First Published in EOS/ESD Technology Feb/March
How to Select Flooring
systematic analysis to determine the best flooring for you.
Steve Halperin: Halperin & Associates,
Take the first step down the yellow
brick road to ESD control by beginning with floor control. You know
it is a critical area, but are you handling it correctly? Do you
know how to analyze the issue systematically? Follow this survey
and learn the whys and whats on flooring that pertain specifically
to your business.
Section 1: Background
The first issue to
adddress is needs.
1. Why, specifically, does your company need ESD control? Circle
all that apply.
a. Required by military contract.
b. Required by commercial customer specifications.
c. We have confirmed ESD losses in our facility.
d. Our customeers have confirmed ESD losses due to our operation.
e. Management insists on an ESD program.
f. We do not have proof of losses, but suspect ESD losses.
Next, it is important
to understand the elements involved in each different physical area
of your company. By addressing an area in terms of size, traffic
and sensitivity, you will get a clearer picture of your needs.
What is the approximate
total measurement of each area in ft.2?
a. < 1000
b. 1000 to 5000
c. 5001 to 10,000
d. 10,001 to 20,000
e. 20,001 to 30,000
f. 30,001 to 40,000
g. 40,001 to 50,000
h. > 50,000
How many people work
in each ESD area?
a. < 5
b. 5 to 10
c. 11 to 20
d. 21 to 50
e. 51 to 75
f. 76 to 100
g. 101 to 200
h. > 200
What is the ESD sensitivity
in volts of each area?
a. < 100
b. 101 to 1000
c. 1001 to 2000
d. 2001 to 4000
e. 4001 to 6000
f. 6001 to 8000
g. > 8000
h. We do not know device or product sensitivity.
Area description matrix:
For the areas listed on the answer sheet (questions 2-13), use the
answers from the questions above and enter the appropriate letter
in the corresponding column.
14. Does your plant
utilize clean room operations? If it does, what is the clean room
a. Class 1000
b. Class 100
c. Class 10
Now the first stage
is completed. You know your company's primary ESD-control needs,
you know the areas that require control, and you know the sizes
and sensitivity of those areas. Take a minute to note the lowest
voltage listed in your sensitivity rating. This will provide an
indication of your facility's worst-case ESD sensitivity and form
a guideline for the degree of control you must establish for the
plant in general.
Section II: Present
How do you currently
control floors in ESD-sensitive areas? By compiling a breakdown
of the floor surface and type of ESD floor control in the different
areas of your company, you will be able to establish your current
status and determine potential modifications that may be necessary.
Using the following answer guides, fill out the floor description
matrix outlined on the answer sheet (Section II, questions 1-12);
enter the appropriate letter in the corresponding column.
What type of floor
surface are you using?
a. Cement floor without sealant
b. Cement floor with epoxy sealant
c. Painted cement floor
d. Vinyl tiled floor
e. Wooden floor without varnish
f. Wooden floor with varnish
g. Marble floor
h. Poured terrazzo
i. Carpeted (roll stock; seamed)
j. Carpet tiles
What type of ESD floor
control do you have?
a. Installed conductive tile
b. Installed conductive sheet goods at workstations and critical
c. Installed static-controlled carpeting (tiles or rolled stock)
d. ESD floor wax
e. Periodic application of topical antistats or floor dressings
f. ESD-controlled mats only
g. ESD-controlled aisle runners
h. Conductive paints or epoxy sealants
i. None presently used
Section III: Defining
When selecting any
ESD product for a given application, there are four areas of concern:
mechanical performance, chemical attributes, electrostatic discharge
functions, and value. The following section is oriented toward defining
flooring needs as related to these four areas.
These include such
issues as installation, maintenance, traffic, and longevity, which
will carry different weights in different companies. The weight
that an issue carries depends on various questions. Can the plant
be closed for two days in order to install a new ESD floor? A week?
Are shiny floors a consideration?
