The general public today knows a lot about ingress protection rating or IP rating, thanks to all the smartphone reviewers on social media. The IP rating is one of the parameters that is covered in almost all smartphone reviews.
However, most people don’t know that ingress protection rating or IP rating applies to a lot of other electronic products, not just smartphones.
In this blog post, we will explore the topic of ingress protection testing, solid IP testing, water IP testing, and the meaning of those IP codes.
What Is Ingress Protection Testing?
Ingress protection (IP) tests are performed to ensure enclosures provide adequate protection against the environment in which they are located. Tests include ingress of solid foreign objects, water and dust. Measurements are performed according to the procedures of AS 60529 (IEC 60529).
A variety of dedicated IP testing equipment such as specific dust, nozzles and immersion tanks are used to determine the level of resistance provided by the enclosure.
Solid IP Testing
The susceptibility of an enclosure to the ingress of solid particles is carried out using specific calibrated equipment. These solid particles may include dirt particles or fingers. The testing standards may also include dust testing as well as sand testing.
Accredited laboratories that offer IP testing have calibrated items with specific dimensions to test objects against solid ingress. For bigger items, accessibility probes are used to determine the extent of penetration.
In the case of dust testing, a dust chamber is used for testing. The dust is of a particular size and it is agitated to fully suspend in the enclosure and fully cover the test item. Once the testing has been completed, the outside is completely cleaned and the enclosure is then checked to find the quantity of dust inside.
Water IP Testing
Water IP testing is done using a waterproof enclosure. The test equipment includes various levels and volumes of liquids and the test is carried out for different durations. There are different kinds of tests such as dripping water tests, spraying water tests as well as driving water tests.
Immersion tests are also a popular part of water IP testing. In this case, the enclosure is fully immersed in water for a particular period. The exposure time and submersion depth are determined as per international standards.
The liquid may also be of different types. For example, products that need to go on ships may be tested in cold water. If a product has to be tested in ocean conditions, cold salt water is used to simulate those conditions.
Determination of IP Codes
First number – Degree of ingress protection
The first number of the IP code indicates the degree of protection against contact with moving parts and the degree that the equipment is protected against solid foreign bodies intruding into an enclosure.
0 – No special protection
1 – Protection from a large part of the body such as hand or from solid objects greater than 50 mm in diameter
2 – Protection against objects not greater than 80 mm in length and 12 mm in diameter
3 – Protection from entry by tools, wires, etc., with a diameter or thickness greater than 2.5 mm
4 – Protection from entry by solid objects with a diameter or thickness greater than 1.0 mm
5 – Protection from an amount of dust that would interfere with the operation of the equipment
6 – Dust-tight
Second number – Degree of moisture protection
The second number indicates the degree of protection for the equipment inside the enclosure against the harmful entry of various forms of moisture (e.g. dripping, spraying, submersion, etc.)
0 – No special protection
1 – Protection from vertically dripping water
2 – Protection from dripping water when tilted up to 15°
3 – Protection from sprayed water
4 – Protection from splashed water
5 – Protection from water projected from a nozzle
6 – Protection against heavy seas, or powerful jets of water
7 – Protection against temporary immersion
8 – Protection against complete continuous submersion in water (up to 1 metre deep for 15 minutes
Overall, IP testing stands for ingress protection testing. The most commonly used enclosure testing standard is IEC 60529. IP ratings are extremely popular as it clearly indicates the degree of protection against the ingress of solids as well as liquids.
Compliance Engineering is one of the premier accredited testing laboratories in the country and has decades of experience in testing solutions.