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ESD guideline

What does ESD mean?

An electronic module is equipped with highly integrated components. Due to their design, electronic components are highly sensitive to overvoltage and thus to the discharge of static electricity. Such electronic components or modules are labeled as electrostatic sensitive devices.

The following abbreviations are commonly used for electrostatic sensitive devices:

  • ESD – Electrostatic sensitive device,
  • ESD – Electrostatic Sensitive Device as a common international designation.

Electrostatic sensitive devices can be labeled with an appropriate symbol.


Damage to ESD from touch

Electrostatic sensitive devices, ESD, can be destroyed by voltages which are far below the human perception limit. If you touch a component or electrical connections of a module without discharging any electrostatic energy, these voltages may arise.
The damage to a module by an overvoltage can often not be immediately detected and only becomes evident after an extended period of operation. The consequences are incalculable and range from unforeseeable malfunctions to a total failure of the machine or system.
Avoid touching components directly. Make sure that persons, the workstation and the packaging are properly grounded.


Every person without a conductive connection to the electrical potential of his/her surroundings can be electrostatically charged.

The material with which this person comes into contact is of particular significance. The figure shows the maximum electrostatic voltages with which a person is charged, depending on humidity and material. These values conform to the specifications of IEC 61000-4-2.


① Voltage

② Synthetic materials

③ Wool

④ Antistatic materials such as wood or concrete

⑤ Relative humidity

Grounding measures

There is no equipotential bonding without grounding. An electrostatic charge is not discharged and may damage the ESD.
Protect yourself against discharge of static electricity. When working with electrostatic sensitive devices, make sure that the person and the workplace are properly grounded.

Protective measures against discharge of static electricity

  • Disconnect the power supply before you install or remove modules which are sensitive to ESD.
  • Pay attention to good grounding:
    • When handling electrostatic sensitive devices, make sure that persons, the workstation and devices, tools and packaging used are properly grounded. This way you avoid static discharge.
  • Avoid direct contact:
    • As a general rule, do not touch electrostatic sensitive devices, except in the case of unavoidable maintenance work.
    • Hold the modules at their edge so that you do not touch the connector pins or conductor paths. This way, the discharge energy does not reach and damage the sensitive components.
    • Discharge your body electrostatically before you take a measurement at a module. Do so by touching grounded metallic parts. Always use grounded measuring instruments.

Last update: January 22, 2024