The IP Code, also known as the International Protection Rating or the Ingress Protection Rating, is used to signify the degree of protection that enclosures provide against ingress of solid foreign objects and water and against access to dangerous parts inside the enclosure. IP ratings, and IEC standards in general, are typically applied to products with a significant presence in the European market; as such, Gibson Stainless products do not carry IP ratings.
International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) standard 60529 contains the guidance for assigning an IP Code to an enclosure, which consists of the letters “IP” followed by two numerals: The first numeral, indicates the level of protection to persons against access to hazardous parts inside the enclosure and against the intrusion of solid objects. This number ranges from 0 to 7, with 0 signifying that there is no special protection against this kind of intrusion and 7 signifying that the enclosure is completely dust tight. Protection against foreign objects such as body parts, wires, tools, etc. falls along the scale in between these ratings.
The second numeral indicates the level of protection against moisture and ranges from 0 to 9, with 0 signifying that there is no leakage protection of any kind and 9 signifying that the enclosure is protected from high pressure and temperature water directed at the enclosure. The ratings in between the two ends of the spectrum account for special protections against falling droplets, sprays, high and low pressure jets, and temporary immersion.
The combined digits of the IP Rating give engineers a clear picture of what types of environments and applications a specific electrical enclosure can withstand.
Protection provided by enclosures for electrical equipment is indicated by the IP codes:
Protection of people from hazardous parts and protection of
equipment from solid objects
Protection of the back of the hand against accidental contact with hazardous parts; and protection of equipment against solid objects larger than 50 mm in diameter.
Protection of fingers against accidental contact with hazardous parts; and protection of equipment against objects larger than 12.5 mm in diameter.
Protection of a person holding hand tools; and protection of equipment against solid objects larger than 2.5 mm in diameter.
Protection of a person holding a wire; and protection of equipment against objects larger than 1 mm in diameter.
Protection of equipment against entry of dust in quantities that can interfere with optimal equipment operation.
Complete protection against dust.
Protection of equipment against water
Protection against drops of water falling vertically.
Protection against drops of water falling vertically when enclosure is tilted up to a 15° angle from vertical.
Protection against water sprayed on the enclosure at an angle up to 60° from vertical.
Protection against splashing water from any direction.
Protection against low-pressure jets of water from any direction.
Protection against heavy seas or strong jets of water from any direction.
Protection against temporary immersion in water.
Protection against continuous immersion with specific environmental conditions agreed upon between a user and manufacturer.
Protection against high temperature and high pressure water jets.
Equivalencies between Ratings
A UL Listing, which indicates a comprehensive evaluation of the part, includes some environmental testing that parallels aspects of IP ratings. For example, testing for UL Listing of Gibson Stainless conduit bodies and device boxes includes “Wet Locations” tests. In these tests, the fittings are subjected to water spray directed at the fitting from multiple angles at a given pressure for a specified duration. This is similar to IP rating testing where a mandated volume of water is directed at the fitting over a given time period.