ESD or electrostatic discharge can occur in a great many different environments. In fact, anyone who has walked across a carpeted floor or rubbed against a piece of furniture and then touched something has experienced this naturally occurring flow of electricity.
For various electronic components, particularly integrated circuits, ESD can be damaging and cause component failures. In vehicles or in a system where there are flammable materials or gasses, ESD needs to be eliminated.
In most testing facilities, specialized rooms and production areas have been developed to eliminate this type of electrical voltage. However, ESD test equipment will have to be used to determine how much ESD the device can tolerate, including that which is produced by the human body.
Most ESD test equipment is very easy to use. They are sometimes called ESD simulator guns because they are small to medium sized handheld devices. There are those that test air discharge or contact. Some specific types of testers, particularly those for electronic devices such as cell phones, tablets or other similar items, may also include a specialized output circuit.
This is called the HBM or human body model because it is able to build up a charge in a capacitor to a high voltage, then discharge through the resistor to simulate the same type of charge that could occur when the device is in contact with a person.
There are several other standards that different models and types of ESD test equipment will be designed to test. This can include ANSI (American National Standards Institute), CMark and IEC (International Electrotechnical Commission) as well as EN (European Norm) standards. As many of these standards are the same, one device may be approved for several or all standards.
In addition, there are programmable options in these ESD testing devices. Knowing what you require for testing parameters and where you will use the device will be essential in selecting the right testing system.