Category Archives: ESD Bags

What is a Faraday Cage?

lightning-659917_960_720[1]A Faraday cage or Faraday shield is an enclosure formed by conducting material or by a mesh of such material. Such an enclosure blocks external static and non-static electric fields. Faraday cages are named after the English scientist Michael Faraday, who invented them in 1836. An impressive demonstration of the Faraday cage effect is that of an aircraft being struck by lightning. This happens frequently, but does not harm the plane or passengers. The metal body of the aircraft protects the interior. For the same reason, a car may be a safe place to be in a thunderstorm.


Protektive Pak Impregnated Corrugated Box with lid

ESD control products that provide a Faraday Cage or shielding include Statshield® Metal-In and Metal-Out Shielding Bags, Protektive Pak™ impregnated corrugated with shielding layer when using a lid, and Conductive Totes. Statshield® ESD Smocks creates a Faraday Cage effect around the torso and arms of the operator and shields charges from the operator’s clothing from damaging ESD sensitive devices. (Technically, suppressing the electrical field from clothing worn underneath).



There are standard tests measuring the energy penetration of electrostatic discharges to the interior. The Shielding test method per Packaging standard ANSI/ESD S541 is ANSI/ESD STM11.31 and the required limit is less than 50 nanoJoules of energy.

ESD shielding packaging is to be used particularly when transporting or storing ESD sensitive items outside an ESD Protected Area. Per Packaging standard ANSI/ESD S541 section 6.2 Outside an EPA “Transportation of sensitive products outside of an EPA shall require packaging that provides:

  1. Low charge generation.
  2. Dissipative or conductive materials for intimate contact.
  3. A structure that provides electrostatic discharge shielding.”

Definitions from the ESD Association Glossary ESD ADV1.0 include: Faraday cage “A conductive enclosure that attenuates a stationary electrostatic field.”

Electrostatic discharge (ESD) shield “A barrier or enclosure that limits the passage of current and attenuates an electromagnetic field resulting from an electrostatic discharge.”

Electrostatic shield “A barrier or enclosure that limits the penetration of an electrostatic field.”

Note: the ESD Association sells most documents, however, the Packaging standard ANSI/ESD S541 and the Glossary ESD ADV1.0 are free downloads from (click Standards and then Documents, scroll down to find documents that can be downloaded at no charge).

How to Properly Use An ESD Shielding Bag

A basic principle of ESD control in a manufacturing environment is that ESD susceptible items should only be removed from ESD protective packaging when they are in an ESD protected area (EPA). Most EPAs are made up of “Islands” of control; the packaging / materials handling system must provide proper protection for ESD susceptible items during transport and storage outside those “islands” of control. When moving ESD susceptible items outside an EPA, it is necessary for the product to be packaged in closed ESD Shielding Packaging.


Tip# 1 – Not a Worksurface

Do not use a shielding bag as an ESD worksurface. Although a shielding bag is safe to use around ESD susceptible products, it is not intended to be a worksurface for product. It should be set aside or discarded after removing the product from the bag.


Tip# 2 – No Potholders or Tacos


Do not use a shielding bag as an “ESD potholder” or “ESD taco.” This type of use offers no ESD protection to the product.

Tip# 3 – Enclose Product


Shielding bags should be large enough to enclose the entire product and closed with a label or zipper style bag. 

Tip# 4 – Remove Charges


Place closed bag on an ESD worksurface before removing product to remove any charge that might have accumulated on the surface of the bag.

Tip# 5 – Don’t Over-Use


Re‐using shielding bags is acceptable so long as there is no damage to the shielding layer. Bags with holes, tears, or excessive wrinkles should be discarded.

So, are you using your ESD bags correctly?

If you have questions regarding shielding bags or ESD control, please click HERE.

Click for more information on Metal-In Shielding Bags.


What happens if you staple ESD Bags shut?


What happens if you staple ESD Bags shut? Does that damage the ESD Bag’s effectiveness? What if the ESD Bag is heat sealed shut & a staple on the seam is used to attach paperwork?


Protektive Pak ESD Shielding Bags have a layer of metalized film which creates continuous conductive enclosure or Faraday Cage to provide electrostatic shielding protecting the ESD sensitive devices placed inside the Bag. The use of stapling to close ESD Bags is counter productive and not recommended. The metal staple provides a conductive path from the outside of the ESD Bag to the inside. The use of a metal staple would undermine the effectiveness of the ESD Bag making a conductive path for charges outside the Bag to charge outside the Bag to charge or discharge to ESD sensitive components inside the Bag.

To close the ESD Bag, it is recommended to heat seal, or use Protektive Pak ESD Labels after the opening of the bag has been folded over.

To view Protektive Pak ESD Labels Click Here

Or to view Protektive Pak Antistatic Tape Click Here

Carefully locating the staple to only the seam of the Protektive Pak Statshield® Bag would theoretically make it part of the “continuous conductive enclosure” and be acceptable. However, we are not aware of any end user using this method and cannot recommend it. The staple would be an exposed conductor that could charge or discharge to ESD sensitive devices.

To ask an ESD Question Click Here.