Different Types of ESD Flooring for Data Centres & Server Rooms

Data centres house many sensitive equipment that play a crucial role in their operations. Given the significance of protecting such equipment, companies must exercise utmost caution

While flooring is often overlooked, ESD Flooring for data centres can be a critical aspect of safeguarding the assets within the data centre.

What Is The Effectiveness of Static-Control Flooring Based On?

Ability to Inhibit Static Regardless of Traffic, Maintenance and Humidity

The performance of static-control flooring significantly hinges on its capacity to consistently prevent static electricity, irrespective of traffic volume, humidity levels, or the footwear types worn by individuals in the space.

The prevention of body voltage generation (BVG), is precisely evaluated using the ANSI/ESD S97.2 test method. For a thorough assessment, evaluations are carried out with and without static-control footwear, providing an accurate gauge of the flooring’s ability to mitigate static electricity across diverse conditions.

The Intrinsic Ability Of the Flooring System To be Grounded

Evaluating the effectiveness of static control flooring crucially involves assessing its capacity for grounding or creating a traceable ground path. This factor is especially vital in settings where static discharge could harm sensitive equipment.

The floor’s electrical conductivity, essential for establishing a ground path, is precisely measured through the ANSI/ESD S7.1 test method. For accurate and consistent results, testing involves preconditioning samples at humidity levels below 20%.

In the case of ESD carpeting, the testing rigour extends to both new and worn samples to ensure that foot traffic, maintenance, or wear and tear maintain the flooring’s long-term ability to provide a consistent and reliable groundable path.

Typical Data Flooring Options to Determine What Is the Right Fit for Your Server Room

Typical Data Flooring Options to Determine What Is the Right Fit for Your Server Room

Rubber Flooring

Rubber flooring is anti static flooring material is celebrated for its minimal maintenance needs and outstanding durability. It is also adaptable to a wide range of footwear, setting it apart from other flooring choices that might require particular types of shoe materials.

However, it’s essential to consider that rubber flooring might take longer to install compared to other types, and its higher initial cost might only align with some budgets.

Vinyl Flooring

Vinyl flooring is also suitable for data centres, thanks to its durability and resistance to wear and tear, making it a dependable option. It’s also user-friendly when it comes to installation.

However, potential challenges include the risk of uneven surfaces and the difficulty of replacement owing to the strong adhesive used.

While vinyl flooring offers an economical solution for data centres, regulatory requirements for specific types of employee footwear might render it less suitable. Furthermore, for those handling sensitive equipment, wearing static dissipative safety shoes is crucial for proper protection.

Resin Flooring

Resin flooring is a popular choice for data centres due to its high chemical resistance and seamless surface.

This makes it easy to clean and maintain, which is essential for these types of facilities. It also has the added benefit of being highly durable, able to withstand heavy machinery and equipment without showing signs of wear or damage.

Additionally, resin flooring can be customized with anti-static properties, making it ideal for use in data centres where sensitive electronics are present. However, the initial cost may only align with larger budgets.

Concrete Flooring

Concrete flooring is also a commonly used anti-static flooring option. It is more affordable compared to other materials, providing long-lasting durability with minimal upkeep. However, its porous nature can cause dust accumulation on equipment.

Installing adequate air circulation systems is essential to minimise dust-related problems. However if the concrete is then polished, this will create a base that is dust free for many years to come.

Special Note: Carpets

Choosing carpeting for data centres poses significant risks due to its propensity for generating static electricity and producing lint that can clog heat sinks.

Carpets not only pose a direct threat to electronic equipment but also significantly increase the risk of fire during catastrophic equipment failures compared to other flooring options for data centres.

If replacing the carpet in your data centre isn’t feasible right now, you are strongly advised to install an anti-static lining as a short-term measure.

This step can help mitigate the dangers associated with carpeting. At the same time, you plan for a more durable flooring solution that will enhance your data centre infrastructure’s long-term safety and efficiency.

ESD Flooring

Among the myriad flooring solutions available, ESD flooring stands out for its unparalleled performance. Tailored to meet the specific flooring needs of data centres, ESD delivers unmatched effectiveness, durability, and cost-efficiency compared to other options.

Its unique composition efficiently neutralises electrostatic discharge, protecting delicate electronic devices from harm. Furthermore, ESD flooring systems prevent static electricity buildup, ensuring a safer environment.

Durability and Maintenance

ESD flooring is designed to meet the demanding needs of data centres, enduring heavy foot traffic, machinery movement, and other abrasive activities with resilience. This ensures the flooring’s integrity and exceptional performance.

Data centres prioritise efficiency, making ESD flooring an ideal match. Its low maintenance demands save time and resources, allowing easy cleaning with a broom or mop.

Cost-effective

Investing in ESD flooring solutions is not just a measure of protection but also a wise financial decision. With its exceptional durability and longevity, this flooring product offers a significant return on investment.

Its ability to withstand wear and tear, combined with low maintenance requirements, reduces repair and replacement costs over time.

