Posts by :

ESD Tests and ESD Precautions

In our daily life we often face to Electrostatic Discharge as the rapid transfer of static electricity on the human body to another object in the form of electric current. This discharge generally do not create a negative impact on human health. However, if the object that receives the current is a sensitive equipment or dangerous material, for example a flammable substance, then the result is not so much innocent.

Electrical and electronic devices may show susceptibility against this instant and rapid discharge. ESD in the order of kilovolts, can very easily affect circuits and devices running on the order of millivolts or volts. Therefore, especially the electronic devices restricted to some specific rules are expected to show an immunity at certain level against ESD. The most widely used standard in electrical and electronic equipment, is the European Union standardEN 61000-4-2.ESD Immunity Standardorganzied under Electromagnetic Compatibility (EMC) group mainlydescribes the basic pulse shape of ESD, voltage level to be applied, application method and the test setup simulating the ESD  resulting from of the operators of electrical and electronic equipment.

Waveform of an ESD Current (EN 61000-4-2)

Waveform of an ESD Current (EN 61000-4-2)

In the previous article entitled “What is ESD?” it was mentioned that ESD can occur by direct contact discharge and also by air discharge caused by breakdown of the air between two different potential objects approaching each other. Accordingly ESD tests of the standards explain to perform two seperate tests as contact (touching) or air (approaching) discharge. In these tests, ESD generator simulates the body of an operator charged with static electricity and the rounded tipof the generator represents operators finger.

Portable ESD Generator

Portable ESD Generator

Today, considering that many electronic devices have touch screens, it is more clear to understand the importance of ESD tests, especially for end users. So how does ESD affect the electronic device? In fact, the effect can manifest itself in several different ways. First, if we consider ESD as on the order of kilovolts therefore break the insulation of air, we would not be difficult to predict the mechanical and thermal effects. Especially, in the organizationsmanufacturing electronic device or a card, the components on the card may face physical and thermalstresses and burn out if an operator touches them without any measures. ESD, by generating an electromagnetic energy around the circuit may cause sensitive circuits and components to fail by electromagnetic effects. Besides all these, ESD causing unwanted currents to flow and voltage to be induced, may directly affect the sensitive circuits. This will result as breakdown of the components, reset of the device, display faulty values or maybe completely go off.

ESD precautions should be evaluated in two categories :

Precautions to be taken in the source device or operator: The main way to prevent ESD is to prevent static electricity forming. Antistatic materials may be preferred for this. For example, to cover the floor of the working area with material that does not cause static charging, in the same way operator shoes, garments, gloves made ​​of material which does not create static electricity is a solution. Furthermore, grounding the operator or the device potential to cause static electricity will prevent to be charged and lead the charge to flow to ground under control. The ESD wrist strap which is mandatory to wear while working is used for this purpose…

Precautions to be taken on the victim device or circuits: First, if possible, covering the vulnerable devices with antistatic material can be considered as a solution. However, it is unlikely to perform this practically.So, ESD resistant component selection, designing circuit according to the rules of EMC, efficient and proper grounding, designing filters to regions likely to face ESD or before sensitive components, and most common using varistors (MOV especially) that cuts the high voltage or current wave will lead to solutions in general.

Are R & D People Unsocial??

I had shared the importance of research and development issues for companies, its position in the organization, characteristics of the manager etc. in my previous posts. What about the R & D employees?? There is an indisputable realty for companies especially showing size in the technology sector; R & D’s performance draws the fate of the company…R & D employees are in a decisive position for the companies. So what determines the performance of R & D employees??

An overall valid rule: the teams with strong team spirit are at least one step closer to success in business. So, is it the same for R & D?

The term unsocial, as the opposite expression of social is defined as “the one exhibiting non-social human behavior”. Unsocial people are the ones who can not enter or do not prefer to enter into society, thus who don’t give priority to communicate with people. Now we come accros with two questions: are the R & D people unsocial? If yes, should R & D people be social ..?

For companies working in technical fields and doing R & D in the real sense, R & D engineer’s first task is to do research and then to develop with the data they obtained. The research issue is much easier today, thanks to a miraculous tool such as internet. But still, libraries, books, publications, articles and so on are the basis of many sources of research. Research, in this context may be considered as an individual activity. When we come to development, in the new design stage it is possible to work individual, but it is impossible for a development activity to be completed without having contact with the buyers, the testers, the mechanic designers, graphicers etc..! Nevertheless, especially R & D activities that require high concentration and continuous operation, can cause to spend hours or may be days without communicating with environment…and in time, this kind can turn to be a habit or a behavior characteristics. I can briefly say that I often observed this in the teams I used to manage.

