LV Switchgear

IP Ratings Explained: Everything You Need to Know

Ever wondered what the IP rating means on your electrical devices? You may have noticed that they vary, coming in different combinations of numbers. But why is that? We can give you the answers.

AF Switchgear offers switchgear and busbar systems of varying IP ratings, such as the:

After reading this blog, you should be able to understand the difference between the IP ratings. Additionally, you will learn how the ratings are determined and what they signify about your electrical appliances.

What is an IP Rating?

To inform users of how safe electrical devices are, IP ratings were developed. They are given to an electrical device, according to their enclosures and the environmental conditions where they are designed to be used. IP ratings indicate the protection level an enclosure gives the device against foreign bodies, such as dust, liquids, accidental contact, and moisture.

IP stands for Ingress Protection. To help avoid accidents and damage to electrical devices, the integrity of enclosures needs to be IP compliant.

IP ratings are defined by the international standard BS EN 60529: 1992. The rating system was developed by the International Electrotechnical Commission and it was released in 1976.

What are the two digits in an IP rating?

Whether in the home or a working environment, electrical devices need to have an IP rating to classify the degree of protection their enclosures give them, i.e. the effectiveness of sealing the device to protect against foreign bodies.

IP ratings consist of two digits. For example, our Power Distribution Units have ingress protection up to IP31.

The first number indicates the level of protection an electrical enclosure gives against solids. The second number indicates the level of protection against liquids.

The higher the number, the greater the protection level.

IP Ratings Explained

ip ratings infographic

The first number in an IP rating can range from 0 to 6, whereas the second number can range from 0 to 8. The levels of protection are determined as follows:

The First Number: Protection Against Solids

0 – The device has no protection from foreign bodies.

1 – The device is protected against solid objects greater than 50mm, such as accidental touch by hands.

2 – The device is protected against solid objects up to 12mm. For example, it is protected against fingers.

3 – The device is protected against solid objects greater than 2.5mm, such as tools and wires.

4 – The device is protected against solid objects greater than 1mm.

5 – The device has limited protection against small amounts of dust.

6 – The device is completely protected against dust.

The Second Number: Protection Against Liquids

0 – The device has no protection from liquids.

1 – The device is protected against drops of water. For example, it is protected against condensation.

2 – The device is protected against direct vertical sprays of water with the enclosure tilted up to 15 degrees.

3 – The device is protected against direct vertical sprays of water with the enclosure tilted up to 60 degrees.

4 – The device is protected against water sprayed from all directions.

5 – The device is protected against low-pressure jets of water from all directions.

6 – The device is protected against high-pressure jets of water. For example, this can be found on devices on ship decks.

7 – The device is protected against the effects of immersion between 15cm and 1m.

8 – The device is protected against long periods of immersion and pressure.

What is an IPX rating?

As previously mentioned, IP ratings are given to certain devices to indicate how resistant they are against dust, water, and other elements. 

If there is an X in the rating, this could indicate that the electrical device is not resistant to liquids/solids. The rating is determined by accounting for the environmental conditions in which the device is intended.

However, if a device has an X in the IP rating, this could also indicate that there is no data available for the electrical device. 

For example, an electrical device marked IP2X is protected against solid objects to a certain degree, but it is not protected against liquids, or there is no data to support that it is protected against liquids.

Which IP rating is waterproof?

The term ‘waterproof’ will depend on the environment and conditions around the electrical appliance. With this in mind, electrical devices that have an IP rating that includes a higher second number, such as IP65, 66, 67, and 68, are considered to be water resistant or even waterproof up to a certain point.

With this information on IP ratings, you should now understand how they are determined and what they mean. Furthermore, you should be able to ascertain how safe your electrical appliances are. 

Contact AF Switchgear today if you have a query regarding the switchgear or the busbar systems that we offer.

 

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