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  • Writer's pictureCraig Drabyk

ESD Flooring in MDF and IDF Rooms

Protecting valuable electronic equipment contained in MDF and IDF rooms from damage due to static electricity is critical to any organization. This starts during construction with ESD (electrostatic discharge) flooring installation. Static electricity is accumulated when people walk on flooring materials and the rush of electrical current that occurs when sensitive electronic equipment (switches, servers, PLCs, etc.) is touched, which may range from 500V to 3,000V, can cause significant damage. The ladder racks that house cabling for these electronics are separately grounded to building steel by isolated ground, as are equipment racks and cabinets.

There are two main types of ESD flooring, conductive and static dissipative. Conductive floors provide up to 1.0 megaohm resistance while dissipative floors protect electronics from currents that range between 1.0 MΩ and 100 MΩ. The type of flooring is usually selected by the electrical designer and user for the specific application.

After installation, the flooring contractor will leave grounding wires or ribbons carefully taped to a wall. Electricians will connect the tape or wires to a green #12 or #10 copper conductor, or whatever isolated grounding means is specified. The grounding conductor is then connected by CAD weld to steel beams above the ceiling or to a nearby column to ground the flooring material directly to structural steel. Connecting to electrical grounding is not recommended. The ESD flooring should be tested and documented as part of a good commissioning process.

Between isolated grounding, EDS flooring, and environmental controls, the various electronics contained in MDF and IDF rooms get the vital protection they require.

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