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Case study

ESD trays and totes

ESD (Electro Static Dissipation) trays and totes manufactured for Dell by Tricel.

ESD trays are ideal to carry and transport electronic components, such as those for computers, due to controlled resistivity properties. As a leading manufacturer of delicate electronics equipment, Dell’s factories required these ESD trays and totes to convey and store electronic parts during the production process safely. These specialised products ensure protection for computer components while they during transportation on the conveyor belts of assembly lines. For these reasons, ESD trays and totes play a highly important part in the production process.

What is Electro Static Dissipation (ESD)?

Electro Static Dissipation takes place when a sudden flow of electricity occurs between two independent electrically charged objects. One of these objects becomes negatively charged, while the other becomes positively charged. The static electricity created can be the result of electrostatic induction (when nearby charges influence the redistribution of electrical charge in an object) or tribocharging (a material becomes electrically charged after frictional contact with another material).
In most cases, ESD can damage magnetic media and destroy sensitive electronic parts. For this reason, static dissipative trays and totes are crucial in order for Dell to store and transport computer parts safely while on the assembly line.

ESD trays on conveyor belt

Dissipative materials

The dissipative material allows for an electrical charge to flow through it slowly and in a controlled manner. Uncontrolled electrostatic dissipation is not suitable for handling electronic components as it may erase the magnetic data and can also cause a fire. Specialised products created from dissipative materials are best suited to handle electronic components as the surface resistance of dissipative materials varies between 105 Ω/sq to 109 Ω/sq.

About Dell

Dell was created in 1984 in the United States and has grown to become a global provider of IT solutions and services. The company customer base is varied, ranging from small private individuals to large multi-nationals. Dell’s portfolio focuses on providing end-to-end IT solutions to all its customers.

The challenges with Dell’s ESD trays & totes

In 2016, Dell engineers were looking for a precise product when they came to visit Tricel. Indeed, the engineers required ESD trays with specified resistive properties to suit their requirements. The Tricel team applied their technical skills and experience to this project, and mass production of static dissipative trays commenced within 20 weeks.

How we helped

A bespoke solution was designed by Tricel’s product team to meet Dell’s unique specifications. Press mould technology is employed to allow for mass production of the required ESD trays and totes, along with a customised black SMC.

The material used: custom prepared black SMC

This bespoke black Sheet Moulding Compound (SMC) has anti-static properties and prevents the build-up of electrical charges on its surface. It is an SMC constructed using polyester resin made of glass fibre reinforced with fillers. This material contains no heavy metals, halogens or any other candidates included within the REACH SVHC list*.

In case of fire, this SMC product will not melt nor will it form droplets or generate excessive smoke.
Some basic properties of the material are listed below:

  • Glow wire Index 960 ͦ C (IEC 60707-3)
  • Fire retardant V-0 @ 3.2mm (UL 94)
  • Surface resistivity 106-109 (IEC60093)
  • Water absorption <0.5% (ISO 62)


This SMC is ideal for use in the following:

  • Explosion proof components in mining
  • Gas and oil exploration industries
  • Electronic components
  • Electrical industries
  • Chemical plants

The custom prepared black SMS use for Dell’s ESD trays and totes carries the same features as most SMC products. That is to say; it is easily mouldable, extremely durable, lightweight, cost-effective and highly suitable for mass production.

*REACH stands for Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of chemicals. It is an EU regulation that aims to protect human health and the environment from the risks posed by chemicals while enhancing the competitiveness of the EU chemicals industry.
*SVHC stands for Substances of Very High Concern.

ESD trays by Tricel
Custom prepared black SMC
ESD totes by Tricel
ESD trays manufactured by Tricel

Step by step stages of the production of ESD trays

  1. Product design as per size and specifications.
  2. Sourcing raw material to meet the client’s requirements and testing of the dissipative criteria.
  3. Mould design and development to suit mass production.
  4. Preparation for production and quality check cycle.
  5. Employees and operators training.
  6. Manufacturing and strict quality control checks of the finished

The final result

This joint project with Dell has been a real success, thanks to Tricel’s industry expertise and dedication. All trays and totes manufactured are inspected individually for quality, and Dell was extremely pleased with the results. We have been producing a range of ESD trays and totes ever since and ship to Dell facilities all across the globe.

If you are looking for ESD products or enclosures, contact us today and speak with one of our technical experts who are standing by to discuss your requirements.

Contact us for more information

Our sales team would be happy to answer any queries you may have