International IEC 60529 – Ingress Protection

IEC 60529 IP Rating sometimes is referred to as Ingress Protection Rating but is more commonly known as International Protection Rating.

An international committee the International Electrotechnical Commission defined this standard originally in 1998.  The US ANSI (American National Standards Institute) and NEMA (National Electrical Manufacturer’s Association) are members of IEC (IEC 60529) and contributed to its development.

This standard is typically applied to commercial products and their ability to keep the environment from interfering with the operation of a product.  Ratings are defined by the letters IP followed by two digits and an optional letter. As defined in international standard IEC 60529, it classifies the degrees of protection provided against the intrusion of solid objects (including body parts like hands and fingers), dust, accidental contact, and water in electrical enclosures. The standard aims to provide users more detailed information than vague marketing terms such as waterproof.

The IP Code, International Protection Marking, IEC 60529, sometimes interpreted as Ingress Protection Marking, classifies and rates the degree of protection provided against intrusion (body parts such as hands and fingers), dust, accidental contact, and water by mechanical casings and electrical enclosures. It is published by the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC). The equivalent British standard is EN 60529.

The standard aims to provide users more detailed information than vague marketing terms such as waterproof. The digits (characteristic numerals) indicate conformity with the conditions summarized in the tables below. Where there is no data available to specify a protection rating with regard to one of the criteria, the digit is replaced with the letter X. The digit 0 is used where no protection is provided.

A rating of X for one or more of the protection criteria can be erroneously misinterpreted as “no protection”. To illustrate, a piece of electronic equipment rated IPX7 will almost certainly demonstrate a robust resistance to the ingress of particles, even though a rating for ingress of solids hasn’t been formally assigned. Hence, an X designation shouldn’t be automatically misconstrued as a lack of protection.

For example, a cellular phone rated at IP58 is “dust resistant” and can be “immersed in 1.5 meters of freshwater for up to 30 minutes”. Similarly, an electrical socket rated IP22 is protected against insertion of fingers and will not be damaged or become unsafe during a specified test in which it is exposed to vertically or nearly vertically dripping water. IP22 or 2X are typical minimum requirements for the design of electrical accessories for indoor use.

The ratings for water ingress are not cumulative beyond IPX6. A device which is compliant with IPX7, covering immersion in water, need not be compliant with IPX5 or IPX6, covering exposure to water jets. A device which meets both tests is indicated by listing both tests separated by a slash, e.g. IPX5/IPX7.

There are no hyphens in a genuine IP code. IPX-8 (for example) is thus a false IP code.

By 2013, IEC 60529 was updated to include the IPX9 water ingress test. This test appears to be identical to the IP69K test from DIN 40050-9.

IEC 60529CVG Strategy’s experts have many years of experience in enclosure design, protection of electronics as well as coatings, adhesives and gaskets.  This experience with a wide variety of sizes and types of protection enables us to add value and to find solutions quickly.  In addition, our ability to manage the testing and develop appropriate test plans ensures that the results are meaningful and programs are efficiently executed.

IPX Standard Code Meanings

  •  IPX-0     No special protection
  •  IPX-1     Protected against falling water Equivalent to 3-5mm rainfall per minute for a duration of 10 minutes.
  •  IPX-2     Protected against falling water when tilted up to 15 degrees – Same as IPX-1 but unit is tested in 4 fixed positions – tilted 15 degrees in each direction from normal operating position.
  •  IPX-3     Protected against spraying water – Water spraying up to 60 degrees from vertical at 10 liters/min at a pressure of 80-100kN/m2 for 5 min.
  •  IPX-4     Protected against splashing water – Same as IPX-3 but water is sprayed at all angles.
  •  IPX-5     Protected against water jets – Water projected at all angles through a 6.3mm nozzle flow rate of 12.5 liters/min at a pressure of 30kN/m2 for 3 minutes from a distance of 3 meters.
  •  IPX-6     Protected against heavy seas – Water projected at all angles through a 12.5mm nozzle at a flow rate of 100 liters/min at a 100kN/m2pressure for 3 minutes from a distance of 3 meters.
  •  IPX-7     Protected against water immersion – Immersion for 30 minutes at a depth of 1 meter.
  •  IPX-8     Protected against water submersion – Equipment suitable for continual submersion in water under conditions as specified by manufacturer.