The ability to communicate in the workplace, although not a hundred percent applicable rule, is in fact parallel with the ability to communicate in daily life. An R & D person who needs a request from a collegue of his department or another department, considers this as an opportinity to chat or share something if he has a social character. But an R & D person of asocial type thinks many methods to escape from requesting something, and at last tries to finalize the subject by sending just an e-mail instead of having a direct contact.

An R & D person who doesn’t have sharings or doesn’t try to have a place in the community in his business life generally also continue to do so in private life..or vice versa, a person adopted  an unsocial life in private, exhibits a behavior that avoids communication in business life. However, work is more enjoyable for R & D people who loves to be in the community, feels pleasure from engaging in social activities with private friends and collegues. I strongly recommend using the business environment to socialize, sometimes of course..! 🙂

It is very clear that it is not mandatory for R & D people to be social like the people working at sales, marketing, public relations, corporate communication…but it is undeniable that sociability provides positive performance for R & D teams targeted the success with team spirit. Anyway, sociability feature which is optional for R & D staff is a standard and mandatory characteristics for R & D managers 🙂

R&D Management

The success of a company’s R & D activities, to a great extent depends on R & D Management. In the article entilted “R & D Organization” I had pointed out that the Top Management is the hidden executive of R & D department as part of the company. For R & D management, the company’s general policy to be followed and the location of R & D in the organization of the company have the greatest impact. But the real impact emerges with R & D department’s own organization.

The Structure of R & D

Numerous alternatives may be considered in configuration of R & D department. Management of research engineers team, management of technical experts and technicians team, management of  branch groups, divided management, single-headed management, free style working management etc. can be used as the method of management. Here, naturally the method that is most effective and most likely to the company is expected to be selected. So, the proper method is not sole for management, every company may have a different correct method of management. It is not so practicable to claim that a method used for a university or research institute’s R & D management will also work for a manufacturing company operating in the food industry. But without a shadow of a doubt we have a point, the characteristics of the R & D manager determines the fate of R & D activities

Who is R & D Manager???

R & D manager, as may be the head of a team of just three members, may also be a director who contains several departments under his management. But for both, target is research and development to be done. The manager’s most important attribute to direct toward this target is the “leadership” character. R & D manager should be a leader, thus should be able to drag along the team. Leadership character, relies on many attributes to be holding on. To be the launcher of the processes, to make coaching at every point needed, to be a role model so as to reflect his expectations and to be a mediator enough as to bring different opinions together, are the most obvious character traits.

The most widely accepted idea for some company’s managers is to select the oldest or the one who does his job best as the R & D manager… Although it works sometimes, this is a wrong and an amateur type of idea which is usually seen in small companies with a symbolic R & D department. Assigning an employee as the R&D manager just because he is the oldest, technically knows best or does his job well, but far away from leadership characteristics, will lead the R&D department to inefficiencies and  chaos;

This amateur step leads the department to inefficiency because a good researcher is lost.. moreover got dull by loading him with administrative duties and made busy. This step leads to a chaos because the R&D manager may insist on a fault that he thinks to be correct…apart from the mediator and analyst role appraised to him, he becomes the source of the conflict in the R&D team. He may become closed to any kind of technical or social idea from the team members with an approach as “I know best the technical truth, the authority is on me“. This causes among the team members to more widely accept the lacking leadership qualities of the manager, thus the weakness.

However, what is expected from R & D manager is just directing his team as a leader… Knowing the business can bring a plus in terms of operation, but it is certainly not a requirement. A good R & D manager, namely leader, can manage successfully both a textile design team or the team that develop electronic technology. A leader R & D manager can also manage succesfully a researcher who is an expert in his business and more experienced than his manager. Not only for R & D, but in  general, departments managed by a “leader” show higher performance. The subordinates who do not belive in leadership of their manager, will go on their own way at every opportunity they find…

Establishing and continuously strengthening the team spirit increases the power of R & D managers. In this regard, the most important ideas that the R&D manager inoculates to his team should be:  engineers, technicians, experts and titles so on are in opeartion just pointing out the links of the chain, to have the chain strong it had to be the team strong, the teams need to be established by possibly different job titles as rings of tightly connected together. This not only increases employee motivation, but also change the employee’s perspective, increases the sense of ownership.

Although the management style to be used can vary according to the company policy, R & D team and the sector worked in, on the basis, R & D is a matter of “project management” of specific rules. The R & D manager following a systematic process for source, time, budget and other parameters is the key to the success no matter which sector he is in. Planning, advanced targeting, but judicious estimates, in commercial terms is one of the ways that will lead to success.

In general we can say that R & D management is; not limited with sharp criteria, but a leader manager, a team with team spirit and the organization with freedom in discipline…

What is ElectroStatic Discharge, ESD?