Using the rating scale
below, determine the appropriate value for each issue. Enter the
budget, time or frequency for each element. This will help further
quanify the true impact of each factor.
a. Extremetly important, a top priority in our decisions.
b. Very important to our facility, usually included.
c. A consideration, but not a decision making factor.
d. Not a decision factor at this time, but should be.
e. Not a consideration for flooring in our facility.
f. Not suitable or appropriate for our facility.
Rate the following
1. Installation concerns:
a. Time allowed
b. Budgeted cost per ft2
c. Prepartation of current floor surface
d. Moisture seepage through cement
2. Maintenance concerns:
a. Desired frequency
b. Budgeted cost per ft2
c. Required equipment
d. Manpower needs
3. Traffic and use
a. Foot traffic
b. Cart traffic
c. Material hand truch traffic
d. Lift truck traffic
e. Machine or surface loading
4. Longevity concerns
(varies with ownership versus lease of building and maintenance
a. Life of ESD floor performance
b. Potential for plant remodeling
c. Potential for plant relocating
d. Potential change in ESD needs
In addition to these,
there are other mechanical concerns. Is the same floor suitable
for all area applications? Will carpeting chosen for the CEO's office
be effective in general manufacturing areas? Will the same flooring
you choose for your soldering or chemical areas be a success in
shipping and receiving? Will high versus low traffic play a part
in your decision-making process?
include lease-hold restrictions. Does the owner of the building
have restrictions on the type of reconstruction you can do? Is there
a policy concernng removal? If so, concrete resurfacing might not
be a viable option. What about company policies? Are there rules
about appearance or safety?
can be seen as having a negative or positive influence on the product
and the environment. Issues such as outgassing or corrosivity either
are a critical area of concern, or they are not.
Determine whether or
not each of the following chemical attributes is a factor in your
decision-making process for ESD control floor materials.
8. Contact contamination
The next area to consider
in ESD control is electrostatic functions. Traditionally, when you
look at an ESD-control material, you look for its ability to dissipate
a charge and to define the path a charge takes to ground. When considering
floor materials, it is important to determine how much charge is
generated and where it goes. How quickly it dissipates may also
be a concern in some environments.
Using the questions
below determing the appropriate value for each issue listed on teh
answer sheet (section III, questions 11-17). Enter comments and
specific performance requirements for an element in the area provided.
Rate the suitability
of the ESD function for floor control.
A. A consideration, but not a decision-making factor
B. Not a descision making factor at this time, but should be
C. Not a consideration for flooring in our facility
D. Not sutiable or appropriate for our facility
What is your acceptable performance
A. Our desired performance range
B. We would accept this performance range
C. We would only accept this range in certain areas
D. We would not accept this performance range
How often do you evaluate or survey
floor ESD performance?
In addition to flooring, footwear must
also be an ESD concern. A controlled floor helps to reduce charges
on the body, but it can not be totally effective unless controlled
footwear is worn. Luckily, today's ESD-controlled footwear do not
even resemble bowling shoes. Whether you want wingtips, pumps,
or workshoes, there is suitable ESD-controlled footwear available
for operations and administrative personnel alike. (For question
18, follow the same proecure described above.)
Only after mechanical,
chemical and electrostatic requirements are determined is it time
to look at value. First, determine the importance of each factor
in the decision making process. (Every installation is differnt,
not only physically, but also in terms of need. When considering
floor materials, note any custom concerns that are particular to
your company.) To determine the value, you must look at the key
elements of these considerations, adn then at your budget constraints.
List you most important factor
in the following three categories and rank in order of importance.
Determine the maximum
allowed cost for the following.
22. Installation per ft2
23. Material per ft2
24. Maintance per year
A company must
define its needs and know the cost factors before it can even consider
the products available in the market place. The comparison must
be based on rational value analysis, including all mechanical, chemical,
and electrostatic factors. You cannot compare a low-cost solution
that only meets some of your requirements with a higher-cost flooring
material that meets all your needs. Only products meeting the fundamental
requirements of a company can be rationally compared.