Working Groups

The working groups of the ESD FORUM e.V. serve to work on technical and scientific problems within the objectives of the association. Corresponding problems are typically a result of industrial practice.

The work in the working groups of the ESD FORUM e.V. is based on the compliance guideline (German version only) of the association, which is binding for members and contributors of the association.

Working groups are founded upon request by the steering council, which defines the objective, budget, time schedule and nominates the leader of the new working group. The members of these working groups include members of the association and also invited external experts as needed. The members of the steering council can provide advisory support to the working groups.

The leaders of the working groups organize regular meetings in coordination with the members of their working groups. The meetings can be held both online or in-person. The leaders report to the steering council and at the general meetings of the association on the status and progress of their working groups and submit the final results of their working groups to the steering council for further consideration.

The association is the owner of the results obtained by its working groups and can publish the results, e.g. in terms of guidelines on the website of the association.

Please use our contact form, if you would like to make suggestions, give comments or are interested in participating in a working group.

Active Working Groups

ESD-Control in Vehicle Assembly

Lead: Reinhold Gärtner

ESD-sensitive components can be damaged immediately or latently by uncontrolled electrostatic discharges. ESD-sensitive components (ESDS) are for example integrated circuits (ICs) and assembled printed circuit boards (PCBs) without housing, as well as electronic components und sub-components, e.g. electronic control units (ECU) with exposed connectors.

In vehicle assembly environments many insulating – and hence highly chargeable materials – are applied. In addition, insufficiently grounded personnel can charge up to several thousand volts. As a consequence, the risk of ESD damage to sensitive components is addressed by corresponding protection measures of these components. The effectiveness of these on-board protection measures is verified by system-level ESD tests up to several thousand volts during their qualification. In addition, discharges may also occur when cables or wiring harnesses are connected to electronic components or sub-components. These discharges are called cable-discharge events (CDE) and still lack a renowned qualification method. As a result, the risk of cable-discharge events has to be addressed by measures to limit the charging of cables and wiring harnesses.

The state-of-the-art ESD test models cannot address all real-world ESD threats. It is therefore the goal of this working group to work out and maintain a guideline to reduce the threats and damage of ESD-sensitive components due to discharge phenomena during vehicle assembly and support vehicle manufacturers with the implementation of corresponding protection measures.

ESD-Risk Assessment of Machines and Installations

Lead: Prof. Peter Jacob

Electrostatic Discharge (ESD) Protected Areas (EPAs) are commonplace in the production of microelectronic devices, today. The detailed requirements of EPAs are ruled by numerous recognized national and international standards, for example, IEC 61340 (with all of its parts). These standards give detailed specifications and recommendations on the electrical dissipation of flooring, dissipative footwear, coats, gloves, measures for controlled discharge, EPA access controls and so on, in order to establish an effective “ESD hygiene”. By means of standardized audits, the continuous compliance of EPAs with these specifications and recommendations is assessed.

Closer examinations and the experiences made in recent years have shown that the occurrence of ESD issues has clearly shifted from manual to automated handling processes of ESD sensitive devices (ESDS). There are only few cases left that still involve a manual handling of ESDS during their manufacturing and assembly processes. Most of these processes have been automated and are executed by robotic machinery, today. In the past, these machines were almost completely made of metal and were driven by electric motors, which inherently ensured a proper grounding of nearly the entire installation. However, the construction of these machines became subject to a change: Many electric motor drives have been replaced by vacuum or compressed-air drives, metal rails have been replaced by Teflon or other plastic materials with low abrasion, metal cogs and chains gave way to non-ESD-conforming toothed belts, and metal surfaces were anodized or covered with abrasion-resistant protective lacquer, sometimes only for design reasons. At the same time, the process speed (throughput) increased significantly. As a result, an unclear number of new automation-induced ESD risks has been created, which are neither covered by the few related ESD standards nor have they attracted the attention of many ESD coordinators.

The broad variety of machines and installations prevents the specification of mandatory standards for the ESD risk assessment of robotic processes and procedures. Consequently, such risk assessments require both a sound knowledge of manifold non-trivial electrostatic effects and an engineering approach to identify critical issues of machines and installations. In addition, the knowledge about related measurement techniques is indispensable.

It is the goal of this working group to work out and maintain a guideline to describe the systematic approach of these risk assessments and provide additional hints, detailed explanations and proposals for possible corrective actions in order to provide committed ESD coordinators with a practical tool for their daily work.

Planned Working Groups

Dissipative Materials

Lead: Dr. Joachim Reiner

"Dissipative materials" are materials, that ensure a soft discharge of charged electronic components on contact, without causing any damage to these components. During handling of electronic components these materials can therefore help to avoid many ESD problems.

It is the goal of this working group to develop suitable measurement methods, to reliably determine the required dissipative material properties. Furthermore, it shall be investigated, how to reproducibly manufacture materials with dissipative properties.

ESD in Electronic Systems

Lead: Prof. Peter Jacob


Dealing with ESD during Operation

Lead: Dr. Karim T. Kaschani

Every now and then, there is a demand of electrical system manufacturers for electronic components (in particular ICs) with integrated protection against ESD during their operation. These requirements are completely different from the usual HBM and CDM requirements needed for a safe handling of electronic components during series production.

It is the goal of this working group to work out a guideline for the manufacturers of both electrical systems and electronic components with recommendations for dealing with ESD requirements for the operation of electrical systems and electronic components.

This includes the differentiation of ESD during operation (powered ESD, PESD) from other stress or interferences, a review and assessment of todays PESD requirements with reference to the given state-of-the-art, the consideration of the components at risk, the investigation of transfer paths and characteristics of PESD, the requirements for external and integrated PESD protection as well as recommendations for avoidance or decoupling of PESD and PESD protection on system and component level.

EOS in Vehicles

Lead: Reinhold Gärtner