Electronics Manufacturing Meets Additive Manufacturing with Electrostatic Safe Material


Additive Manufacturing Materials in an Ever-Changing Industry

As the additive manufacturing industry grows and new technologies emerge, new materials are constantly developed. In this series, we'll take a look at a selection of specialty and staple materials in this rapidly developing field.


Electrostatic Discharge

Electrostatic discharge (ESD) materials fill a vital role in industry by protecting against static electricity hazards. Unchecked, static electricity can damage electronics and pose a substantial risk as an ignition source. According to the National Fire Prevention Agency, almost 280 industrial fires are started by static electricity every year.


How it Works

ESD materials are typically insulative plastics infused with carbon nanotubes that provide a weak path through which electrons can flow. This allows static charges to naturally dissipate as they form, rather than accumulating until they’re powerful enough to cause problems. Even though they can dissipate individual electrons, ESD plastics are still insulative.


Applications

Due to ESD Plastic's insulative and static dissipative properties, it can protect against both static charges and electric current. ESD Materials are ideal for electronics housings because they allow the entire fixture to a


ct as a grounding path without the weight and manufacturing cost of metal housings, and they don’t require extra insulation between the electronic components and the housing.


In addition, applications involving flammable materials benefit from the use of ESD. Oils, flammable solvents, and metal powders can all be ignited by static shock, which is a serious safety concern. ESD plastics can simplify safety when used in funnels, mixing devices, and other tooling for working with flammable materials.


3D Printing with ESD

Combining ESD with additive manufacturing yields a powerful set of capabilities. 3D printing allows prototype housings and custom fixtures to be made at a significantly lower cost than milling and with practically zero overhead when compared with injection molding. Complex internal features like three-dimensional fluid paths, turbulence-inducing lattice structures, and even one-piece flexible valves can be streamlined and manufactured easier with the power of additive manufacturing.


Conclusion

Electrostatic discharge materials and additive manufacturing can be powerful tools when combined to mitigate the dangers of static electricity, while streamlining your manufacturing process.


To learn more about 3D printing with ESD and other materials, email us at info@innosek.com or call +1 (716) 466-6735

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