The packaging of items has seen a growing dependency on various forms of plastic products. This trend away from the simple wood and paper materials in earlier use has occurred during a time when microcircuit technology was giving the consumer smaller more portable electronic components. However, the increased susceptibility of these items to damage caused by electrostatic discharge (ESD) as their size decreases, is in stark contrast to the inherent vulnerability of plastic packaging materials to create static charges. The government, because of its complex distribution network, has a direct interest in solving these ESD protective packaging problems.
Through a series of key initiatives, the government has focused the attention of various industry associations that represent both ESD sensitive item and ESD protective packaging material suppliers to the needs of the military logistical environment. In so doing, the crucial development of reliable test standards, establishment of ESD protective control techniques, and the standardization of ESD sensitive item identification, marking and common handling procedures offer the promise of benefiting industry as much as the Government itself. A true cure for packaging and handling problems in Government will be dependent upon close coordination and communication among all elements to include production engineering and research and development oriented activities. Specific problems and their impact on day-to-day government operations are discussed as well as steps being taken to correct recognized deficiencies.