Electrostatic Discharge, ESD, is the very fast electricity flow caused by apporaching or contacting to each other of two oppositely charged object. Besides the charged objects, the materials whose charges are seperated or polarized can also be the source of ESD. The cause of ESD is the static electricity charge. For a certain polarized object, electricity remains as potential, stationary. In case of contact with an object at different potantial, the stationary charges start to flow from one object to the other, and this is known as “discharge”. If the potential difference is too high, the discharge process doesn’t need a contact. Depending on the environment (for example air), the medium loses its insulation and becomes conducting when the sufficient distance is achieved by approaching (for air, 1 cm for a potential of 30 kV). This is called “electrical breakdown”.  What actually happens is increasw of the electrical field between the objects, inversely proportional to the distance, and to cause loose of insulation of the media.

The comb rubbing to hair, or the ballon to sweater…

So how does the static electricity that causes ESD occur? The most common form is by friction, as we know from primary school times…all of us probably have seen the experiments, electrical charging of a balloon or a comb when rubbed to hair or sweater…Or we have experienced the crackling when taking the sweater off. A sort of charging of different chemical structures by contact, also known as “triboelectric”. It can be explained as charging one object positively and the other negatively after contacting them and then seperating. The seperation of charges under high electric field can also be the base to source of ESD.

In fact, we all meet each other with ESD in our daily life. After walking on a carpet floor and reaching the door to handle, the “click” we hear and the startle response we give…we feel the same thing when we touch the metallic body of the car after we get out, or touching the metal side arms of a treadmill after running…It is undrestandable how the events occur, from the information I have outlined above. The friction of our shoes with the carpet or the clothes we wear with the seat of the car causes our body to be charged with static electircity, and when these charges find a conductive medium (the car’s chasi, door’s handle, treadmill’s arms) they immidiately flows to that object. The volume of the voice we hear or if we’re in a dark environment the intensity of the light we see depends on the amount of charge we have.

Oh My God..! I Crush..!

After the information I gave and the summary of the event, we understand that the first sentence we have after the “click” and the startle response,  “I crush..!”, is not correct J In fact the only thing is the discharge of the stationary potential we have in our body.

The other familiar event for ESD is the thunder and the lightning. The charge exchange of the static electricity charged  clouds between each other or with the ground, or say discharge. Just much more severe of the one we experience on our body, depending on the amount of the charge displaces. The charge potential of static electricity in our bodies is in the order of 20-30 thousand volts. It is important to know that this amount is hundreds of million volts in lightning..!

Although the ESD we face everyday doesn’t have a considerable threat to human health, it is source of fault especially for sensitive electronic devices, and there must be some precautions. Some sufficient countermeasures must be taken to remain the immunity of the devices working in the orders of millivolts, against voltages in the range of kilovolts. The damaging effect of the ESD may simply be a distortion on a screen, but may also cause misfiring of an explosive battle assembly. Now it must be more clear to understand the importance of an ESD formed between your finger and the doorknob, if you are in a place where the flammable and explosive materials are waiting just for a small spark for ignition.


Are you a Manager or a Leader??

We all know that “Management” and “Leadership” are different concepts from each other but complement of each other at the same time. Management, often, is just a title given… So just a task given by the authority to direct a particular unit, a company even to govern the country… Leadership is not a title that can be given, unfortunately, it is a character. Many times managers are not selected by looking at his leadership qualification, but a manager that has leadership qualities not only manages but also directs and leads community at the same time. There are two points of view on this subject :

According to leadership definiton that has gone on for a long time, leader is the person who is followed.

On the other hand since the recent past, leader is considered as the one who properly organizes the community and runs towards the common goal together with the community he directs.

A leader manager, with no doubt, should be a “pattern” or “role model”…a role model who is listened to and followed what he does… Waiting a business discipline from employees whose manager doesn’t have that discipline can only be a funny joke 🙂 . A manager who usually attends late to meetings can not be the authority anymore for the meetings he arranges in his department. Similarly, the manager’s working hours can be flexible compared to employees, but disuse of this benfit and being sensitive to working hours and company’s general rules leads to gain respect. Team members of such a disciplined manager take him as a reference, respect and rarely break the rules of the company as shift hour fit etc.

Other important issue managers should pay attention is being at an equal distance to all employees or team members. If the leader manager is at the center of a circle rather than an ellipse, he can omit the weakest link of the chain while managing the probable conflicts in the team. The manager who has an image of “equal distance to everybody” and objective point of view, will gain the most difficult to achieve, but an essential character, inspiring confidence.

Perhaps the most important point, a lead manager who is seen as a role model on the team, creates new leaders with this character …