Posted by Vanja Landeck - 16 March, 2021
Today’s society is driven by technology, from the automation of industrial processes to the adoption of low-carbon technologies such as electric vehicles, photovoltaics and mega battery storage. The adoption of these technologies is accelerating at an unprecedented pace in all sectors, with the help of the Internet of Things and Big Data.
As production plants evolve to keep our technological world working, ensuring that robotics and machinery stay on stream is matched by the continuing need to ensure safety for people, products, devices and equipment in the respective fields of application.
Flooring plays a critical role in terms of safety, productivity and infrastructure of any environment, especially when static electricity is involved. Left unaddressed, the impact of even minor electrostatic discharge can have serious consequences. There are many variables to consider in managing static discharge – read on to discover how the conductive flooring portfolio from Master Builders Solutions fits into the big picture.
How does a static discharge happen?
To understand the function of conductive flooring in general, it is helpful to know how static electricity occurs. Static electricity is generated by contact and movement between different materials – typical examples being footfall, friction and the flows of air, powders and liquids. Separation of different materials when people walk, jump or get out of a chair can cause static or body voltage generation. Physical contact needn’t be present – induction can occur by coming closer to a charged object.
Static discharges contain energy, which can affect the source of the discharge, the target that it arcs to and the environment in between. In explosive areas or atmospheres (ATEX Regulations), the problem is the effect on the environment – unless the source and target are explosives.
For ESD Protected Areas (EPAs), the issue is damage to the source and the effects on the target. The range of effects caused by static electricity can vary from simple micro-shocks to damage of electronic components with unpredictable consequences, or dangerous powder and solvent explosions leading to accidents.
Typical ATEX and ESD zones and their requirements
Typical explosive and ATEX zones are found in the chemical, mining and military industries, for instance.
Antistatic floors offer the right prevention and protection tool here, as risks such as sparks and explosions must be considered.
In addition to antistatic properties, general performance requirements, tailored to these kinds of environments, are likely to be:
- High chemical resistance
- High resistance against impacts, scratches and wear-resistance
- Low maintenance costs
- High performance
ESD protected areas (EPAs) are mainly found in the electronics industry.
Typical areas are found in production facilities where microchips and other IT components are produced.
In these areas the general performance requirements are:
- High durability
- Good chemical resistance
- Good resistance to impacts, scratches and wear
- Easy cleanability
- Low maintenance costs
Further typical areas that require antistatic or ESD solutions are clean rooms - facilities designed to keep the level of particulates, such as dust, organisms or suspended particles, under a certain threshold. In this clean environment, the floor design plays a very important role. A seamless, wear-resistant, dustproof surface which is easy to clean, disinfect and maintain is usually demanded.
Depending on the type of industry or application, conductive floors are requested to avoid static discharge and static cling. Otherwise, static discharge and dust accumulation could become a problem.
How do our floors contribute to the control of static discharge?
Antistatic (AS) and electrostatic discharge (ESD) flooring systems from Master Builders Solutions prevent static electricity from accumulating on the surface and allow it to dissipate through the floor. Depending on the industry and field of application, our flooring systems are designed to minimize the risk of sparks and safeguard against explosion, protecting electronic components and avoid the generation and accumulation of dust particles. Additionally, the floors provide a suitably resistant surface for its use, which means a lower cost of ownership for the customer thanks to better durability and less maintenance, especially in the long-term use.
A Tailor-made solution for your specific needs
Master Builders Solutions offers various conductive MasterTop and Ucrete floors for different ESD or ATEX areas where the material’s conductivity is critical. Every system features a specific combination of properties, depending on the client’s priorities. The modular range means that we can guide every specification towards a system with performance characteristics that meet your specific requirements. For example, if high temperature resistance is required, we will likely devise a Ucrete-based solution as best option; if crack-bridging is essential, we can identify the most appropriate MasterTop system.
Ultimately, we will use our expertise and experience of what we know performs best in your environment to ensure your antistatic or ESD requirements are met without any compromise on other essential aspects of flooring performance.
Choosing the right solution
Our goal is always to partner with you to find the best solution, using experience gained for over a century in the construction industry.
Working with you as a team, our experts can develop the best solution for your project, based on producing a complete description and analysis of potential hazard sources.
This holistic approach means that other essential preventative measures can be taken, including suitable work clothing and footwear. As well as the properties of our flooring systems, such as non-slip surfaces, mechanical strength and high resistance to chemicals, we offer you an optimal, protective long-term solution to your specific challenges.
The key benefits of our conductive flooring range at a glance:
- Conforms to international standards
- Fast and easy to install
- Attractive appearance
- Clean, hygienic and safe
- Chemically resistant
- Low life-cycle cost
- Temperature resistance
- Hygienic, against bacterial growth