Guide to IP Ratings

The IP Rating is used by consumers in Europe to identify an electrical enclosure’s level of protection. The level of protection pertains to its performance against environmental conditions. IP is the short term for Ingress Protection. To order the correct IP rating, one has to know where and how it will be used.

The IP rating system was created by the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC). IEC is a worldwide organization for standardization that aims to promote cooperation on questions concerning electrical and electronic fields standardization. The IEC also collaborates with the Internationational Organization for Standards, also known as ISO. The IEC Publication 529 contains the complete description of the IP ratings. Other IP relevant tests are also found in this publication.

Initially, the IP rating was developed as a way to categorize enclosures. Today, this guide is also used to give engineers a convenient and practical method to compare levels of sealing. Adopting this standardization promotes international cooperation in describing the level of protection provided by the enclosure.

There are various degrees of protection, as described by the IP rating. The chart below shows the ratings of relative protection provided by electrical enclosures.

An IP rating usually has two, and sometimes 3, numbers. The first number indicates its level of protection from solid objects or materials. The second number pertains to its level of protection from liquids or water. Lastly, the third number states the level of protection against mechanical impacts. The third number is commonly removed and is not part of IEC 60529).

A general overview of each level of protection is described below. For a specific and more detailed description of what each level can do for an electronic enclosure, you may refer to IEC 60529.

IP Ratings – IP Rating Guide – Electronic Enclosure Protection

Solid Ingress Protection

Level 1

The enclosure is protected against a solid object with a size greater than 50mm.

Level 2

The enclosure’s level of protection is up against a solid object that has a size greater than 12.5 mm.

Level 3

With this level, the enclosure can be protected against a solid object greater than 2.5 mm.

Level 4

An enclosure with a solid ingress level 4 is protected against a solid object that is greater than 1mm.

Level 5

Enclosures in solid ingress level 5 are considered as dust-protected. This means a limited ingress of dust can enter the enclosure, however, the operation will not interfere.  This dust protection might last from two to eight hours.

Level 6

On the other hand, enclosures with solid ingress level 6 are dust-tight. No ingress of dust is permitted from two to eight hours. In other words, the enclosure is fully dust-tight.

Liquid or Water Resistance Ingress

Level 1

Enclosures with level 1 water resistance ingress are protected against drops of water falling vertically. However, limited ingress is permitted.

Level 2

With level 2 liquid ingress protection, the enclosure is protected against vertically falling drops of liquid, enclosure tilted up to 15 degrees. Limited ingress permitted.

Level 3

With this, the enclosure is protected against sprays of water up to 60 degrees vertically with level 3 liquid ingress protection. For three minutes, limited ingress is permitted.

Level 4

With level 4 liquid ingress protection, the enclosure is protected against water splashed from all directions.

Level 5

The enclosure can withstand against jets of water with limited ingress permitted.

Level 6

Water projected in powerful jets will not enter the enclosure.

Level 7

With level 7 liquid ingress protection, the enclosure can withstand against the effects of water immersion between 15 centimeters and one meter for 30 minutes.

Level 8

The enclosure is protected against the effects of water immersion in water under pressure for long periods.

Description of IP Rating

As described by the IP rating chart, the first, second, third number indicated in the code has its own meaning. The first number pertains to the enclosure’s protection against solid objects. The second number describes the enclosure’s protection against water or liquid.

For instance, an IP rating of 56 has a solid protection ingress of 5 and liquid protection of 6. If there is only one class of protection, the letter “X” can be used in place of the class omitted.

It is important to be aware of what a product enclosure’s IP rating stands for. Furthermore, determining the correct IP rating for an electrical enclosure can save you time and money from investing to the right item. When purchasing, always check the IP rating of the item. As an industrial expert in today’s needs of warehouse and inventory management systems, Qbasis gained experience in selecting the correct IP rating for an item’s electrical enclosure. Boosting productivity and efficiency on your management systems is not only limited to the right software but also to the right hardware compatible with the system. Contact Qbasis to know more about your warehouse management system procurement needs.