Choosing The Right Static Control Flooring for Your Data Centre or Server Room

Choosing The Right Static Control Flooring for Your Data Centre or Server Room

Selecting the right data centre flooring is an important decision that impacts operational efficiency and equipment safety. Here’s what you should have in mind:

  • Only static-dissipative and conductive floors can be grounded
  • Industry standards for data Centers and server rooms require floors to Measure above 150,000 Ohms (1.5 x 10E5) and less than 1,000,000,000 (1.0 x 10E9)
  • Any effective static-control floor can be verified with an ohm meter to determine the electrical resistance of the flooring material
  • Static-dissipative and conductive floors should be inherently conductive
  • The floor should reduce static electricity, regardless of relative humidity
  • The floor must inhibit static buildup in real-world conditions without static-free shoes or shoe straps and eliminate static with special footwear
  • Never assume that a shock-free environment means a static-free environment

Floors That Fail to Prevent Static Generation in All Environmental Conditions

HPL – High-Pressure laminates

Manufactured under high pressure and temperature, HPL features a hard surface that is resistant to wear. However, its major drawback is the failure to prevent static generation under various conditions, posing a risk in data centres where static discharge can harm electronic components.

Despite its resistance to scratches and impacts, HPL’s poor static dissipation renders it a less optimal choice for environments needing strict static control.

SDT Vinyl Tile

Static Dissipative Tile (SDT) flooring, often used in data centres for its cost-effectiveness and perceived static control capabilities, faces challenges in consistently preventing static generation under various conditions.

Despite being designed to dissipate static better than standard commercial floors, SDT may only sometimes meet the strict standards of high-tech environments. Its effectiveness varies with humidity, installation quality, and wear over time, potentially failing to protect sensitive electronics from static discharge.

Low KV Carpet Tile

Low KV carpet tiles are promoted for their static-dissipative qualities, offering a potential solution for spaces needing minimal static control. They aim to lower electrostatic discharge (ESD) to protect electronic equipment environments.

However, in practice, more than these tiles are needed for comprehensive static prevention, especially in critical areas like data centres. Their effectiveness is often overrated, with performance heavily influenced by environmental factors such as humidity and temperature.

This makes them unreliable for protecting sensitive equipment. Moreover, their tendency to gather dust and contaminants reduces their suitability for the stringent cleanliness required in high-tech environments.

Conductive Generation 2 Epoxy

Conductive Generation 2 Epoxy flooring creates a seamless, tough surface is praised for its static control and durability, making it a great option for data centres and server rooms. However, it often fails to prevent static generation consistently under various conditions.

Despite its design for superior conductivity and wear resistance, real-world performance can be unpredictable due to factors like incorrect installation, mix variations, and environmental changes.

This unpredictability risks the safety of sensitive electronic equipment, as it may only sometimes provide the reliable static control needed.

Conductive Floors With a Low-Density Distribution Conductive Granules

Floors with a low density of conductive granules offer an innovative solution for electrostatic discharge (ESD) management in sensitive areas but often fail to prevent static across various conditions effectively.

The sparse distribution of granules limits their ability to dissipate static electricity evenly, especially over large areas or in environments with strict static control needs. This inconsistency can pose risks in critical settings like data centres, where static events can damage electronic components.

Despite their theoretical promise, the combined challenges of granule density, installation errors, and environmental factors make these floors a less reliable option for stringent ESD protection.

FAQs

What is the best floor for a server room?

The best flooring for a data centre or a server room requires materials that offer reliable static control, durability, and easy maintenance. Despite the limitations of HPL, SDT, low KV carpet tiles, and other less effective options, high-density conductive epoxy flooring systems stand out.

Specifically engineered for electrostatic discharge (ESD) protection, they perfectly balance static dissipation, durability, and chemical resistance.

When correctly installed and maintained, these systems offer consistent performance under various conditions, ensuring optimal protection for critical IT equipment against static damage.

How thick is ESD flooring?

ESD flooring thickness varies based on material and design, ranging from less than 2 mm for thin coatings to over 3 mm for thicker, high-performance systems like epoxy or rubber-based mats tailored for high static control areas.

The ideal thickness depends on environmental conditions, traffic levels, and the need for durability alongside static control.

What is the minimum distance from ESD?

The required distance from Electrostatic Discharge sensitive or Protected Areas (EPA) can vary by organisation but generally involves maintaining enough space to prevent static electricity from reaching sensitive devices through effective ESD protection methods, including grounding and dissipative materials.

This distance, often determined by the ESD Protected Area’s layout and measures, ensures personnel and equipment are in a zone with strict static control. For specific requirements, you can consult ESD control standards like ANSI/ESD S20.20, which provide detailed guidance for various operational settings.

In which conditions is ESD the highest threat?

ESD is a significant threat in environments like cleanrooms, electronic manufacturing and assembly areas, testing labs, and server rooms, where exposed electronic components are at risk of damage from static electricity.

The risk increases in dry conditions, which promote static charge build-up. Direct handling of electronic parts, where human interaction can cause significant electrostatic discharge, and activities that involve movement or friction of insulative materials (e.g., plastic wrappings, containers, or movement across certain types of floor) heighten the risk.

Consequently, sectors such as semiconductors, aerospace, and telecommunication, which depend on the integrity of electronic components, need to adopt thorough static control measures to minimise these risks effectively.

Our website uses cookies to provide you the best experience. However, by continuing to use our website, you agree to our use of cookies.

Get A Free Quote
Close