When it comes to the manufacturing process – for any product- there will be a finely-honed process to follow. Part of this process will include how to avoid damage to components as they are handled, and reduce the risk of any injuries to the people working in the facility as well. For some products these risks as quite low, but in other settings – like the manufacture of electronic components and devices, the risks are much, much higher. So, what can you do to avoid those issues, and control the environment to reduce the risk of damage and injury in a consistent way?
Electrical Manufacturing Concerns
In all electronic manufacturing facilities, reducing the risk of electrostatic discharge (or ESD) is a priority. It’s an essential step to avoid damage to the sensitive components and production equipment – not to mention the people working in the facility as well!
Electrostatic discharge is the sudden flow of electricity between two electrically charged objects. It can be caused by contact, an electrical short, dielectric breakdown, or a drop in humidity levels in the environment.
They will typically occur in manufacturing when the air humidity drops below a certain, critical value. Workplaces and other indoor environments with low relative humidity (RH) are particularly prone to ESD, since there is less moisture vapour in the air. Normally, the airborne moisture would help the static electricity to dissipate without an issue – minimising the risk of ESD. If there’s not enough water vapour in the air, then electricity will accumulate in ‘pockets’, which will discharge when an object of opposite charge is nearby. None of which is very good for electrical manufacturing!
The Impact of Humidity Control
For an electronics manufacturing environment, the normal range of humidity is between 30%RH and 70%RH. However, some facilities will try to maintain a constant, moderate RH (~50%), and others will prefer a lower % RH if they are using or producing more humidity-sensitive parts. In general, electrostatic discharges are the enemy of electronic manufacturing, which is why it’s important to have a minimum level of 30%RH to prevent damage.
This means that the ideal humidity level for electronics manufacturing can vary depending on the ambient environment and is usually decided by the specific devices and components each facility is using. This isn’t ideal if you just want an out-of-the-box solution, which is why many electronics manufacturers will bring in a humidification expert (like us) to help them create the ideal environment for their specific set-up. Ultimately, controlling the air humidity successfully will minimise the risk of ESD in the plant, protecting both the equipment and personnel within the plant – and increasing productivity by preserving a consistent quality of output.
Humidity Control Solutions for Electrical Manufacturing
In order to achieve the optimum level of humidity control in a manufacturing environment, your best option is to install an adiabatic air humidifying system. This system will not only ensure that static charges are kept to a minimum, but has the added benefit of free cooling to reduce excess heat generated locally by the production processes.
Another key benefit is that it provides you with documentation for your health and safety policies. In most cases, electronics producers are required to document that their production takes place under strict indoor climate control, and humidity control plays a key part.
Humidity Solutions can:
- Provide you with documentation of your compliance with regulations around production environments
- Reduce the risk of ESDs, protecting personnel and products
- Create adiabatic cooling of the environment to remove unwanted heat gains
- Extend the lifespan for components and manufacturing machinery