Q) What are your thoughts on the use of regular Scotch tape for sealing static dissipative ESD bags? I am developing an ESD process and this question came up in one of our review meetings and we could not fully support saying YES or NO.
A) Normal office tape should not be recommended for use in sealing bags. The plain tape you mention is often used in classes and by consultants to demonstrate static charge generation. A typical roll of plain office tape will produce electrical field values of 8kV to 12kV at 1 inch when a piece is unrolled quickly. That does not sound like something that should be used in an ESD protected area. That being said, it most certainly should not be used on static dissipative bags since these types of materials do not provide any level of electrical field shielding. You probably could get away with sealing static discharge shielding bags (metallize film) or most moisture barrier type bags since they have a metal layer to provide shielding and the electrical field from the charged tape would be attenuated on the outside surface of the bag. However, the simple answer to your question would be No, not a good idea. Your ESD control areas should be evaluated for insulators and only process essential insulators allowed. A process essential insulator could include tape but to meet the requirements you would have to ensure that the electrical field was less than 2,000 volts at 1 inch as a starting point. For close proximity to ESD susceptible items, the field strength should be lower. You would be much better off using a low-charging tape or labels made for sealing bags.