Managing ESDS in an Aviation Environment
We sometimes feel static electricity which builds up as we walk for example across a nylon carpet at the moment we touch something which permits an electrostatic discharge.
This may be a door knob or indeed another person. This voltage if measured would be any thousands of volts. It is this electric charge which can destroy electronic circuits.
While this sudden Electrostatic Discharge of static electricity does not usually result in any harm to humans, it can for sure deliver significant damage to an electronic circuit which has a particular sensitivity to electrostatic discharge (ESD).
It is claimed that problems associated with Static first came to light many centuries ago. In the 15th Century Static electricity was a known phenomenon which caused explosions in the gun powder stored in Caribbean forts. Possible this was the earliest form of static control procedures.
Moving into modern times where technology is everywhere in our daily lives the issues connected with Electrostatic Discharge remain a serious threat. It is demonstrated that as electronic devices become every smaller their sensitivity increases with the possibility of damage occurring at voltages as low as 10V.
Managing ESDS in an Aviation Environment is assured by delivering Effective Static Control Procedures. Particularly in the Stores environment during the inspection phase, and during the time components are being transported or installed and removed.
Static control can be achieved by adhering to Static Control principles, circuit and component design being an important element of mitigation. The most important element of handling electronic components is to make sure that the no difference in potential is allowed to build up. Typically, this is achieved by building ESDS work stations and wearing ESDS wrist straps.
Wrist straps must be correctly worn and connected to ground through a safety resistance, in this way the person and the component under work is kept at the same potential.
In this way there is no potential for a discharge as no potential difference exists.
In aviation We have –or should have – procedures for just about everything. Procedures are connected to policies and the need to demonstrate regulatory compliance.
Procedures belong within the QC environment but facilitate the functioning of the QA process. Without procedures auditing becomes very challenging.
In maintenance we have the Maintenance Organization Exposition MOE Procedures and the Continuing Airworthiness Management Exposition plus a myriad of other documents.
Sofema Aviation Services deliver Electro Static Discharge Sensitive Training ESDS as a stand-alone ½ Day Training.