Fault-Tolerant Anti Static Flooring

Wikipedia defines “fault tolerant design” or “fail safe design” as “design that enables a system to continue operation, possibly at a reduced level…rather than failing completely”.1

Over the years, I have found that this is a very successful way for customers to think about their ESD flooring needs. For most environments, the hazard of static to equipment and/or operations is a risk that cannot be taken. Fault-tolerant ESD flooring is intrinsically anti-static: the end user won’t need to do anything after it is installed except walk on it while it allows for the most user errors. Fault-tolerant ESD flooring allows for the most flexibility in an environment while keeping that environment safe:

  • People can wear the wrong shoes but still remain protected
  • Waxes, polishes, and sprays need not be applied or monitored
  • Ambient humidity, temperature, traffic, and the age of the tile are taken out of the equation

In mission critical environments, like labs, call centers, healthcare and cleanrooms, there is no room for static or the human error that can bring static if high maintenance ESD flooring is used. Based on the application where the ESD flooring will be installed consider the following elements when evaluating the selection of anti-static flooring:

  1. Footwear: Will the shoes worn in the environment be standard “street shoes” (insulative) or will they be specialty footwear (conductive)?
  2. Volts (kv): What is the acceptable amount of human body charge allowable in the environment?
  3. Static decay: Upon contact with the floor, how quickly does the charge leave the body?
  4. OHMs: What is the floor’s measurable ability to conduct electricity?

(See image, below)

Application Environment

1 “Fault-tolerant_design,” Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fault-tolerant_design, Dec. 1, 2009