outright counterfeit material with fraudulent claims. Customers will ask ETS to test this material to see as a part of root cause or to qualify a supplier in the first place.

Furthermore, some anti-static additives are known to have a short shelf-life.  A bag which is tested to be anti-static may lose the anti-static characteristics after a few months.  This obviously poses problems for long term usage.  To complicate matters even further, some companies re-use packaging material several times to reduce cost.

Be aware that a bag with an ESD symbol or logo does not necessarily mean that it is legitimately an anti-static bag.  A good test is to use a wide-range resistance meter and resistance probe, such as the ETS model 871 and ETS model 803B to check if the material is in the dissipative range.

The best risk mitigation efforts should involve the knowledge that:

  • Pink Polymer Antistatic bags are NOT ESD shielded bags.
  • Just because a bag is pink does not mean that it is ESD safe material.
  • Evaluating a supplier of such material should involve determining the resistance or surface resistivity of the material itself, often by using a third-party test lab, such as Electro-Tech Systems for validation.

– Shane Burns, Test Lab Manager at Electro Tech Systems

Tensile and compression testing systems commonly referred to as UTM’s (Universal Testing Machines) are integral in providing reliable data in a modern, cutting-edge laboratory. ETS now provides our customers with a wide array of chamber options. All systems are custom designed to meet the specific requirements of the user providing consistent and accurate testing and data collection.

Systems can include hand access ports, full chamber insulation, a camera view window, software for environmental monitoring and other options. A sliding rail system can also be included to allow the chamber to slide away from the UTM, allowing easy access and fixture changing.

ETS can provide humidity and temperature control individually or in combination. Depending on the specific requirements, our systems can maintain conditioning levels from -40 °C to 80 °C and 10 – 90% RH (RH range will be limited based on the required temperature.) All systems are designed and manufactured in the USA. For additional information visit the M 5502 Environment Control Chamber Series product page or contact us at sales@ets2.com

           

Electrostatic discharge is a constant challenge in the painting industry. Flammable paints are a fire and explosion hazard and static is a constant issue with attracting dust and unwanted particles resulting in blemishes in paint finishes. New ESD Safe materials continue to be developed and shown promise for further protecting against flammable paints that are commonly used. Similar to standards and test methods for ESD flooring and worksurface requirements, these standards can be applied to testing new materials to address this safety and quality issue.

Postal sorting equipment and delivery speed have been a subject of conversation during the recent election and holidays.  However, did you know one of the issues that can disrupt mail processing is static?  Mailer wraps are known to build up electrostatic discharge.  This was first observed with magazines at a post office where the charge became so great that it discharge and damaged electronic sorting equipment.  Since that time, the United States Postal Service required all mailer wraps to undergo performance testing.  This test simulates the operation of mail sorting machinery, while measuring the magnitude of the electrical field. Below a certain voltage threshold, the discharge from the mailer wraps is not harmful, and therefore low-voltages during the test indicate that sorting machines can safely handle packages wrapped in this material.

USPS Postal Packaging ESD Lab Test

ETS is pleased to announce the release of its newly developed Glove Box 8″ Iris Ports.  Iris Ports eliminate the use of bulky gloves when working with delicate instruments in a Glove Box environmental chamber.  ETS designed and manufactured these Iris Ports to be superior to those available in the marketplace today by utilizing the latest in additive manufacturing and materials at our 35,000 square foot facility in Perkasie, Pennsylvania USA.  These new Iris Ports are designed to be more durable, held more securely in place, and more comfortable (17% larger opening) than competing iris ports.

Glovebox Iris Ports for 8″ Ports

Working in cooperation with the engineering team at a premier American multinational technology company, with operations in over 170 countries, ETS is pleased to announce a new S02 H2S HCL Corrosion Noxious Gas Test Chamber.  The Noxious Gas Test Chamber can reproduce damage caused by relative humidity and noxious gas corrosion to material, components, and constructions.  Applications include using the noxious gas test chamber to complete Sulphur Dioxide testing of contacts and connections in accordance with IEC 60068-2-42 test methods and other standards.

M 5500-8483 HCL H2S Test Chamber

M 5500-8483 HCL H2S Test Chamber – Side

 

 

ETS equipment is designed to condition and test the electrostatic parameters of materials. Static discharge is known to cause fires in operating rooms and other environments, which is why performing testing of material used in these environments (gowns, masks, gloves, foot coverings, etc.) is critical to the medical community.  Electro-Tech Systems, Inc. (ETS) of Perkasie, Pennsylvania, USA would like to take this opportunity to explain the application of our test and measurement equipment as it relates to commonly referenced medical industry specifications and test methods.  Please see the Electrostatic Test and Measurement Equipment for Medical Industry Applications 2020 overview of test methods and standards used internationally.

As an essential business that provides manufacturing support to critical instruments serving the medical industry, the federal government and military needs, we are keeping our manufacturing operations running. We are taking all necessary precautions to minimize risk to our employees, clients, partners, and community, all while continuing to maintain excellent service and the highest quality manufactured goods for these critical devices.

December 19, 2019 — ETS is moving January 9th, 2020 to a new bigger, better facility to serve our customers better!

Our new address is:

Electro-Tech Systems, Inc.
700 West Park Avenue
Perkasie, PA 18944

You can still reach us at 215-887-2196 or toll free at 833-373-4878 and here at our website.