ESD Packaging – Keeping Electronic Components Safe

If someone asked you whether you use ESD packaging to send them an electronic component, would you have any idea what they were on about?

Probably not, and you would be forgiven for not knowing. It’s actually not that uncommon – ESD packaging is that simple anti-static container that computer parts – for example – are stored in when you buy them brand new.

The reason why they are put in ESD packaging is that they are prone to sustaining damage as a result of electrostatic discharge (ESD). The ESD Packaging is usually made out of plastic polyethylene terephthalate – what is generally known by the acronym PET.

You might have bought a piece of computer equipment and may have noticed that it is wrapped in multiple layers of protection – that is exactly what ESD packaging is. Depending on the sophistication of the part in question, it may first be wrapped in a PET bag, then in a pink bubble wrap bag, then in a polyethylene rigid box filled with additional foam. This is all there for a reason. ESD packaging prevents static charge build-up. What is even more important is that when you open the ESD packaging, you must be in a static free area. Otherwise, guess what? All that ESD packaging will have been for nothing and the part might be damaged. There are plenty of examples of the types of ESD packaging that are available.

It is always a good idea to store or transport any components in these bags. Even if you are reusing one to package up an old part to keep as a spare, consider using some form of ESD packaging when you put it into storage. The bags are lined with metal to dissipate any charge and the outer PET coating is treated with chemicals to ensure that any moisture in the air which might settle on the bag will be drawn away from the inside.

While on the subject, of course, it is important to note that you should never store two components in the same bag of ESD Packaging. Ideally, they would have their own bag and their own bubble wrap. If you were really stuck for space, you could store them in the same box by keeping them totally apart with foam.