Physical properties to consider for ESD flooring
The physical properties of your operation must also be taken into account when selecting ESD tiles. Here are some of the questions you should be asking:

Do you require resistance to rolling loads?
Does your operation use carts or forklift trucks to transport items throughout your facility? If so that does play a large factor in your ESD flooring selection. For example, rubber flooring should not be used if heavy rolling loads are part of the work flow. The weight of the rolling loads can also have an impact on how you install the floor, particularly if you’re considering gluing down the flooring. The heavier loads and the frequency of those rolling loads will determine the type of glue used (e.g. heavier loads require a stronger adhesive). The same holds true for interlocking tiles. Consideration of the weight of the rolling loads must be taken into account.

Will there be excessive foot traffic?
Excessive foot traffic typically requires more frequent cleanings and/or the use of a floor finish to help reduce the build-up of dirt on the tiles. But, beware of ESD flooring that requires a wax for ESD properties. A floor product of this nature is certainly not recommended for ESD purposes. For StaticStop products, conductivity is built into the tile. So, for high traffic areas, you may want to consider products that require less frequent maintenance, such as our PLUS products that are pre-finished and naturally resist dirt build-up. In these high-traffic areas, you’ll also want to make sure that you use a regular cleaning protocol to prevent dirt from accumulating on the flooring. (e.g. once a day, once every other day, etc. based on use).

Will there be fork lift traffic?
Similar to rolling loads, the amount of fork lift traffic on your floor will be a determining factor in the tile you select.

Do you require any type of chemical resistance?
Some facilities employ chemicals that may impact the material used of the flooring you select. Therefore, having a detailed conversation about your operation is critical to making a wise selection. If there are chemicals in your work environment, there are some possible solutions. For example, resistance to certain chemicals, such as solvents or acids. Vinyl is resistant to many chemicals and is generally a good choice. Rubber is good for other chemicals, like chlorinated solvents. It’s pretty rare that there’s a chemical that would impact the effectiveness of our tiles, but it is important to do your due diligence to ensure that doesn’t happen. If possible, get a sample of the flooring that you are considering and test it against the chemicals that you have in your area. 

Do you require special slip resistance?
Obviously, you want to select a tile with ESD qualities and slip resistance. Some environments may need greater slip resistance. If your facility requires a greater level of slip resistance, then you will want to steer clear of slick materials like epoxies. Seek out products that provide more secure footing. Our SelecTile product, for example, utilizes a coin top texture for better slip resistance.

Do you require comfort, ergonomic, or anti-fatigue properties?
Quite simply, some flooring is better for humans to stand on for long periods of time than others. For example, epoxies are hard. Same holds true with glued-down vinyl flooring. Unfortunately, the more ergonomic and comfortable the floor, the higher the cost. Going the extra mile can provide a return on investment in that workers who are more comfortable will be more productive and miss less time due to standing-related injuries, like plantar fasciitis. Less injuries and more comfortable work conditions also improve retention. Our FreeStyle interlocking tiles offer exceptional comfort due to the thickness of the tile, it’s composition, and the waffle structure in the base of the tile. As a footnote, many SelecTech and StaticStop customers have recouped the cost of buying more comfortable, ergonomic flooring based on those factors.

In the next e-newsletter, we will address how installation considerations, e.g. down time, influence the selection of ESD flooring.
IPC Apex wrap-up
We had a great time at the annual IPC Apex Expo. There were more than 450 exhibitors and we met a lot of great people and made some great electronics industry connections. And San Diego was, well, San Diego.

If you have never been to the IPC Apex Expo and want to meet people involved in the electronics industry, we strongly recommend it. Next year’s Expo is in January and also in San Diego. Click on the video to the left for more info.
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