The Danger of Static DischargeElectrostatic discharge (ESD) can wreak havoc on a data center, causing calls to drop, computers to lockup, data to be corrupted and headsets to blow out just to name a few. We experience static discharge as an annoyance – something that makes our hair frizz out, our clothes cling a little tighter or maybe shocks our fingers a bit. To the delicate electronic devices powering our modern phones, computers and telephony, equipment static discharge is paralyzing. A mere 25 volts of ESD can cause an electrical device to be damaged or destroyed.
Not All Anti Static Flooring Options Help Data CentersThe reason anti static flooring for data centers is so important is because most ESD or electrostatic discharge is caused by the floors. They are the single largest source of static generation in data centers. A variety of static resistant flooring or static control flooring options are marketed as solutions to reduce the threat of ESD in data centers. Unfortunately, when it comes to anti static flooring, not all conductive floor coatings are created alike. “Antistatic” is a general term usually implying that such a coating will reduce the amount of static created between shoes and flooring. In reality, some shoes cause more static discharge than others. Without shoes specially designed to dissipate static, footwear will create static on static control flooring. All types of epoxy floor coatings generate significant static when standard shoes are worn on them. Additionally, humidity and the hardness of a floor also affect the buildup of static electricity. Some computer-grade floorings are only designed to squelch static charges to below 3,500 volts – a level low enough to go unfelt by humans but far too high to protect electrical equipment. So how can you be sure that your anti static flooring system is sufficient?
What to Look for in Anti Static FlooringUnless you want to outfit all of your employees with static control shoes, you will need to select an anti static flooring system that is uniquely designed to protect your specific facility conditions and environment. At a minimum, your floor should:
- Not generate static
- Be groundable after installation
- Have permanent static resistant properties that can provide protection amidst changing temperatures, humidity levels and foot traffic
A good anti static flooring system, like Protective Industrial Polymers’ DataSpec flooring systems, will include multiple layers of protection such as a moisture-tolerant primer, followed by a high-build epoxy intermediate coat, topped off with a high performance ESD control urethane. This type of anti static floor can adequately protect data and equipment rooms as well as general use areas incapable of tolerating electrostatic discharge.What about areas that experience heavy foot traffic or vibration from equipment? In this case, a reduced fatigue static control coating system, like PIP’s DataSpec-RF system, utilizing a moisture-tolerant primer, followed by multiple applications of a flexible copolymer coating, which is then topped off with a high performance ESD control high-solids urethane produces a resilient, chip-resistant surface. Even decorative static control flooring systems are available for areas of a facility that need protection from ESD yet aren’t housing sensitive electronic equipment such as hallways, conference rooms, bathrooms and cafeterias. PIP’s DataSpec-DS line is an example of just such a product. The critical factor in choosing an anti static flooring system is to select one that offers the right amount of protection for every area of your data center. Don’t leave the reliability and performance of your data center to chance; make sure your floor is working as hard and smart as you are to keep it safe. What have you seen in data centers when it comes to flooring? Do you know what type of flooring system is supporting your data center? When is the last time you were surprised by a jolt of static electricity?