Electronics Protection - March/April 2012 - (Page 6)

Feature The Lowdown on IP Codes – Ingress Protection of Electrical Products William S. Bisenius, NCE & NCT, President CertifiGroup, Inc. Who Needs an IP Rating? What is Your IP Code Do you know what your product’s IP Code is? An IP Code is a rating assigned to a product or enclosure indicating its level of ingress protection, or the amount of protection that the enclosure provides against the entry of solid foreign objects (fingers, tools, dust, etc.) and against moisture (varying degrees of rain). IP Codes utilize the format “IPXX”, with the “X’s” representing numbers from the coding scheme. The 1st number represents the degree of protection against the entry of foreign solid objects and has a range of 0 to 6. The second number represents the degree of protection against the entry of moisture and has a range of 0 to 8. Note that the letter “X” may be substituted for the number “0”. The following provides a summary of the IP Code System. IP Code – 1st Numeral Protection from Solid Foreign Objects IP0 or X - Not evaluated IP1 - ≥ 50.0 mm diameter object IP2 - ≥ 12.5 mm diameter object IP3 - ≥ 2.5 mm diameter object IP4 - ≥ 1.0 mm diameter object IP5 - Dust-Protected IP6 - Dust-Tight IP Code – 2nd Numeral Protection from Moisture IP0 or X - Not evaluated IP1 - Dripping Water: Vertical IP2 - Dripping Water: 15° Tilt IP3 - Spraying Water IP4 - Splashing Water IP5 - Jetting Water IP6 - Powerful Jetting Water IP7 - Temporary Immersion IP8 - Continuous Immersion Perhaps the best way to understand the IP code system is to see a few examples. Listed below are a few of the many possible IP Code combinations, remember that “X” and “0” are interchangeable. IP13: Protected from solid foreign objects ≥ 50 mm diameter and protected from moisture up to spraying water. IP52: Dust-protected and protected from moisture up to dripping water. IP65: Dust-tight and protected from moisture up to jetting water. IPX1: Not evaluated for protection against solid foreign objects and protected from moisture up to vertically dripping water. IP4X: Protected from solid foreign objects up to 1.0 mm diameter and not evaluated for protection from moisture. Of course the “not evaluated” aspect of the “X” or “0” rating can mean many things. It can represent a product that would be compliant but has not been tested, it can also represent a product that would not comply. In many cases it is simply an unknown for products that were never intended to comply with that section of the requirements/tests. 6 Many products and components need an IP rating. In the US, Canada and Mexico an increasing number of UL and CSA standards are requiring IP ratings, information technology equipment, laboratory equipment, electrical medical equipment and light fixtures to name a few. In addition, the European CE mark system requires suitable IP ratings for products, as do all foreign countries outside the EU. Examples of products that need IP ratings include outdoor products, off-the-shelf enclosures, dust-tight products, moisture resistant products, damp location products, as well as their critical components. Note that higher IP ratings can resolve other compliance concerns as with sealed products used in hazardous locations. More specific examples include a minimum IPX4 rating requirement for handheld controls of electrical medical equipment, and an exception for information technology equipment permitting reduced electrical spacings inside enclosures with a minimum IP54 rating. How Do I Get an IP Rating? Each number in the IP Code rating scheme represents a specific test; the higher the number, the more severe the test. Each test has requirements that tightly control the test procedure and the test equipment. By identifying the desired IP Code for your product (as required for your type of product by the appropriate safety standard and/or as requested by your customer/marketing department) you can translate this code to a specific test program Ingress Protection Testing IP Testing – 1st Numeral: Ratings IP1X – IP4X Tests for ratings IP1X to IP4X address ingress from solid foreign objects of varying size limit. These size limits correlate to appropriately sized accessibility probes. These probes are applied to the enclosure of the product to determine if they are able to enter any enclosure openings. The standard also indicates a maximum force limit to be applied to each probe. IP Testing – 1st Numeral: Ratings IP5X - IP6X Unlike ratings IP1X to IP4X, tests for ratings IP5X and IP6X require much more complex test equipment. The intent of these tests is to support the test sample in a dust test chamber containing specially sized grains of talcum powder in suspension. Depending on the type of product being tested and the associated requirements in the end-product standard, a vacuum line may also be connected to the sample. Note that the design of the product will dictate whether the vacuum line results in air flow. Leaky seals will allow air to flow when the vacuum is applied and therefore pressure will not build. Likewise, a tightly sealed product will have little to no air flow and consequently negative pres-sure will increase. March/April 2012 www.ElectronicsProtectionMagazine.com http://www.ElectronicsProtectionMagazine.com

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Electronics Protection - March/April 2012

Electronics Protection - March/April 2012
Surge Stopper Shields Electronics From Transients Beyond 100 V
The Lowdown on IP Codes – Ingress Protection of Electrical Products
A Case for Safety - AC Arc Fault Circuit Interruption for PV Systems with Microinverters or AC Modules
Enclosure Design: IVC’s new Lightweight Explosion-Proof Camera Enclosure System
Portable Shock and Vibration Protection
Polycase Offers New Options for NEMA 4X Plastic Enclosures
New Circuit Board Shielding from Leader Tech
Laird Technologies Releases new Liquid Cooling Systems Product Line
ASI Releases New UL489 Hydraulic Magnetic Circuit Breakers
PEM C.A.P.S. Captive Panel Screws Offered in Three Mounting Styles26
SolarFocus Releases new SolarKindle Case
Indsutry News
Coherent Integrates Marway’s Power Distribution Solution into Energy Efficient, Direct-Diode Laser System Design

Electronics Protection - March/April 2012