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Ingress Protection—Classifying the Degrees of Protection

Posted on 3/12/18 1:00 PM

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Dust, dirt, water—all “enemies” of electronic products due to the potential damage they can cause. To help address this issue, the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) has created a classification system (IEC 60529) designating degrees of protection regarding enclosures of electrical equipment against the invasion of contaminants, such as dust, dirt, or moisture, plus other foreign bodies (e.g. tools or fingers).

This classification utilizes the letters “IP” (Ingress Protection) followed by two digits. The first digit indicates protection against solid objects intruding into an enclosure. The second digit indicates the degree of protection against the harmful entry of various forms of moisture (e.g. dripping, spraying, submersion, etc.). Within the IP system, the protection level increases as the number designation increases.
Degrees of Protection—First Digit
First Digit Description
1 Protection against the ingress of solid objects greater than 50mm in diameter; protection from a large part of the body, such as a hand (but no protection from deliberate access)
2 Protection against fingers or other solid objects greater than 12.5mm in diameter
3 Protection from entry by tools, wires, etc. with a diameter or thickness greater than 2.5mm
4 Protection from entry by solid objects with a diameter or thickness greater than 1.0mm
5 Dust-protected; protection from the amount of dust that would interfere with the operation of the equipment
6 Dust-tight; protected from the ingress of dust
Degrees of Protection—Second Digit
Second Digit Description
1 Protection from vertically dripping water
2 Protection from vertically dripping water when enclosure is tilted up to 15°
3 Protection from sprayed water
4 Protection from splashed water
5 Protection from jetting water
6 Protection from powerful water jets
7 Protection against temporary immersion
8 Protection against complete, continuous submersion in water
9 Protection against high pressure/steam jet cleaning

Common protection ratings found on Interpower products, such as strain reliefs/cable glands and conduit components, are: IP65, IP68, and IP69K.

  • IP65
    This rating means it needs to be dust-tight and it needs to be protected against water jets.
  • IP68
    This rating means it needs to be dust-tight and be protected against complete immersion in water.
  • IP69K
    This rating is for high-pressure, high-temperature wash-down applications used to sanitize equipment.

If there is only one class of protection, then an “X” is used for one of the digits. For example: IPX4 means it addresses moisture resistance only.

It should also be noted that while this classification system is acceptable for use with most types of electrical equipment, checking with the manufacturer is recommended to determine the exact degrees of protection.

Additional Resources

For more information on strain reliefs/cable glands available through Interpower, see Strain Reliefs and the Featured Product page.

Interpower offers free technical support. For further assistance, please see Interpower’s contact information below.

Topics: electrical safety, product design, cable glands, ingress protection, strain reliefs

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