As device geometries get smaller and processing speeds grow faster, their ESD sensitivity increases. Designers face the challenge of fitting more active component features into smaller chip territory, often at the expense of on-chip protection devices. The trade off is greater risk for ESD damage. Mastering ESD control has always been critical to achieving high production yields, and it will become even more important in the next few years. While the industry has a solid understanding of ESD safety in manual operations involving personnel, there is room for improvement in automated applications. To be effective, ESD control programs must ensure that automated handling equipment is capable of handling tomorrow’s highly sensitive devices.