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08-06-2015 - Antistatic flooring at Microtronix

Antistatic flooring at Microtronix


Founded in 1993 Microtronix Electronic Contract Manufacturing has successfully grown to become a major player in the SMT industry in South Africa, specializing in electronic PC board assembly at its high-tech facility in Johannesburg.

Currently manufacturing for key companies dealing in the Mining, Commercial, Military and Vehicle & Asset Tracking sectors, Microtronix offers experience and services to a number of different industries. With 250 staff, 12 production lines and a total placement capacity of well over 4 million components per day, Microtronix caters for any order from single prototypes to large volume mass production.

In electronics manufacturing plants like Microtronix, if ESD is not addressed, the resulting discharge can cause material, component or system failures, which prove costly and unnecessary.

Electrostatic Discharge (ESD) is the sudden flow of electricity between two objects caused by contact. One of the causes for ESD is static electricity. Familiar examples of ESD include the shock we receive when we walk across a carpet and touch a metal doorknob, and the static electricity we feel in winter from certain clothing. The threat of ESD looms everywhere in electronic work areas - floors, chairs, work surfaces, packaging materials, plastics and papers all give rise to static electricity.

Actum Electronics has installed over 2000m2 of SD (Static Dissipative) flooring at Microtronix’s facility in Randburg, in their surface mount area as well as their manufacturing floor to combat ESD. Microtronix CEO Michael Goodyer says “Actum has successfully installed a number of antistatic floors in our Randburg facility, providing successful protection against ESD.”

SD flooring is a hard wearing homogenous contact sheet or tile floor coverings engineered for ESD protection.  This type of flooring has been engineered for use where static control is required, but the resistance level of the floor does not need to be as low as that provided by a conductive floor.  SD floor coverings are chemically treated to discharge static electricity and must be used in a controlled environment with a relative humidity of more than 40%. Typical areas of use are in electronics manufacturing, operating theatres, computer areas, instrument control rooms, repair centres and production areas.


Other types of ESD flooring available are EC and RoF. Electrostatic Conductive (EC) floorcoverings contain carbon and discharge electricity more quickly and can be used in less controlled environments. In controlled environments, they would be used in sensitive electrical assembly areas as well as explosive manufacturing areas. RoF flooring is predominantly carbon and is used in explosive handling areas and in the mining industry.


At Microtronix, a conductive aluminium strip was placed on the cement sub-floor in the manufacturing area.  As concrete is a poor conductor of electricity, this type of flooring needs to be laid using a conductive carbon based adhesive to glue down the vinyl sheeting, and this is then earthed to drain the discharge. The flooring was installed in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions governing such flooring, as well as standard BS 8203:1996.

The Polyflor ESD range of flooring has been specifically engineered to combat static at the source, by facilitating a uniform flow of static electricity directly to a ground point. The Polyflor range covers all major applications, and includes SD, EC and conductive ROF floorings, each of which combines static control properties with hard wearing and decorative qualities. Installation is critical and for this reason, Polyflor has partnered with the Altico division of Actum Electronics as its ESD flooring installer of choice. Actum offers a comprehensive range of static control solutions and conducts audits of premises prior to specification. They install flooring and then finally test the flooring and provide certification. Actum also offers ESD training, which enables employees to gain a better understanding of the basics of ESD, ESD standards, procedures and handling.

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