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IP ratings explained: ingress protection

IP ratings explained: ingress protection

Everything you could need to know about IP ratings explained, and how this lets you choose a suitable protective case

If you have ever needed to source protective cases, you may have noticed that some come with an IP rating. Some are higher than others. But, most importantly, some claim to be waterproof.

In fact, even the new iPhone has an IP rating.

IP ratings explained

What are IP ratings / IP codes?

IP, standing for an Ingress Protection is often found in the form of a table. An IP rating is a measure of an enclosure or cases ability to resist items entering it.

This could be large items such as a hand, or small items such as dust, or even water.

If you would like IP ratings explained in full, this blog will provide you with all the information you need.

Otherwise known as Ingress Protection. An IP certification rating table or chart, has been constructed by the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) for international use. EN 60529 is the subsequent British standard.

IP Ratings are classified by categorical codes. These, in turn, summarise the scale of protection offered from estranged articles such as; substantial objects, dirt and moisture.

Water damage

The two digits of IP ratings explained

The IEC standard 60529 provides you with a more detailed guide than more generic marketing terms often applied when talking about water resistance.

This means you can determine the exact levels of protection against moisture. Instead of an item simply being “waterproof”.

An IP rating is, in summary, a two digit code. The first digit establishes the level of protection against intrusion of foreign bodies. The second the resistance against moisture intrusion.

Together, this informs you of precise the level of protection that will be offered by the specific case or enclosure.

Any product with an IP rating must withstand an assortment of tests. These tests determine the items’ efficiency in a range of circumstances.

Ultimately, an IP rating allows to you be able to make an educated choice regarding the appropriateness of the products’ suitability for your specific application.

IP rating tables

Below are the tables which specify what each “digit” in the IP level relates to.

Alternatively, please use the button below to download an “IP ratings explained” full IP rating chart PDF.

First Digit – Protection of foreign body intrusion

Level

Symbol

Protected Against

Description

0

no ip protection

No protection

N/A

1

ip rating table

Objects greater than 50mm

Protects from large parts of the body such as the back of the hand but, will not protect deliberate contact with body parts

2

ip standard

Objects greater than 12.5 mm

Protects against fingers and objects of a similar size to the fingers

3

cable ip protection

Objects greater than 2.5mm

Tools and thick cables are included in this level

4

wire ip protection

Objects greater than 1 mm

Includes most wires, screws and large ants / small insects

5

ip dust protected

Dust protected

Some protection from dust as long as its not exposed to a large quantity

6

ip rating dust tight

Dust tight

A vacuum must be applied and will protect against contact of dust

Second Digit – Moisture protection levels

Level

Symbol

Protected Against

Description

0

no ip protection

No protection

N/A

1

dripping water ip protection

Dripping water –

vertically falling when mounted in an upright position

Test time –

10 minutes

Water equivalent is 1mm of rainfall per minute

2

ip protection from dripping water at 15 degrees

Dripping water when tilted at 15 degrees

all four positions are tested

Test time –

2.5 minutes per tilt

Water equivalent is 3mm of rainfall per minute

3

spraying water ip protection

Spraying water –

up to 60 degrees from the vertical

Test time for a spray nozzle –

1 minute per square metre (at least 5 minutes)

Test time for an oscillating tube –

10 minutes

4

ip water splash

Water splash –

from any direction

Test time –

10 minutes

5

protection from water jets

Water jets –

from a nozzle of 6.3mm

Test time –

1 minute per square metre with 12.5 litres of water per minute including a pressure of 30 kPa from 3 metres

6

ip powerful waterjet protection

Powerful water jets –

from a nozzle of 12.5mm

Test time –

1 minute per square meter with 100 litres of water per minute including a pressure of 100 kPa from 3 metres.

7

submersion protection

Submersion of up to 1m depth

Test time –

30 minutes

8

ip submersion

Submersion for depth of 1m or more

Test time –

test time and depth should be specified by the manufacturer

Summary chart

Please see below for a summary table of all the IP ratings explained. This also explains how the two digits work together in order to create the IP rating.

Alternatively, you can download a handy summary PDF by clicking below.

First Digit – Solids

Second digit – Liquids

Combination

Level of protection against foreign objects

Level of protection against moisture

Example of how the number is defined

0 Not protected

no ip protection

Not protected

no ip protection
ip67

1 Objects greater than 50mm

ip rating table

1 Vertically falling dripping water

dripping water ip protection

2 Objects greater than 12.5mm

ip standard

Dripping water titled at 15 degrees

ip protection from dripping water at 15 degrees

3 Objects greater than 2.5mm

cable ip protection

Spraying water

spraying water ip protection

4 Object greater than 1mm

wire ip protection

Water splash

ip water splash

5 Dust protected

ip dust protected

Water jets

protection from water jets

Dust tight

ip rating dust tight

Powerful water jets

ip powerful waterjet protection

Submersion of up to 1m depth

submersion protection

Submersion for depth of 1m or more

ip submersion

Additional letters / classifications

In addition to the tables above, the IEC also make use of additional letters to provide further related information. This information details the protection of the device.

A breakdown of these letters and there meanings are as follows:

IK Letter

IK Meaning

F

Oil resistance

H

High voltage device

M

Device moving during water test

S

Still device during water test

W

Weather conditions

IP Rated cases

Mechanical impact classification

The IEC can also apply an additional number. This number specifies the equipment’s resistance to a mechanical impact.

