Do you own a consumer product company, and you are looking to take your products to the next level with an IP rating? Or would you like to know how your products match other products using IP rating testing? If yes, then look no further.
In today’s blog, we will explain what IP testing is, look at various forms of IP-tested ratings, and elaborate more on how to test for ingress protection.
What is Ingress Protection?
Most people have heard terms like IP68, IP67, and IPX5 as selling points of electronic consumer products, but they probably do not know what the terms mean. Ingress Protection measures how well an enclosure or a casing has been made to withstand external foreign object intrusion.
Most of what is tested is dust and water. Dust and water can render PCBs inside electronics useless and may even cause dangers such as fire and explosion if not well tested to determine their ratings.
How is Ingress Protection Testing done?
Most testing is usually done against dust and water, and the ratings are typically given based on how well housing can withstand these two.
This is commonly referred to as solid testing because solid particles characterise dust. Depending on the equipment or device, most electronics usually have openings such as charging ports, speaker ports, microphone holes, and many more. These openings are generally known to attract dust that settles inside them. Some dust particles are microscopic and could quickly enter electronic devices and equipment and make them cause errors, become unusable, or even cause safety concerns.
To test them, the enclosure is placed inside a dust chamber which comes in different sizes for different-sized devices or equipment. These chambers may have solid particles ranging from sand to microscopic dust particles, depending on the device and standard you are testing to.
The dust particles are then fully suspended, either physically by shaking the chamber or by using air blowers to suspend dust particles. After everything has settled and testing is done, the device is removed from the dust chamber, and the enclosure is opened. The amount of dust inside and the size usually determine the IP rating your device will acquire.
Usually, there are two standard ratings for dust. IP5X, the ‘5’ meaning that the amount of dust that enters cannot interfere with the electronics. IP6X, with the ‘6’ meaning that the housing is fully enclosed from every form of dust.
This testing is only done with water as the standard liquid rather than other liquids. Testing happens in two ways for this; either by spraying or submerging.
By method of spraying, water jets are streamed to the device from all sides. Usually, these water jets are sprayed at specific pressures. The standard times for spraying typically range from 3 minutes to 30 minutes, depending on the device you are testing. After testing, the device is removed from the test area, and the casing is opened to see if any water droplets have entered the case.
By submersion method, the device is placed in a water-tight chamber, and it is then filled with water. Water is usually filled to different heights, and the device is left submerged for various lengths of time. After testing, the device is removed, and the inside is checked to see whether there is water inside.
Water ratings usually range from IPX0 – IPX8, with IPX0 showing no signs of protection from water at all, to IPX8 showing that the device and withstand protection from water at some depth and a specific period.
Having an IP rating is one of the best ways to protect your consumer electronic goods so they can last longer. These IP ratings indicate the level of protection against water and dust, which could also make your product sell more. Compliance Engineering is one of the laboratories that has been accredited to perform such tests.