An antistatic bag is a simple but vital piece of equipment for any major electronics manufacturing company.
They are generally used for shipping electrical components which are prone to damage caused by things like electrostatic discharge.
That type of discharge is the sudden electric current that flows between two objects at different electrical potentials. It is dangerous as it could potentially cause damage to important electronic equipment.
The bags themselves are plastic and will have distinctive colours to denote whether they are metallised film or polyethylene.
Due to the critical need for protection against mechanical and electrostatic damage, various layers of protection are employed within the bags.
These extra layers can include a PET film bag, polyethylene bubble wrap and pink poly foam.
The bags are always slightly conductive. This creates the anti-static effect as it forms a protective cage around the item.
This protective cage is known as a faraday cage and the main hob it does is protect any localised charges being deposited onto the device while the bag is being handled in transit.
It is vital that the bags are only ever opened at static-free workstations; otherwise the hard work of keeping the device free form potential contaminants will have been wasted.
Other antistatic items that are used within the electronics industry include anti-static garments or clothing.
Similar to the way in which the antistatic bags work, they are designed to prevent any damage to electrical components and to prevent fires when working with potentially flammable liquids and gases.
Items such as these are essential in the successful transfer of electronic components around the globe. Without them, the industry would have to deal with numerous issues of potential contamination.