Once included as part of an IP Code, the mechanical rating system has now been given its’ own separate code.  This begins with IK and is then followed by 2 digits. The table for mechanical impact ratings can be found below.

Mechanical impact protection

Mechanical Impact

IK number

Impact Energy (Joules)

Impact equivalent to:

00

Unprotected

No test complete

01

0.15

200g dropped through 7.5cm space

02

0.2

200g dropped through 10cm space

03

0.35

200g dropped through 17.5cm space

04

0.5

200g dropped through 25cm space

05

0.7

200g dropped through 35cm space

06

1

500g dropped through 20cm space

07

2

500g dropped through 40cm space

08

5

1.7kg dropped through 29.5cm space

09

10

5kg dropped through 20cm space

10

20

5kg dropped through 40cm space

Waterproof vs water resistant 

IP ratings have been highlighted in mainstream news recently with the launch on the new iPhone (IPhone 7).

The IPhone 7 IP rating is IP67. Which, follows on from a number of other smart phones (notably Samsungs’ IP68 rated phone). Phone manufacturers are now using IP ratings as a key benefit / selling point.

What that means for the newest generation of smartphones and tablets is that, asides from protection from dust, they’re generally decribed as being “water-resistant” too.

IP codes explained

But what does this actually mean?

Any device or case that is termed as water-resistant, is able to resist the penetration of water, to some degree but not entirely.

Water-repellent, means that the item is not easily penetrated by water. This can often be as a result of being treated for such a purpose with a surface coating.

Waterproof should mean that an item is completely impervious to water.

Taking the iPhone as an example, it will have some form of resistance to water. This is actually defined by the second digit of the IP rating. So, the IP67 waterproof rating for the IPhone means that it will be protected from temporary immersion in liquids between 15cm and 1m in depth.

In practice, any device with an IP67 rating could be submerged under water, a metre deep, for a maximum of 30 minutes.

It is important to note however that these tests were carried out under laboratory conditions. Crucially – the test conditions meant that actually, the IPhone was set to standby mode before and during the assessment.

In reality, this means that it probably isn’t going to be possible for you to take your new IPhone for a swim with you.

IP rated phones

Protective cases and IP ratings explained

When looking for a protective case, one of the considerations for your business  must be level of ingress protection required.

For example, it is particularly important if you are using expensive equipment that is sensitive to water or dust (in effect it does not have its own IP rating). This in turn means the IP rating of the items protective packaging or case is of critical importance.

Many of the branded cases you can source from GWP are certified to varying IP levels.

For example, Nanuk, Explorer, SKB, Storm and the widely used Peli Cases all feature an IP rating of IP67.  Zarges Aluminium cases typically have an IP rating of IP54 (for the Eurobox and K470 range).

If however you need a custom size, then EXOCase (a dust and water resistant flight case) has in tests been shown to have an IP55 rating.

Water proof protective cases

Applications and Industries 

There are a number of industries and applications where using IP rated cases is critical.

For example, military communications equipment is often used in hot dusty environments, making protection from dust is important.

Specialist tools in the offshore and oil & gas industries are frequently stored in IP rated cases. In fact, any industry or job that requires employees to take tools or equipment on site (e.g. service engineers, surveyors etc.) can benefit from using water and dust proof cases.

However, the opposite is also true. IP rated cases are often used to keep moisture in. For example, Zarges cases are used to transport wet and muddy kit (being frequently used by professional sports teams).

Divers and related industries also use waterproof cases due to the need to transport wet kit without it leaking in to their vehicle / transport.

Dust proof cases

Who are IEC

The IEC are a non-profit and non-governmental international standards organisation. The IEC assemble and publish the International Standards for all electrical, electronic and related components.

Broken down, this covers a wide range of technologies. Their first publication, an international vocabulary to unify terminology relating to electrical technologies, was published in multiple languages in 1938.

Originating in London, the IEC moved to Geneva in 1948. This remains its current headquarters. They now have centres across various regions however, including Singapore, Brazil and Boston (USA).

Today, the IEC are regarded as the world’s leading international organisation in their field. The work creating these standards is undertaken by electrical experts, test laboratories, the government and academics.

The IEC also work closely with the International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO) and the International Telecommunication Union (UTI).

For further information on the IEC please click here.

Alternative measure – NEMA 

An alternative measure which you may come across, particularly on American sites or products, is the National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA).

The NEMA determines standard ratings used in North America for classes of electrical enclosures.

A common NEMA enclosure may be rated on levels of protection against environmental hazards. These hazards include water and dust. Similar to the Ingress Protection ratings, they also cover oil, coolant and corrosive agents such as gasoline.

If you would like further information on the NEMA, please click here.

Ingress protection testing

IP ratings explained

IP ratings can have a large impact on your business. It can mean the difference between your products arriving undamaged on site. It can ensure your service engineers can get critical jobs completed on time. It can of course save your business thousands of pounds in not having to replace damaged equipment.

Should you need any further information with regards to IP ratings, and the protective cases and packaging products which can offer these levels of protection, please do not hesitate to get in touch.

Questions?

 

If you found this information interesting / useful, but still have some questions or points you would like to discuss, please get in touch using the form below.

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