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ESD Protective packaging

Definition of the types of packaging

61340-5-1 defines three types of packaging - intimate, proximity, and secondary packaging:



Intimate packaging

Packaging material which may make contact with the ESDS

Proximity packaging

Does not make contact with the ESDS, but may enclose one or more ESDS

Secondary packaging

Mainly used to give physical protection, is kept away from ESDS and is not allowed in the EPA.

Warning labels (compliant with 61340-5-1) must appear on all packages containing ESDS. If removed for access, they must be replaced.

When unwrapping a package containing sensitive devices, it is important to remove packaging as far as the ESD protective packaging layer that bears the ESD symbol. This layer must only be removed within an EPA.

Secondary packaging, such as polythene bags, cardboard boxes, jiffy bags etc. must not be taken into an EPA as they can be the source of electrostatic charge and ESD.

Packaging used in the EPA

Packaging brought into the EPA must not have an insulating outer surface. It must allow charge to dissipate to EPA ground. Secondary packaging must not be brought into the EPA.  

Packaging used to protect ESDS inside the EPA


Intimate packaging

Proximity packaging

Powered ESDS

Use low charging and dissipative material 
(> 108
W )
Use low charging and shielding, conductive or dissipative material.

Non-powered ESDS

Use low charging and conductive or dissipative material.


Use packaging suitable for ESDS, or low charging.

If a material has a surface resistance of >109 W, charge on the surface must decay, returning the surface potential from 1000V to 100V in less than 2 seconds. Surface resistivity less than 104 W ("hard ground") is allowed at the discretion of the ESD Coordinator.

Packaging material resistances must be maintained to the highest and lowest humidities expected under operational conditions.

All components, tools or materials that are not made of EPA compliant material, should be packed in low charging and dissipative, or conductive, materials before transport into the EPA.

Packaging used outside the EPA

An ESDS transported outside the EPA must be protected by a low charging and dissipative (or conductive, if non-powered) layer of intimate packaging around the ESDS. This must be further surrounded by shielding proximity packaging. 

Some packaging, such as shielding bags, combine the intimate and proximity shielding packaging functions. At the time of writing, hielding bags are the only commonly available packaging that has approved shielding characteristics for protection of ESD sensitive components outside the EPA.

Packaging used to protect ESDS outside the EPA


Intimate packaging

Proximity packaging

Powered ESDS

Use low charging and dissipative material (> 108 W )

Use shielding packaging.

Non-powered ESDS

Use low charging and conductive or dissipative material.


Use packaging suitable for ESDS, or low charging.


Definitions of packaging material types

In 61340-5-1 & 2, the following definitions apply to packaging materials:

Packaging material


Low charging material

Material which has properties which minimise charge generation


A barrier or enclosure which attenuates the energy from an electrostatic discharge, reducing the energy transmitted from a 1000V human body model test discharge to 50nJ or less.


Packaging which has a surface resistance between 102 W and 105 W


Packaging which has a surface resistance between 105 W and 1011 W


Packaging which has a surface resistance of 1011 W or greater

A very useful article on ESD packaging is given here

Terms and conditons

Terms and conditions of use of the ESD Guide

Reality of ESD Seminar

A great introduction to ESD for all personnel.

Achieving a highly effective ESD program

"From nil knowledge to budding expert in two days" as one delegate put it! An excellent seminar for anyone who is implementing or maintaining an ESD Program.

Site ESD Healthcheck

When you want an independent opinion on the state of your facility, or want to make improvements. Our expert spends a day with you on your site and sends you a comprehensive report.

How we can help

Just a few of the ways we can help you get the best from your ESD program.

Where to get standards

Where you can get the 61340-5-1 and other standards.