Specialty Foam Types: Anti-Static, Dissipative and Conductive
Electronics are part of our everyday life and little thought may go into worrying about static electricity when handling consumer products as they are designed to be used in our day to day environments
However, commercial electronics and Programmable Circuit Boards (PCBs) often need protection against static from prototyping through to final assembly and demo units. We can source many types of foam based on your specific component(s) sensitivity to static electricity.
Lets look at a couple different types of foam that are used to protect electronic devices and circuit boards:
1. Anti-Static and/or Dissipative foam will either have a coating to prevent static build up or be made with internal anti-static agents to dissipate static charges. Different types of Anti-Static and/or Dissipative foam will have varying levels of useful life ranging from one way shipping to repeat use.
2. Conductive foam is made with a special carbon mixture in the raw materials rather than after the foam is already manufactured. Is is meant for repeat use and will act like a Faraday cage when an item is fully enclosed within it.
Production Case 'base' Anti Static Foam: The terms Anti-Static and Dissipative foam are often used together or interchanged, so it's important to look at the technical specifications of the foam to be sure exactly which type it is. While we aren't electrical engineers here at Production Case, we will work to provide you with multiple foam options and their specifications so you can make an informed decision about the foam you really need. For example, since we're in the business of providing technical packaging that lasts, so when we mention the term "Anti Static Foam" internally, it's foam that's meant for repeat use and not the cheapest one way shipping foam that may be the standard elsewhere.
Conductive foam is very expensive, but still has it's place in packaging. When you have equipment that is expensive, sensitive and unique or hard to replace, conductive foam may be the best choice for your technical packaging needs.
It's important to remember that while we've focused here on the Electrostatic properties of the foam, they are still available in different densities and foam types to provide your equipment with protection from shock and vibration.
We'll discuss a couple different types of resins that result in different foam types in our next blog post. Certain types of Anti Static, Dissipative and Conductive foam may only be available in certain resins. Stay tuned for Main Foam Types Explained: PU (Polyurethane) and PE (Polyethylene).