2/2019: ESD sets only available by special order.
Two years ago we were contacted by a major defense contractor asking if we had ESD (Electrostatic Discharge Safe) tools available. They had hundreds of employees working on electronics each with their own Chapman set. The sets were about 15 years old and worked fine, but the case and the screwdriver handle failed their recent ESD audit.
What does ESD Safe mean?
Electrostatic discharge is defined by Wikipedia is "the sudden flow of electricity between two electrically charged objects caused by contact, an electrical short, or dielectric breakdown. A buildup of static electricity can be caused by tribocharging or by electrostatic induction. The ESD occurs when differently-charged objects are brought close together or when the dielectric between them breaks down, often creating a visible spark."
ESD can cause damage to sensitive electronic boards and devices, so if a worker picked up his/her Chapman set, carried it across the room or rubbed it against another object, the Chapman case could build up static electricity, and short out electronics if the worker touched a PC board or set the case down next to it.
We worked diligently for two yeas to develop a plastic case and screwdriver handle that was the same high quality as our existing parts and ESD safe.