Enclosures should protect electronic and electrical applications, but you can only guarantee their effectiveness if they are IP rated.
Here, we explain what an IP rating is, and how this ensures that the enclosures you use are resilient and reliable.
What Does IP Mean?
IP stands for ingress protection.
If you have a product that claims to be water-resistant or dust-proof, for example, you need to know to what degree it has these qualities. What an IP rating does is indicate a level of protection that matches a set of internationally agreed standards.
These standards were developed by the European Committee for Electrotechnical Standardisation under its IEC 60529 International Protection Marking.
An IP rating shows the level of protection an enclosure or enclosing material provides against solids and liquids.
Each IP rating has two digits:
- The first digit shows protection against solids, on a scale of 0 to 6.
- The second digit shows protection against liquids, on a scale of 0 to 9.
0 indicates no protection, while the highest number in each case shows the most protection.
For example, an enclosure with rating of IP68 would be both dust-tight and offer protection against complete immersion in water.
IP Rating Chart
Solid (intrusion) protection:
0 – No protection against solid objects
1 – Solid objects above 50mm diameter (eg hands)
2 – Solid objects above 12mm in diameter and no longer than 80mm (eg fingers)
3 – Solid objects above 2.5mm in diameter (eg screwdrivers, other tools)
4 – Solid objects above 1mm in diameter (eg nails, screws, wires, larger insects)
5 – Partial protection from dust
6 – Dust tight.
Moisture (liquid) protection:
0 – No protection against liquids
1 – Falling droplets (eg condensation) when item is upright
2 – Direct sprays at 15 degrees from vertical
3 – Direct sprays at 60 degrees from vertical
4 – Sprays from all directions
5 – Low pressure water jets from all directions
6 – Strong, direct jets of water
7 – Temporary immersion in liquid, between 15cm and I metre, for 15 minutes
8 – Long periods of immersion at higher pressure (depth), up to 3 metres, but with precise limits determined by the manufacturer
9 – High pressure and high temperature spray at close range.
Why Do IP Ratings Matter?
For a product to receive an IP rating it must undergo independent testing by a certified company. This certified rating allows manufacturers to make confident claims about their products’ resistance to water and solids.
For consumers of these products, the IP rating offers assurance that a given product will meet their own specifications.
IP ratings also support safe working practices, by helping ensure that people only use correctly rated products for various applications.
What is the Importance of Ingress Protection?
Enclosures with high IP ratings are essential for electrical or technical equipment. If some form of liquid, moisture or solid particles gets into equipment, it can affect its performance. Ingress can lead to damage and equipment failure, and in some instances may cause injuries to users.
The higher the IP rating, the better chance of the enclosure’s survival and the greater the degree of protection it offers.
Which IP Rated Enclosures Should You Choose?
Various types of enclosure, including circuit boxes, cabinets and other enclosing structures, are designed to protect sensitive electrical components.
These enclosures will usually have the following ratings:
- IP65 – dust-tight, with protection from low pressure water jets
- IP66 – dust-tight, with protection from strong water jets
- IP67 – dust-tight, with protection from temporary immersion in water at limited depths
- IP68 – dust tight, with protection from complete immersion in water.
Consider the environment you’ll be exposing your enclosure to, and whether it’s dusty, wet or both.
Also, think about what changing conditions your equipment might be in over its entire lifecycle, and therefore what IP rating would be most appropriate to cover all eventualities.
IP Rated Enclosures for Electrical and Electronic Applications
At Hitaltech, we’ve a range of IP rated enclosures that offer protection from dust and moisture to the electrical systems and equipment you’re designing and using.
This includes our standard IP65 sealed enclosures range, and our cable glands accessories, with IP ratings between IP65 and IP68.
For more information these products, please contact us. We’ve got a team of helpful, qualified engineers who can advise you on installation solutions.