ESD and the Kitting Process

When handling electronic components in the Kitting process, it is very important that all precautions are in place to protect components from ESD. We’ve been aware of known best handling practices for many years. It was during a Customer on-site visit, when the Auditor pointed out a potential flaw. The embarrassment drove us to revisit the ESD Standard ANSI/ESD S20.20-2007.

We had previously been so proud of all the grounded mats (floor and work surfaces), the continuous monitoring for wrist straps, the ESD jackets and all the posted signs warning other staff not to enter unless they are prepared to be grounded. Numerous basic items were in place and we were so pleased. And the question was asked “What about the paper the staff is using for the Kit List?” We assumed some distance between paper and unexposed components was okay. We didn’t know for sure and we certainly didn’t have an appropriate answer. It was the not knowing that caused us the greatest embarrassment.

ANSI/ESD S20.20-2007 had to be known, understood and implemented if we truly wanted to be proud of our Kitting and Inventory service model. We chose a staff member and gave both the responsibility and the authority to be our ESD Control Manager. The first task was to learn and understand everything possible about ESD and what processes and products could be utilized to help prevent an ESD event during material handling. The second task was re-training of all the staff and implementation of the new processes. Even after all these years, we learned a lot. There is so much more known and so many more products available than there was 10 years ago.

We previously used the 3M 701 test kit for static control surfaces and monthly testing and reporting on all surfaces and jackets. We’ve increased the vigilance to now include the 3M 718 static field meter. The new meter will read the static field build up on insulators, such as paper products at workstations. This is a great tool to demonstrate to employees WHY certain items need to be removed or replaced at their work stations.

A number of new tools have been purchased, but the investment feels satisfying and provides a level of comfort. It is now the knowing that causes us the greatest satisfaction and pride.

There are many process improvements and a fair amount of knowledge gained through the last several months. I will gladly share more specifics in upcoming postings. If you’d like to discuss California Integration Coordinators ESD program, Kitting or Inventory services, please contact us at 530-626-6168 or send me a note Cherie@cic-inc.com.