Understanding Ingress Protection Ratings (IP Ratings) is extremely important when planning your cable management or enclosure installation. IP ratings specify the degree to which an electrical enclosure protects against the intrusion of foreign bodies and moisture.
The classification system is comprised of the letters “IP” followed by a two or three digit reference.
The first digit indicates the degree to which the product is protected against foreign bodies such as tools, dust and hands. This ranges from 0 (no protection) to 6 (totally dust tight).
The second digit indicates the degree to which the product is protected against moisture such as natural weather conditions, cleaning solutions and submersion in water. This ranges from 0 (no protection) to 9K (able to withstand high pressure/high temperature steam-jet cleaning).
If a third digit is present this indicates the degree to which the product is protected from mechanical impacts as measured in joules. This digit is not required by the IEC 60529 and is often omitted.
It is important to note that where a number is replaced by an X it indicates that the product is not rated for that particular test. For example:
- IPX6 – the product has not been tested for protection against the ingress of foreign bodies, but has protection against powerful water jets (from all directions)
- IP6X – totally dust tight, but has not been tested for ingress of moisture.
You will occasionally come across IP Ratings that don’t follow the above format e.g. IPXXB and IPXXD. In respect of protection against electric shock, reference is made in the IEE Wiring Regulations to IPXXB and IPXXD as alternatives to IP2X and IP4X respectively.
- The letter B indicates: If a standard test ﬁnger 80 mm long and 12 mm in diameter can enter the enclosure there will be adequate clearance from live parts.
- The letter D indicates: If a probe 100 mm long and 1 mm in diameter can enter the enclosure there will be adequate clearance from live parts.
Examples of Electrix IP Rated Enclosures are as follows:
IP Rating: IP66 – Totally dust tight. Protection against powerful water jets (from all directions).
IP Rating: IP65 – Totally dust tight. Protection against low pressure water jets (from all directions).
To determine which IP rating you need for your project, sign up to the Electrix Newsletter (in the sidebar / footer of this page) and receive our free eBook entitled “Planning Your Installation”. You will find a full IP Rating chart, amongst other useful information and tips.