One of the most common problems for any professional or hobbyist in the electronics industry is static discharge. Whether it comes from an electronic component itself or from an outside source, these static charges have the potential to disrupt and irreversibly damage your items. While you may be able to control what kind of materials come near your goods while you work with them, what happens during storage and shipping is a guessing game that you can't always regulate. To prevent harmful electrostatic charges at any point of the supply chain process, you can enlist the help of static shielding bags and other anti-static packaging supplies.
How Electrostatic Charges Occur
At this point, you may be wondering just how and why electrostatic charges happen and why they damage electronic components. To boil it down to the basics, these instances occur when two objects rub against one another. As this contact happens, they can create an imbalance of positive and negative charges,which are frequently referred to as friction, and that friction will then build up on the surface of one or both objects until it is released. The friction release is what we refer to as an electrostatic charge or static discharge. This is especially problematic for electronic parts and devices, as their sensitive components can be fried by a static charge, rendering them broken and completely worthless.
What are Static Shielding Bags?
Some electronics are so sensitive to charges that even the static buildup on your own hands can permanently damage them. Static shielding bags, which are sometimes also called Faraday bags or ESD shielding bags, were developed in order to protect these valuable electronic devices and components from all levels of static discharge. These helpful poly bags consist of multiple layers that all work together to protect your items. Essentially, they act sort of like a small Faraday cage (hence the name Faraday bags) that offers outstanding security to any sensitive or valuable electronic components you place inside. Let’s take a look at how static shielding bags work and how they are constructed:Layer 1:The inner layer of a Faraday bag is made of durable polyethylene plastic. Not only does this layer act as a soft surface that makes direct contact with your electronics, but it also does not allow any static buildup to occur. Polyethylene plastic cannot create or hold any sort of electric charge, which means that harmful static buildups won’t happen inside of it.Layer 2:The middle layer of any static shielding bag is constructed from aluminum. This material is what provides the actual shield against external static discharges that would otherwise pass through the bag and destroy the part inside. This is because the aluminum acts as a conductor that will take the discharge and ground them, keeping your electronics out of harm’s way. Layer 3:The final outer layer of the black static shielding bag is polyester plastic with a dissipative coating to help prevent static buildups, just like the inner layer. However, this outer layer protects both the product inside the Faraday bag and the middle aluminum layer from electrostatic charges. Static shielding bags are an essential tool for packaging and storing any kind of sensitive electronics, but we commonly see them used to protect items like circuit boards, memory cards, processors, and more. Most often, these bags are a black or metallic black color, which makes them more easily recognizable. One important aspect of these versatile tools to make sure to note is that in order to work correctly and effectively, Faraday bags must be properly and tightly sealed with no punctures, rips, or tears.
Static Shielding Bags vs. Anti-Static Bags
When seeking out protective packaging that is specifically designed for electronics, many businesses also use a product called anti-static bags. These bags are very similar to Faraday bags in that they are constructed out of polyethylene plastic with dissipative coatings to prevent static buildup within the bag itself. However, unlike static shielding bags, they do not have an aluminum layer to act as a conductor and safeguard the product against external static charges. Anti-static bags are often characterized by their pink color and are also available in other packaging materials like bubble film or foam. They tend to cost less than their static shielding counterparts, but do not offer the same level of protection.
Finding the Right Static Shielding Bags
No matter what kind of electronics you work with, static shielding bags can offer incredible benefits. To learn more about the different types of Faraday bags, anti-static bags, and other protective packaging materials for your most sensitive goods, contact us today!