There are certainly some similarities between electrostatic-sensitive devices (ESDs) and anti-static materials, chief among them the fact that they are both designed to prevent electrostatic discharges for the purposes of protection, typically when working with highly sensitive materials such as electronics or medical devices and in high-risk work environments involving explosives, extreme heat, or flammable gases. There are, however, some important distinctions that people who work - or play, as some do - under these conditions should be aware of to ensure that they are making the most appropriate, safest choices.
One of the fundamental differences between ESDs and antistatics is that ESDs are primarily meant to protect ultra-sensitive products from static discharges inadvertently brought on by the people who handle them, whereas the primary function of antistatics is to protect people who work with highly flammable, explosive, or electrically charged materials from potentially harmful or even fatal static discharges. For example, employers who work with highly sensitive pieces of technology such as microchips often are required to wear ESD materials on their hands, feet, faces, and bodies because even the slightest static discharge could compromise the product or worse, disrupt the entire production process and cost a company millions of dollars. Still worse yet, in the biomedical and pharmaceutical fields, a product’s exposure to static discharges could put human lives at risk. ESD garments may include gloves, lab jackets, facemasks, shoes, and shoe covers made with conductive carbon or metal fibers designed to prevent static buildup. QRP Gloves Inc. is one top manufacturer of ESD gloves that are used throughout the manufacturing, biomedical, and technology industries, while other ESD garment manufacturers of lab jackets, shoe covers, and masks include Tech Wear Inc., Transforming Technologies, and Worklon Uniforms. In addition, Q Source is a leading distributor of all the best static control products for all of these industries and many others.