Ingress Protection (IP) ratings, developed by the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC), are a standardized measure for manufacturers to specify and understand the level of protection that an enclosure offers against the intrusion of solid objects and liquids. It helps customers understand the suitability of a product for its intended use.
There are various levels of protection provided by IP ratings, and in this post, we'll be discussing the differences between them.
Protection against solids
The first digit in an IP rating refers to the level of protection against solids – ranging from 0 to 6, with 0 being no protection and 6 providing protection against dust and other small particles. For example, a product with an IP rating of 4x provides protection against solid objects larger than 1mm in diameter.
Protection against liquids
The second digit in an IP rating refers to the level of protection against liquids – ranging from 0 to 9, with 0 being no protection and 9 providing protection against high temperatures, high pressure, water, and steam. A product with an IP rating of 7, for example, provides protection against immersion in water up to 1 meter for up to 30 minutes.
It is essential to note that higher IP ratings do not necessarily mean better protection. For instance, a product with an IP rating of 68 provides protection against dust and continuous immersion in water, making it suitable for underwater applications. However, it might not be suitable for areas with high humidity levels because it may not protect against condensation. Two common IP ratings are IP20, typical of control cabinet devices, and IP67, which is common in field devices.
Understanding the difference in IP ratings is essential for selecting the right product for its intended application. But it’s also important to follow appropriate guidelines to maintain a given device’s rating. This may include following specific mounting instructions, selecting the right connectors/cables, adhering to torque ratings, and more. One common example where we might see IP rating being negated would be a failure to use port plugs on unused ports on IO-Link master blocks.
In conclusion, the IP rating system is an important standard used to specify the level of protection against solids and liquids of a device. The first digit refers to the level of protection against solid objects, while the second digit refers to the level of protection against liquids. It is important to note that higher IP ratings do not necessarily mean better protection and understanding the difference between the ratings is crucial for selecting the right product for its intended application.
For a full description of the IEC IP ratings, including their testing conditions, please refer to IEC 60529.