Walking, ESD and Good Vibrations

Written by Albert Greenhut

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I remember a time when we walked to get somewhere. Now, over the past year my life has been controlled by a little electronic bracelet that helps “motivate” me to keep on walking until I feel that much anticipated, and much looked forward to vibration telling me my step goal for the day has been met. I remember reading an article in the paper about a guy who, once he bought one of these step monitors that he started walking, and then it became an obsession to walk a little more every day. As someone who just increased his daily goal level by 1500 steps, I don’t laugh at the author anymore (or think how sad of a life he must have being controlled by an electrical bracelet). Then again, anyone who checks their ESD grounding strap daily, or multiple times during the day certainly understands the concept.

Many years ago, one of my friends tried to talk me into biking through Yellowstone. I responded back, but we could see so much more if we drove. His response, no, you miss things when you are going fast, the secret to seeing more is going slower. Going from a bike to walking (because my bracelet does not give me enough steps when I bike) I have learned to slow down even more. In the Spring, it allows you to really see and appreciate the flowers and budding trees, in the summer to hear the insects and smell the freshly cut grass. In the Fall, you get to really appreciate the colors and the rush of kicking leaves. In the Winter, you discover the amazing world of ice, snow (you begin to understand why Inuit people had so many names for snow) and you begin to think. Life was simpler when things were slower, but times have changed. Even though we may want to slow down the pace of our day, the speed and complexity of the electronics that we are working with is increasing at a rapid rate, and getting smaller. One thing that has not changed is that these electronics still need high quality protection, even during this cold, and low humidity time of year.

It is for these reasons, to protect even the smallest, fastest, most ESD sensitive items that we have our full product line of ESD protective packaging products. We have often discussed the need to have effective ESD protection even at low humidity levels, caused by forced heat, or high altitudes or just the low ambient humidity in the winter. Even though there may be snow on the ground, the humidity levels in our offices, factories, warehouses and storage/transport areas are or can be dangerously low. Standard ESD bags begin to have issues maintaining their ESD values as RH levels drop below 12-15%. That is why our BlacStat™ and Static Intercept® technologies are so key. They both work and their ESD values remain unchanged from RH levels 100% down to 0%, making them indispensable for protecting devices during low humidity times of year (as well as the rest of the year as well, since their ESD properties are permanent). So, in the world of fast, it’s nice to know that there are still bags that can handle the fast and still work, even when we want to go slow. So, go take a walk, enjoy the satisfaction that you get from feeling that familiar buzz on your wrist, knowing that your products are safe, whether they are on a shelf or in the back of a truck with all of the road vibrations that go along with it. To learn more, go to our website, www.Purestat.com

Humidity, Winter and ESD Safe Packaging

Written by Albert Greenhut

We experience static electricity everyday – more so this time of year. For example, walking along a carpeted floor in a heated room during winter generates sufficient static electricity to give us a rather shocking experience when we touch the door knob. While this sudden discharge of static electricity does not result in any harm to the human body, it can be very damaging to electronic devices which are sensitive to electrostatic discharge (ESD). It is possible for electronic devices to be damaged by ESD that cannot even be felt buy humans – we need at least 7500 volts to be able to sense an ESD event. The problem is that electronics can and are damaged by very low levels of ESD, high end electronics get damaged by as little as 50 volts, or less. Don’t worry, remember its not the voltage that kills you its the amps – but for electronics its the voltage and the heat that it generates that fry out our electronics and other items.

So why do we feel these ESD discharges more in the winter? Certainly if you have a dog or especially a cat, winter can be challenging as you walk across the carpet and reach to pet your cat, you both jump from the electrical shock – perhaps the cat more so since they were neither expecting it and often it can be on their nose.

As the cat example states, humidity does have a significant effect on developing or generating induced charge. It is not recommended to have relative humidity (RH) that is too low, say, below 30%. ESD control becomes especially challenging. A relative humidity between 40% to 60% is recommended for the typical assembly areas. The chart below explains the difference in the development of Static Electricity in low and higher humidity.
Means of static generation                          RH 10-20%               RH 65-90%

Walking across a carpet                                 35,000 V                     1,500 V
Walking on a vinyl tile floor                          12,000 V                         250 V
Vinyl envelopes for work instructions         7,000 V                         600 V
Worker at bench                                                  6,000 V                         100 V

So, we are into the dangerous time of year for Static Electricity. Good thing that Purestat has you and your products covered. Standard ESD (anti-static) packaging becomes less effective at protecting electronics as humidities drop, often becoming insulative as RH drops below 12-15%. This is extremely dangerous for electronics. Purestat manufactures BlacStat which is permanently ESD protective all the way down to 0% RH. BlacStat’s protection against static electricity is completely humidity independent from humidity. Purestat also works with its partner Engineered Materials Inc. (www.staticintercept.com) to produce Static Intercept, packaging that combines permanent, humidity independent ESD protection with long term, non-contaminating corrosion protection. So, Purestat has your products covered and protected no matter what the humidity is.  2015-good-hands-with-purestat-2Learn more at: www.Purestat.com

Food Safety, Packaging and Fireflies

Written by Albert Greenhut

firefliesChasing fireflies was always something to look forward to every summer. Somehow the graceful lights were a harkening back to a simpler, less stressful, less connected time.

Firefly light isn’t just something to fascinate a child on a warm summer evening, there are real uses for it, besides for the Fireflies themselves. Before electricity, of course, firefly light had many uses. I’ve heard people around the world tell stories about using fireflies at night for reading, for biking and for walking along forest paths. But scientific discoveries about the chemistry behind firefly bioluminescence have paved the way for even wider practical applications. Fireflies’ light-producing talent has provided invaluable tools for improving public health, for facilitating innovative research, and for advancing medical knowledge.

The food industry has long used fireflies’ light reaction to detect good food gone bad — that is, food that’s contaminated by noxious bacteria and thus unsafe for human consumption. Test kits containing firefly luciferase and luciferin are used to detect the presence of ATP, a compound that’s found in all living cells; this includes any live microbes like salmonella or E. coli that might be lurking in our food. When firefly luciferase and luciferin are added, the ATP from these microbial contaminants produces visible light. The more ATP, the brighter the light, so the intensity of luminescence even reveals how many bacteria are present. Starting in the 1960s, this bioluminescent test has been able to detect even tiny amounts of microbial contamination, using very sensitive instruments to measure light production. This firefly-inspired test provides results more quickly than previous methods; it requires mere minutes instead of the days needed to detect contaminated food by growing bacterial cultures. This handy bioluminescent ATP assay, which now employs synthetic luciferase, is still widely used to ensure food safety by detecting microbial contamination in milk, soft drinks, meat and other commodities.

At Purestat we are dedicated to food packaging. We make a variety of FDA bags for lobsters, MRE’s, and other food and medical applications. We are fully vertically integrated allowing us to ensure that product is safe for the foodstuffs going in. High technology, just not as flashy as fireflies.

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