Common IEC 60529 tests include:

IP65       Dust Tight and Water Jets Protected

IP67       Dust Tight and Water Immersion Protected

IP68       Dust Tight and Continuous Water Immersion Protected

Degree of IEC 60529 protection against solid foreign objects (1st number)

IP1X IEC 60529

 

 

 

 

 

Degree of protection against water (2nd number)

IPx1 water

NEMA vs. IEC 60529

The National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA) in the United States also publishes protection ratings for enclosures similar to the IP rating system published by the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC).  NEMA however also dictates other product features not addressed by IP codes, such as corrosion resistance, gasket aging, and construction practices.  For this reason while it is possible to map IP Codes to NEMA ratings that satisfy or exceed the IP Code criteria, it is not possible to map NEMA ratings to IEC 60529 IP codes, as the IP Code does not mandate the additional requirements.

North American enclosure rating systems are defined in NEMA 250, UL 50 (Underwriters Laboratories), UL 508, and CSA C22.2 No. 94 (Canadian Standards Association).

NEMA Rating

IEC 60529

IP Equivalent

     1

     IP10

     2

     IP11

     3

     IP54

     3R

     IP14

     3S

     IP54

     4

     IP66

     4X

     IP66

     5

     IP52

     6

     IP67

     6P

     IP67

     12 and 12K

     IP52

     13

     IP54

NEMA Ratings vs. IP comparison table can be downloaded here.

IP69K

German standard DIN 40050-9 extends the IEC 60529 rating system described above with an IP69K rating for high-pressure, high-temperature wash-down applications. Such enclosures must not only be dust-tight (IP6X), but it must also be able to withstand high-pressure and steam cleaning.

The test specifies a spray nozzle that is fed with 80 °C water at 8–10 MPa (80–100 bar) and a flow rate of 14–16 L/min. The nozzle is held 10–15 cm from the tested device at angles of 0°, 30°, 60° and 90° for 30 seconds each. The test device sits on a turntable that rotates once every 12 seconds (5 rpm).

The IP69K test specification was initially developed for road vehicles, especially those that need regular intensive cleaning (dump trucks, cement mixers, etc.), but it also finds use in other areas (for example, the food industry and car wash centers).

Ingress Protection for consumer electronics

The inclusion of an Ingress Protection rating has become increasingly common for use in the consumer electronics market with devices such as mobile phones, tablet computers and cameras now being sold as water resistant, waterproof and dustproof.

Cell phones

With over 1 billion mobile devices shipped worldwide annually, mobile phones are being carried daily into various environments where water, dust and finer microparticles are a threat to the continued usage of electronic devices.

Manufacturers such as Samsung, Sony and Motorola have now started to market handsets that offer IP ratings with devices in their Samsung Galaxy S series, Samsung Galaxy Note series, Sony Xperia Z series, Moto G (3rd generation) respectively, aimed at consumers who are worried about their handsets flooding or getting covered in dust.

While various ranges of smartphones do offer protection against the elements they aren’t always protected against drops and can still break easily when dropped onto hard surfaces. Due to this, the need for ruggedised mobile phones[4] has also increased significantly with specialist manufacturers like Bullitt Group offering devices that combine both Ingress Protection ratings and MIL-STD 810G standards which protect against a range of environmental conditions such as; Low Pressure (Altitude), High Temperature, Low Temperature, Contamination by Fluids, Solar Radiation (Sunshine), Humidity, Salt Fog, Sand and Dust.

The combination of both Ingress Protection ratings and MIL-STD 810 has provided the ruggedised consumer market an extra dimension to consider when marketing products towards those who enjoy outdoor recreation, extreme sports as well as manual workers in skilled trades.

Cameras

Digital photography is another area that has seen an increase in the number of devices offering protection against water and dust as well as protection against drops, shocks, vibrations and temperature variations. Popular devices like the Nikon 1 AW1, Sony Cybershot T-series and the Olympus Stylus Tough TG-860 offer high-spec photography with the added protection that IP and MIL-STD standards provide.

Photographers, both professional and amateur, can make good use of ruggedised photography equipment in environments where conditions are unpredictable, and where the device/camera may require added protection against the elements.

Speakers

With the availability of portable devices, and the desire to get outside with active lifestyles, portable speakers have become popular with the rugged consumer market for those who enjoy outdoor recreation, extreme sports as well as manual workers in skilled trades. Manufacturers such as JBL and UE have started to offer Bluetooth speakers with IP ratings, aimed at consumers who enjoy rugged outdoor water sports, hiking, and camping.

CVG Strategy experts can help you navigate compliance with the IEC 60529 standard and also with product improvement and mitigation of design challenges.

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