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The Mysterious World of Ingress Protection

Posted March 18, 2021

Choose the right level of particulate and moisture protection for your environment.

One of the most difficult and confusing jobs an electrical design engineer has is determining the level of “waterproof” necessary for their enclosures, cabling, components, etc. Similar to your cell phone, or watch, there is a big difference between “waterproof”, “water-resistant”, and other labels. For situations like this, several different rating systems have been developed with documented and verified testing methodologies. Two of the most widely known are NEMA and IP – today we will look at the IP system, specifically IP65, IP66 and IP67. (See end of article for comparison to NEMA rating system).

IP Rating, or Ingress Protection Rating is the standard developed by the IEC (International Electrotechnical Commission) and is most heavily used in the international community. An IP Rating will generally consist of two digits – sometimes followed by a letter, noting specific testing circumstances, materials, etc. The first digit (numerical between 0-6), indicates the degree of protection against ingress of solid objects (Table 1). The second digit (numerical between 0-9), indicates the degree of protection against ingress from moisture/liquid at different intensities (Table 2). 

Particulate Ingress Protection

0 Not Rated (or no rating supplied) for protection against ingress of this type.
1 Protection against solid objects larger than 50mm.
(e.g., accidental hand contact with open palm)
2 Protection against solid objects larger than 12mm.
(e.g., accidental finger contact)
3 Protection against solid objects larger than 2.5mm.
(e.g., tools and wires)
4 Protection against solid objects larger than 1mm.
(e.g., fine tools and wires)
5 Partial Protection against dust and other particulates.
6 Partial Protection against dust and other particulates.

Table 1: First Digit - Protection from solids and particulate ingress.

 

Moisture Ingress Protection

0 Not Rated (or no rating supplied) for protection against ingress of this type.
1 Protection against vertically falling droplets while item is upright.
(e.g., Condensation)
2 Protection against vertically falling droplets while item is tilted up to 15 degrees from upright.
3 Protection against direct moisture spray while item is tilted up to 60 degrees from upright.
4 Protection against splashing water from any direction with no harmful effects.
5 Protection against low pressure jets of water (30kPa at a distance of 3m for no less than 15 minutes) from any direction with no harmful effects.
6 Protection against powerful jets of water (100kPa at a distance of 3m for no less than 3 minutes) from any direction with no harmful effects.
7 Protection against direct immersion in water (between 15cm and 1m for up to 30 minutes) with no harmful effects.
8 Protection against extended immersion under higher pressure (e.g., deeper than 1m). Precise testing conditions to be set and advertised by the manufacturer.
9 Protection against high pressure, high temperature jet sprays, wash-downs, or steam cleaning procedures.

Table 2: Second Digit - Protection from moisture ingress

The biggest takeaway from these tables is that each rating has different testing and conformity parameters. While a component may be IP67 rated, that does not mean that it was ever tested for IP66 standards. Decisions on what type of Ingress Protection should be selected must be based on the type of environment your product is likely to be exposed to. At ONLINE, we prefer to utilize IP66 rated electrical connectors, enclosures, and other devices- unless there is opportunity for liquid to accumulate and partially submerse a component, in which case an IP67 component is specified.

NEMA-IP Reference

NEMA IP equiv. NEMA Description
1 IP10 Enclosures constructed for indoor use; to provide a degree of protection to personnel against incidental contact with the enclosed equipment and to provide a degree of protection against falling dirt.
2 IP11 Enclosures constructed for indoor use; to provide a degree of protection to personnel against incidental contact with the enclosed equipment and to provide a degree of protection against falling dirt, and to provide a degree of protection against dripping and light splashing of liquids.
3 IP54 Enclosures constructed for indoor or outdoor use; to provide a degree of protection to personnel against incidental contact with the enclosed equipment and to provide a degree of protection against falling dirt, rain, sleet, snow and windblown dust; and that will be undamaged by external formation of ice on the enclosure.
3R IP14 Enclosures constructed for indoor or outdoor use; to provide a degree of protection to personnel against incidental contact with the enclosed equipment and to provide a degree of protection against falling dirt, rain, sleet, snow; and that will be undamaged by external formation of ice on the enclosure.
3S IP54 Enclosures constructed for indoor or outdoor use; to provide a degree of protection to personnel against incidental contact with the enclosed equipment and to provide a degree of protection against falling dirt, rain, sleet, snow and windblown dust; and in which the external mechanism(s) remain operable when ice laden.
4 IP56 Enclosures constructed for indoor or outdoor use; to provide a degree of protection to personnel against incidental contact with the enclosed equipment and to provide a degree of protection against falling dirt, rain, sleet, snow and windblown dust, splashing water and hose-directed water; and that will be undamaged by external formation of ice on the enclosure.
4X IP56 Enclosures constructed for indoor or outdoor use; to provide a degree of protection to personnel against incidental contact with the enclosed equipment and to provide a degree of protection against falling dirt, rain, sleet, snow and windblown dust, splashing water and hose-directed water, and corrosion; and that will be undamaged by external formation of ice on the enclosure.
5 IP52 Enclosures constructed for indoor use; to provide a degree of protection to personnel against incidental contact with the enclosed equipment and to provide a degree of protection against falling dirt; against settling airborne dust, lint, fibers and flyings; and to provide a degree of protection against dripping and light splashing of liquids.
6 IP67 Enclosures constructed for indoor or outdoor use; to provide a degree of protection to personnel against incidental contact with the enclosed equipment and to provide a degree of protection against falling dirt; against hose-directed water and the entry of water during occasional temporary submersion at a limited depth; and that will be undamaged by external formation of ice on the enclosure.
6P IP68 Enclosures constructed for indoor or outdoor use; to provide a degree of protection to personnel against incidental contact with the enclosed equipment and to provide a degree of protection against falling dirt; against hose-directed water and the entry of water during occasional prolonged submersion at a limited depth; and that will be undamaged by external formation of ice on the enclosure.
12 IP52 Enclosures constructed (without knockouts) for indoor use; to provide a degree of protection to personnel against incidental contact with the enclosed equipment and to provide a degree of protection against falling dirt; against settling airborne dust, lint, fibers and flyings; and to provide a degree of protection against dripping and light splashing of liquids.
12K IP52 Enclosures constructed with knockout(s) for indoor use; to provide a degree of protection to personnel against incidental contact with the enclosed equipment and to provide a degree of protection against falling dirt; against settling airborne dust, lint, fibers and flyings; and to provide a degree of protection against dripping and light splashing of liquids.
13 IP54 Enclosures constructed for indoor use; to provide a degree of protection to personnel against incidental contact with the enclosed equipment and to provide a degree of protection against falling dirt; against settling airborne dust, lint, fibers and flyings; and against the spraying, splashing and seepage of water, oil and non-corrosive coolants.

Table 3: NEMA to IP Conversion Table

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