ANSI/ESD S541-2019: Standard for Packaging ESD Susceptible Items

Electrostatic sensive device in yellow, marked ANSI/ESD S541-2018 packaging to prevent ESD

Imagine taking the time to carefully package a product and then realizing later that all that work that was painstakingly put into that task was for naught. Despite one’s best efforts the product is ruined. All packaging isn’t creating equal. Yes, there is packaging that helps protect against the environment as well as other physical factors. However, some products are a little more sensitive. They need extra care. ESD susceptible items are such products, and ANSI/ESD S541-2019: Packaging Materials for the Protection of Electrostatic Discharge Susceptible Items is a way to fend off such issues.

What is an ESD Susceptible Item?

An ESD susceptible item is an item that can be harmed by conventional electrostatic energy. Commonly, they are items found inside computers. The packaging of these items is crucial to maintaining their integrity.

According to ANSI/ESD S541-2019, some of the ways that are commonly used to package items can be revamped so they work for ESD susceptible items. ANSI/ESD S541-2019 makes this point clear by using polyethylene bags as an example. “Polyethylene bags are useful packages for containing items and providing protection from physical and environmental damage. However, polyethylene bags may accumulate potentially damaging amounts of static electricity. Chemicals (antistats) may be added to polyethylene film to render it low charging.”

The Standard for Packaging ESD Susceptible Items, ANSI/ESD S541

In ANSI/ESD S541-2019, the standard classifies what is necessary to safeguard against those troublesome jolts of electrostatic discharges. It considers packaging application requirements as well as the delineation of ESD Packaging material properties. Packaging is supposed to protect the items in question. It is not supposed to be the reason it’s destroyed.

Yellow ANSI/ESD S541-2018 packaging labels
Standard caution label with text “Caution” for Electrostatic Sensitive Devices (ESD) in electronic industrial.

ANSI/ESD S541-2019 applies to packaging that is “used to store, transport, and protect ESDS electronic items during all phases of production and distribution.” It’s important to note that ANSI/ESD S541-2019 “does not address protection from EMI/RFI/EMP or protection of volatile materials.” EMI is considered to be electromagnetic interference. It happens when one device’s electromagnetic field disrupts another. RFI can be broadly defined as radio frequency interference. EMP is an electromagnetic pulse.

Changes to ANSI/ESD S541-2018 (&2019)

The previous edition of this standard, ANSI/ESD S541-2018, was a sizable revision of ANSI/S541-2008. Its changes included:

  • “Editorial and grammatical changes throughout the entire document.”
  • “Increased discussion regarding Low Charging.”
  • “Discharge shielding specification reduced from 50 nJ to 20 nJ.”
  • “Added reference to ANSI/ESD S11.4 – Bags.”
  • “Added discussion regarding electric field shielding.”
  • “Added Annex H – Electric Field Shielding.”

ANSI/ESD S541-2019 is a limited cycle revision of the previous edition, and it underwent the following alteration: “Changed ‘shall’ in Section 8.2.1 to “should” because not all packaging can be marked due to material and design.”

ANSI/ESD S5B1-2019: Packaging Materials for the Protection of Electrostatic Discharge Susceptible Items is available at the ANSI Webstore.

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2 thoughts on “ANSI/ESD S541-2019: Standard for Packaging ESD Susceptible Items
  1. Is there any requirement for indirection packing material for IC component. Example: cushion, Boxes & Carton?
    Is there any requirement for direction packing material for IC component. Example: JEDEC Tray, MBB?

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