Understanding Ingress Protection Ratings
For environments where dust or water could potentially damage electronic components, a sealed enclosure is used to prevent ingress and protect the electrical equipment. IP (Ingress Protection) Ratings are used to rate the sealing effectiveness and degree of protection that an electrical enclosure will have against solids or liquids.
What do IP Ratings mean?
The Ingress Protection Rating is defined by the international standard (IEC 60529), which was established by the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) to promote international cooperation on all questions concerning the standardization in electrical and electronic fields. This standard determines the level of sealing effectiveness against the intrusion from foreign objects (tools such as a screwdriver or wire), dust, water, or accidental contact.
How To Read IP Charts
Understanding IP rating charts will help you know what the numbers mean for solids and liquids. The IP rating consists of the letters IP (Ingress Protection), which is then followed by two digits and an optional letter. The two digits and the last letter is used to indicate the classified protection of the electrical enclosure. If the digits are high, then the level of protection is high.
First Digit: Solids
In an IP Rating, the first digit indicates the level of protection that the electrical enclosure will have against the ingress of solid foreign objects or people accessing hazardous parts.
|Level of Protection||Effective Against|
|0||No rated protection against ingress of objects and contact. Test not required.|
|1||Protected against a solid object greater than 50 mm (1.97 inches), such as a hand.|
|2||Protected against a solid object greater than 12.5 mm (0.49 inches), such as a finger.|
|3||Protected against a solid object greater than 2.5 mm (0.10 inches), such as a screwdriver.|
|4||Protected against a solid object greater than 1 mm (0.04 inches), such as a wire.|
|5||Dust protected. Limited ingress of dust permitted and will not interfere with operation of the equipment. Two to eight hours of protection.|
|6||Dust tight. No ingress of dust. Two to eight hours of protection.|
Second Digit: Liquids
The second digit indicates the level of protection that the electrical enclosure will have against the ingress of water, which can range from drops of water to submersion.
|Level of Protection||Effective Against|
|0||No rated protection against ingress of water. Test not required.|
|1||Protected against vertically falling drops of water. Limited ingress permitted.|
|2||Protected against falling drops of water when the enclosure is tilted up to 15 degrees. Limited ingress permitted.|
|3||Protected against sprays of water up to 60 degrees from the vertical position. This could be a low pressure spray, similar to a shower head (must be at a 60° angle). Limited ingress permitted for three minutes.|
|4||Protected against water splashed from all directions. This could be a low pressure spray, similar to a shower head. Limited ingress permitted.|
|5||Protected against jets of water from all directions. This could be a medium pressure jet with a 6.3 mm (0.24 inches) diameter, similar to a garden hose. Limited ingress permitted.|
|6||Protected against heavy seas or water projected in powerful jets from all directions. This could be a high pressure jet with a 12.5 mm (0.49 inches) diameter, similar to a fire hose. Water will not enter the enclosure in harmful quantities.|
|7||Protected against the effects of immersion in water between 15 cm (5.9 inches) and 1 m (39.37 inches) for 30 minutes.|
|8||Protected against the effects of immersion in water under pressure for long periods of time.|
|9K||Protected from close range, powerful, high pressure and high temperature water jets or steam cleaning.|
IP Rating Example
For example, the IP rating below is IP69K. So what do the letters and numbers mean?
- IP – Ingress Protection
- 6 – First Digit (Solids): Dust tight. No ingress of dust. Two to eight hours of protection.
- 9 – Protected from close range, powerful, high pressure and high temperature water jets or steam cleaning.
- K – Optional (Pressure)
Since the digits for both solids and liquids are high, the ingress protection rating for IP69K is considered the highest level of protection. This rating means that the electrical enclosure is protected from dust, high pressure, and high temperature water.
The IP rating system is specifically used for individuals to determine how safe it is to use certain electrical or mechanical goods in specific environments and applications. Now that you know how to read IP rating charts, you’ll be able to classify the different levels of sealing effectiveness and degree of protection that an electrical enclosure will have against solids and liquids.