An Interview with Robert J. Vermillion, CPP
RMV Technology Group, Inc.
On the Testing of ESD Corrugated
Mr. Vermillion, it is well known that static discharges
can damage ESD-sensitive items through the wall of corrugated
packaging. What steps are being taken to eliminate this damaging
The ESD Association is presently developing a
Capacitive Probe Test Standard (CPT) for corrugated materials,
proposed as ESD S.11.32 for corrugated.
Editor's note August 2010: the test method S11.32 never
The ESD S.11.31-1994 (for static shielding bags)
is defined as an electrostatic discharge measurement method. The
method employs a capacitive sensor inside the package. A 1KV discharge
to the outer package is conducted, and the fixture measures the
current across a resistor connected to the fixtures upper
and lower sensing plates. The current and resistance is used to
calculate energy seen inside the package during the discharge
event. This test should be effective in measuring stored energy
per specified relative humidities of either 12 percent or 50 percent.
Some packaging manufacturers still think sandwiching
a circuit board between "antistatic" pink foam is a
barrier from electrostatic fields in a corrugated container. The
foam should not triboelectrically charge the circuit board and
the corrugated should not become a static generator if the relative
humidity is below 12 percent-23 percent (Kolyer and Rushworth,
1990). An ESD conductive barrier is needed to shield the container
from a discharge. Therefore, conventional corrugated without shielding
layers or barriers makes an ineffective package for ESD events.