I am currently managing a project in the beautiful surroundings of Bergen, Norway, and we have to install 1,500m2 of a self levelling resin flooring system. A relatively straightforward installation except this is not just any resin floor it is an ESD / conductive resin floor. Which got me thinking…
Why do clients install ESD / conductive resin floor systems ?
First some basics…
Electrostatic Discharge (ESD) is defined as the transfer of electrostatic charge between objects at different electrostatic potentials caused by direct contact or induced by an electrostatic field. Electrostatic discharge is most commonly created by the contact and separation, or friction, of two similar or dissimilar materials. Basically it is all about the balance, or imbalance, of electrons on the surface of each material. The electrons will try and reach equilibrium by transferring from one surface to the other creating an electrostatic discharge.
Insulators are materials with high resistance that restrict or prevent the flow of electrons across or through itself.
Conductors are materials with low resistance that easily allow the flow of electrons across it or through it’s material.
Concrete itself is a natural conductor and will dissipate any electrostatic charges (ESD) on the surface. However, once a resin flooring system is applied to the surface it will act as an insulator. So to get the many benefits of resin flooring, but maintain or improve the conductivity of the wearing surface calls for specialist conductive resin floor systems. OR in layman terms we have to make a flooring system that is essentially an insulator, conductive.
So going back to my original question, why do client’s install conductive resin floor systems ?
- ESD is a significant cause of failures within the electronics industry.
- ESD is a serious health and safety issue in industries such as munitions, pharmaceutical and chemical processing.
- ESD control is a requirement in many areas of hospitals and in clean rooms
So it is an issue that can have an adverse affect on productivity, quality control, profitability and safety.
What are the different types of conductive resin floor systems ?
Static dissipative resin floor
Static dissipative resin flooring generally is defined as having a resistance of 10 6 – 10 9 ohms. They can drain off a 5,000 volt charge to zero in less than 0.2 seconds.
Static dissipative resin floor systems have greater resistance to electric current flow than conductive resin floor systems. At facilities where electronic components are manufactured or assembled, a static dissipative resin floor can be installed so that a static charge can be gradually transferred to ground. This will protect operatives from an electric shock while at the same time protecting sensitive electronic equipment.
Conductive resin floor
Conductive resin flooring generally is defined as having and electrical resistance of less than 1.0 x 106 Ω (I million ohms). They can drain a 5,000 volt charge to zero in 0.05 seconds.
A conductive resin floor system has a much lower electrical resistance than a static dissipative resin floor. It will carry a static charge to a grounding point quickly and efficiently and prevent the risk of accidental discharge and ignition. If the floor is too conductive, an operative on the floor could suffer electrical shock.
Conductive resin floor (Spark Proof)
The same qualities as above, but with the added benefit of being completely spark proof. So if tools or equipment are dropped on to the floor they will not cause a spark which could lead to ignition.
The floor in Norway is a static dissipative resin floor for an electronics manufacturing facility and regardless of all the usual issues that we face on resin flooring installations, the most important factor will be ensuring we fulfil the ESD performance requirements.
I’ll post some photos as we make progress with the project.