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New anti-static material helps manufacturers expand 3D printing production

What is electrostatic discharge?
Electrostatic discharge (ESD) occurs when a current suddenly flows between two charged objects. Static electricity builds up as friction occurs between multiple insulating components. When one of these components comes into contact with a conductor, electricity is released into the conductor. This phenomenon is particularly dangerous in the electronics industry, where uncontrolled electrostatic discharge can damage static-sensitive components such as circuit boards. Even trivial details, such as friction from a clamp touching a housing, can cause electrons to build up and create an electrostatic discharge that can short out electronic components and prevent the product from functioning properly. Lack of control over processes related to static-sensitive components can reduce overall throughput.
What are anti-static materials?
Anti-static materials dissipate static electricity to prevent it from affecting sensitive components, such as electronic components. Antistatic materials are not true “conductors,” but electrons can flow across their surfaces, dissipating any static shock that may occur.
When an antistatic material is grounded, it provides a path for electric charges to flow, allowing electrons to flow safely across its surface and into the ground point. Another benefit of antistatic materials is that they are antistatic when grounded, which means that small particles such as dust, powder, and styrofoam cannot adhere to the surface of the material. In many electronic component manufacturing plants, these particles can accumulate in delicate electrical and mechanical systems and eventually cause failure. Using anti-static materials for mold making and assembly procedures minimizes the risk of failure caused by charge overload and static buildup. Manufacturers have traditionally used these materials in machining, but now they are available for 3D printing solutions.
Produce 3D-printed parts specific to electronics manufacturing processes using ESD Resin
3D printing is a more cost-effective alternative to machining in many applications, but few high-quality antistatic materials have previously been available for 3D printing. These materials are either prohibitively expensive to produce, out of the reach of many small and medium-sized manufacturers, or they can only be printed on inferior machines, making them less reliable and unsuitable for industrial environments.
During the prototyping process of a part, testing and validation steps require that all components work together, and the electronic components must function smoothly. If you choose to outsource processing, it will incur high costs and require long lead times, so most manufacturers still complete prototype manufacturing in-house. ESD resin is tougher than most other anti-static materials available for 3D printing, eliminating the risk of mechanical or electrical failure when engineers are prototyping.

In production lines involving electronic components, all contact points require the use of anti-static materials, so traditional jigs and fixtures are often machined from metals that are conductors. Now, manufacturers can also print jigs and fixtures with ESD resin, a material that safely dissipates static electricity from sensitive electronic components. ESD resin’s extremely high modulus and toughness make it ideal for production environments where strength and durability are critical.

Operators are required to safely seal and secure assembled electrical components at various stages of the production process and before leaving the factory floor. Fixed pallets are bulky and often have custom geometries, making them expensive to machine. Using ESD resin, users can quickly create mounting trays and enclosures based on product specifications to securely secure the product and prevent components from shorting out due to static electricity inside the room or on handlers.

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