The common factors that threaten the devices which serve the visualization of information are, e.g., dust and water. They may not only disturb but even preclude the module’s operation. However, we need to use electronics even in rough environments such as, e.g., production halls. The required protection of the devices is provided by the enclosures of appropriate tightness described with IP codes which are defined by the Polish EN 60529 norm (it corresponds to an international IEC 60 529 norm). In the article, we give a few prompts that will help you to breakdown the IP codes.
The IP code (an abbreviation of International Protection) consists of two digits: first in the 0-6 range and second in the 0-9 range. However, they do not always need to occur. In such cases, they are replaced with X. (You can also come across other notations which consist of doubled X that is IPXX. It means that the enclosure provides no protection or the enclosure’s tightness has not been tested.) Sometimes, the digits are completed by two letters: additional (A, B, C, D) and supplementary (H, M, S, W). If they are not considered, there is no need to replace them with X. They can be unmentioned.
The meaning of digits and letters
The figures mark the degrees of protection provided by the enclosure against external factors that may impact the device’s operation:
- the first digit – indicates the level of protection provided by the enclosure against the ingress of solid objects,
- the second digit – indicates the level of protection provided by the enclosure against the ingress of water.
Moreover, the first digit also specifies the level of protection against the access to hazardous parts covered by the enclosure, e.g., preventing their touch by hand or finger, tools, and wires. In other words – it indicates the level of the device’s user protection against the contact with parts that are live or in motion.
The additional letter also may define the level of protection against the access to hazardous parts covered by the enclosure. It is used only in two cases: (1) when the enclosure provides the protection against the access to hazardous parts but does not guarantee the protection against the ingress of solid objects or (2) when the enclosure provides the level of protection against the access to hazardous parts which is higher than the level of such protection indicated by the first digit.
Additionally, the supplementary letter indicates the necessity of further procedures deployment while the enclosure’s dust- and waterproof are tested, e.g., it may require putting the discs into action.
The table below presents the meaning of each digit and letter that may be a part of IP codes:
|1||protection against the access to hazardous parts with a hand|
protection against the ingress of solid objects bigger than 50 mm diameter
|2||protection against the access to hazardous parts with a finger|
protection against the ingress of solid objects bigger than 12,5 mm diameter
|3||protection against the access to hazardous parts with a tool|
protection against the ingress of solid objects bigger than 2,5 mm diameter
|4||protection against the access to hazardous parts with a wire|
protection against the ingress of solid objects bigger than 1 mm diameter
|5||total protection against access to hazardous parts|
protection against the ingress of dust that may interfere with the operation of the device
|6||total protection against access to hazardous parts|
|1||protection against dripping water|
|2||protection against the vertically dripping water when the enclosure is tilted at an angle of 15° from its normal position in each direction|
|3||protection against the water falling as a spray at any angle up to 60° from the vertical from each direction|
|4||protection against the water splashing from any direction|
|5||protection against the water jets (12,5 l/min) projected by a nozzle from any direction|
|6||protection against the water jets (100 l/min) projected by a nozzle from any direction|
|7||protection against the consequences of immersion in the water in specified conditions (up to 30 minutes in a depth of 0,15 m above the top of the enclosure or 1 m below the base of the enclosure)|
|8||protection against the consequences of immersion in the water in specified conditions (in the terms defined by a producer but stricter than for 7th degree)|
|9||protection against the powerful high temperature (+80°C) and high pressure (80-100 bar) water jets|
|A||protection against the access to hazardous parts with a hand|
|B||protection against the access to hazardous parts with a finger|
|C||protection against the access to hazardous parts with a tool|
|D||protection against the access to hazardous parts with a wire|
|H||high voltage apparatus|
|M||testing the effects of ingress of water while the moving parts are in motion|
|S||testing the effects of ingress of water while the moving parts are not in motion|
|W||operating in specified weather conditions|
Breakdown the IP code – the selected examples
The typically required degree of protection provided by the enclosures of indoor use devices, e.g., some of the home appliances, is IP22. It protects against the ingress of the solid objects bigger than 12,5 mm diameter and the water dripping at an angle of 15°. It also guarantees inaccessibility to hazardous partscovered by the enclosure that might be accidentally touched by the user with a hand or finger (the same for enclosures marked by IP3X, IP4X, IP5X, and IP6X codes).
In case of the devices intended for operation in rough environments, e.g., production halls, it is necessary to use enclosures of at least IP65. They guarantee the total protection against the dust and partial protection against the water. In some industries, e.g., food-processing, the devices might require the protection of the highest level defined in the PN 60539 that is IP69 – such enclosures are totally dust- and waterproof. They can be washed by the water jets of high temperature (+80°C) and high pressure (80-100 bar).
There is another group of devices that are worth noticing – smartphones. We want them to be more and more dust- and waterproof so that we can use them in any conditions. Some smartphones on the market provide the tightness of IP68, so their enclosure should protect the device against any ingress of dust or water. Then, no stress, you can use such models even while you are on the beach. 😉
Are you wondering what level of protection your device requires? Make use of the experience of our RnD Team – contact us, so together we will find the optimal solution.
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