1. What is the Difference between Anti Static Mats and Wrist Straps?
Static electrons on our skin’s surface and other surfaces become electrostatic discharges (ESD). ESD can damage electronics without us being able to see or feel it. To prevent ESD, we bring these static electrons to the ground beneath our feet before they can discharge at voltages that damage electronics.
Mats are laid over flat surfaces, like tables and floors, to draw static from people standing on or working over them. Any objects placed on the mat will have static drawn from them.
Wrist Straps are used to draw static from our body.
Once mats and wrist straps collect static, these electrons need to be grounded- brought to the ground beneath our feet.
2. Products for Grounding Anti Static Mats and Wrist Straps
Grounding occurs when your mat and wrist strap bond you electrically through a grounding cable to the Earth below where you are standing.
Wrist Strap Grounds bond a wrist strap to an electrical outlet separate from a mat.
Mat Grounds bond a mat to an electrical outlet separate from a wrist strap.
Common Point Grounds bond a mat and wrist strap at a common point before connecting to an electrical outlet.
Electrical outlets typically are the best path to ground in any building because they follow the piping to the Earth’s electrical field underneath the building.
When connected to the electrical outlet, grounded persons and objects are in electrical balance with the positive and negative charges in the building.
3. ESD Standards for Grounding Anti Static Mats and Wrist Straps
The ESD Association characterizes grounding as “the single most important concept in the field of static control.” In the United States, the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) adopts many ESD Association standards.
The ANSI / ESD standard for setting up workstations with mats and wrist straps is “ANSI / ESD 6.1”.
For specific instructions on grounding mats and wrist straps check out these articles from our blog on ESD Grounding Methods: