What is an IP Code?

This Galco Industrial Electronics Tech Tip focuses on IP codes also known as the Ingress protection rating or International protection rating. Many of Galco’s products will carry an IP rating so that you can determine a given products level of intrusion protection. As defined by IEC 60529, an IP Code classifies and rates the degrees of protection provided against the intrusion of solid objects, dust, and water in mechanical casings or electrical enclosures. The IP code typically consists of the letters IP followed by two digits.

Deciphering IP Codes
The first digit in an IP Code represents protection from solid particles. A zero will denote no protection, while a rating of 1 indicates protection from a large surface of the body such as the back of the hand. This will not protect against deliberate physical contact, but will generally protect the enclosure from objects greater than 50 mm. A rating of 2 indicates effectiveness against fingers or similar objects, usually 12.5mm or greater in size. A rating of 3 provides protection from tools and thick wires with a size greater than 2.5 mm. A protection rating of 4 covers most wires, screw and other items larger than 1 mm. If the protection rating is 5, the enclosure would be considered dust protected. Intrusion of dust is not entirely eliminated, but there is generally enough protection to prevent dust from entering where it would hinder the operation of the equipment. It will still provide sufficient protection against physical contact. A protection rating of 6 ensures the enclosure is dust tight. No dust will penetrate the enclosure and there is complete protection against physical contact.

The second digit in the IP Code represents protection from liquids. A rating of zero provides no protection. A rating of 1 protects against dripping water falling vertically. A rating of 2 also provides protection from dripping water, but extends the level of protection even when the enclosure is tilted up 15 degrees from its normal operation. A rating of 3 ensures the enclosure is protected against spraying water at any angle up to 60 degrees from the vertical position. A rating of 4 protects equipment from splashing water from any direction. An IP code rating of 5 and 6 protects the enclosure from water jets. As level 5 can protect against water projected by a nozzle of 6.3 mm, the level 6 can protect against water projected in a powerful jet with a nozzle of 12.5 mm. A rating of 7 offers protection against the immersion of enclosures in up to 1 meter of water. The highest rating level is 8, if the equipment is able to withstand the immersion of water in depths greater than 1 meter at a continuous rate. To achieve this rating, the equipment must be able to provide protection in a manner that ensures that no harmful effects would come from complete submersion.

U.S. Standards
In the United States, an enclosure rating standard has been established by the National Electrical Manufactures Association, which is known as a NEMA rating. While there are differences in the rating standards and ranges, you can convert most common NEMA ratings to IP ratings and vice versa. The closest equivalent ratings between the standards are NEMA 1 to IP 20, NEMA 3 to IP 54, NEMA 4 and 4X to IP 65, NEMA 6 to IP 67, and NEMA 6P to IP68. You should consider these to be close equivalents, but not necessarily interchangeable. Additional requirements and additional ratings for either standard may exist, so further investigation may be required, especially if you are not the specifier.

You can find many IP rated items, along with thousands of other products and services, at galco.com.

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