What is the IP protection and what does it indicate?

What is the IP protection and what does it indicate?

The protection of equipment and devices in any environment is of vital importance to ensure their correct operation and avoid possible damage.

To guarantee the safety of devices, there is the IP protection classification (Ingress Protection). It is one of the best known standards in this regard, as it establishes levels of protection against the entry of solids and liquids. In this article we will explain what IP is, its nomenclature, its uses and why it is important to take it into account when purchasing equipment and devices in any field.

What is the Ingress Protection?

Ingress Protection

The IP rating is an international standard according to the IEC 60529 standard that is used to classify the degree of protection or sealing effectiveness of electrical enclosures against intrusion of objects, water and/or dust due to human factors or environmental agents.

It is a worldwide standard that categorizes the different degrees of protection in equipment or devices, whether electronic or industrial. This classification is represented by two digits, where the first one indicates the level of protection against solids and the second one against liquids. The nomenclature used in IP protection follows a specific structure. The first digit ranges from 0 to 6 and the second digit ranges from 0 to 9. The higher the number, the higher the protection provided by the equipment.

The IP nomenclature

The Ingress Protection, as mentioned above, consists of two digits that indicate the level of protection offered by an equipment or device against the ingress of solid objects and liquids.

The first digit indicates the protection against solid objects:

• IP0: No protection
• IP1-5: Protection against solid objects of different sizes, the higher the number, the higher the protection.
• IP6: Total isolation against dust.

The second digit indicates protection against liquids:

• IP0: No protection.
• IP1-8: Protection against ingress of liquids at different levels. The higher the number, the higher the protection against water pressure.
• IP9-K: Protection against powerful water jets and high pressure. The unit can withstand high-pressure water jets without liquid entering the unit and can even continue to operate in water.

The highest nomenclature in terms of IP protection would be IP69K in terms of resistance to both solid objects and liquids. This rating is especially relevant in industrial environments that face extreme conditions and require exceptional protection.

The first number in the IP69K rating, 6, indicates that the device has full protection against the penetration of solid objects. Level 6 solid object protection means that the device is watertight and does not allow ingress of particles even in extremely adverse conditions.

The second digit, 9K, is the highlight of the IP69K rating. It indicates that the device has the highest possible protection against liquids, including submersion. The 9K rating is superior compared to other IP ratings, as it ensures that the device can withstand high-pressure jets of hot water from multiple directions without water penetrating inside. In addition, this protection also means exceptional resistance against other liquids, such as oils, solvents and other aggressive chemicals.

Different applications of IP protection

In general, any industrial environment where there is the possibility of exposure to liquids, dust, debris, extreme environmental conditions or hazardous substances requires careful consideration of IP protection to ensure safe and reliable operation.

For example, if you want to buy an outdoor light bulb or LED or install an electrical resistance, you must take into account the IP you will need depending on customer specifications and depending on the installation (indoor, outdoor, for corrosive environments, etc..) will provide a type of protection or another, so you can make sure if it is resistant to rain or other elements.

On the other hand, it is also essential in electronic devices since in daily use they are more likely to be exposed to moisture, be hit or accumulate dust. Not only in the domestic field, IP protection is also measured in the food industry to ensure good food processing. Or even in the pharmaceutical field as IP protection is essential to ensure the integrity of manufacturing processes and compliance with health regulations.

The NEMA classification

Norma NEMA

For IES it is also important to consider the NEMA classification, which is the product classification for electrical manufacturers in the USA. This rating, like Ingress Protection, indicates the level of protection offered by a device, ranging from dust protection to corrosive media. All NEMA ratings assume that the enclosure provides safety to personnel by protecting them from potentially hazardous parts.

NEMA ratings 1-6 and 12-13 are designed for non-hazardous locations, while type 11 focuses on corrosion resistance. In contrast, types 7-10 are used to rate goods destined for hazardous or explosive locations.

The difference between IP and NEMA is mainly that the latter rating takes into account corrosion protection factors. In terms of equivalence between IP and NEMA, it would be as follows:

• NEMA 1 = IP10
• NEMA 2 = IP11
• NEMA 3 = IP54
• NEMA 4 = IP56
• NEMA 4X = IP66
• NEMA 6 = IP67
• NEMA 12 = IP52
• NEMA 13 = IP54

In order to supply our heating equipment in the USA, it is essential that they comply with this regulation that tests and qualifies the products according to the standards under the American methodology.

We must go back to 2014 to show one of the first projects that IES carried out in compliance with this NEMA standard. It was a major project, the design, manufacture and commissioning of several superheaters for a solar thermal plant in the Nevada desert. Pass-through superheaters for saturated steam, superheaters for dry air, superheaters for molten salts and also for water.

IP and NEMA protection at IES SOLER

These protection nomenclatures are applied in a wide variety of industrial equipment and in IES Soler they are commercialized in both divisions: In IES Heat designing and manufacturing industrial electric heat equipment and in the Safety division distributing acoustic engineering solutions nationwide and Portugal.

To achieve this, in IES Soler we take as a reference the IP and NEMA classification in our industrial equipment, with a variety of innovative solutions in the market, such as hermetically sealed housings and special coatings, to safeguard the internal components and ensure their efficient operation in adverse conditions. Devices used in industrial environments are often exposed to extreme conditions, such as dust, humidity, vibrations and high temperatures, so it is crucial to have adequate protection to ensure their optimal operation and prolong their service life.

Among those manufactured by IES, these are the most common IPs:

• Air heaters between IP34 and IP66
• Radiation equipment between IP20 and IP65
• Electric coils up to IP66
• Immersion heaters up to IP68
• Heat exchangers up to IP66

Ensuring a high level of protection in industrial products is essential for the useful life of the equipment and to guarantee the safety of the people who handle them. In IES we work in a safe and responsible way with suppliers of proximity approved and certified under CE standards that count with high quality raw materials.