What Is an IP Rating, and How Does IP Rating Work?

Posted by Jerod Green on August 12, 2022

Edge computing allows organizations to minimize the latency caused by transferring data to and from remote data centers. It improves the performance of applications and services from the user’s perspective and enables faster processing of data collected by Internet of Things (IoT) devices.

Often, however, edge equipment must be placed in less-than-optimal environments. IT equipment housed in retail stores, schools, warehouses, and other facilities may be subject to accidental damage, tampering, or temperature extremes. Industrial locations are particularly problematic due to the presence of water, dust, and other substances that may be hazardous to the IT equipment.

Choosing the right ICT (information and communications technology) enclosure is especially important in these locations. The IP rating of the cabinet offers an important clue as to whether it can withstand harsh conditions.

What Is an IP Rating?

An ingress protection (IP) rating indicates the ability of a cabinet or device housing to prevent intrusion by solids and liquids. The European Committee for Electrotechnical Standardization developed the rating system to provide a clear standard for measuring water and dust resistance.

The International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) maintains the standard in IEC 60529. Related standards include MIL-STD-810, maintained by the U.S. Military, and RTCA/DO-160, maintained by the Radio Technical Commission for Aeronautics.

How Does IP Rating Work?

IP ratings typically have two digits. The first indicates the amount of protection from dust and other solids, and the second indicates the amount of protection from water. An optional third letter provides additional information.

IP Dust Ratings

The first digit ranges from 0 (no protection) to 6 (dust-tight). The lower end of the range represents the enclosure’s ability to prevent access by hands, fingers, tools, wires, and other objects. Only 5 and 6 represent dust protection.

Dust Proof IP Rating

A completely dust proof IP rating would be written as IP6X.

IP Water Ratings

The second digit ranges from 0 (no protection) to 9K (protection from high-pressure, high-temperature jets). Numbers 1, 2, 3, and 4 represent protection from dripping, spraying, or splashing water, 5 and 6 represent protection against water jets, 7 and 8 represent protection from immersion, and 9K represents protection against all of the above and high-temperature, high-pressure water jets.

Waterproof IP Rating

A completely waterproof IP rating would be written as IPX9.

Contact the Experts

Ingress Protection (IP) Rating Chart

IP Solid Ratings (Dust) IP Liquid Ratings (Water)
0 (IP0X) - No protection. 0 (IPX0) - No protection.
1 (IP1X) - Protected against solid objects greater than 50mm (Ex. hands). 1 (IPX1) - Protected against vertically falling water droplets.
2 (IP2X) - Protected against solid objects greater than 12.5mm (Ex. fingers). 2 (IPX2) - Protected against vertically falling water droplets when tilted at a 15-degree angle.
3 (IP3X) - Protection against solid objects greater than 2.5mm (Ex. screwdriver). 3 (IPX3) - Protected against water sprays while the enclosure is tilted at a 60-degree angle (limit of 3 minutes).
4 (IP4X) - Protection against solid objects greater than 1mm (Ex. wires). 4 (IPX4) - Protected against splashes of water from all directions.
5 (IP5X) - Dust protected. Dust ingress is limited but not completely prevented. Dust ingress will not interfere with the operation of the equipment. Complete protection against contact. 5 (IPX5) - Protected against water jets from all directions.
6 (IP6X) - Dust proof. Complete protection from dust ingress. Complete protection against contact. 6 (IPX6) - Protected against heavy water jets from all directions (Ex. seawater).
  7 (IPX7) - Protected from the effects of temporary water immersion at depth of 15 cm. - 1 m. (up to 30 minutes).
  8 (IPX8) - Protected from the effects of continuous water immersion.
  9K (IPX9K) - Protected against close-range, high-pressure, high-temperature water jets.

Optional Ratings

There are five letters that may be used to provide additional information:

  • F — oil resistant
  • H — high voltage
  • M — device monitored during water test
  • S — device not moving during water test
  • W — weather conditions

How To Get an IP Rating

Manufacturers can perform the tests needed to obtain an IP rating or use the facilities and services of a testing lab. Testing procedures must adhere to the standard.

The testing of enclosed products focuses on the seams, which are generally sealed by flexible or rigid gaskets. For products needing airflow, the testing might examine the level of dust and water protection.

An IP rating may be required by another standard, such as UL, or may be voluntary. Products used in automotive or military applications often need IP ratings, and sellers may ask for a product’s IP rating before putting it in inventory.

Introducing the EdgeRack Industrial 8M from Enconnex

The latest entry in the Enconnex EdgeRack line of enclosures is designed for industrial applications. Slated for release later this year, the EdgeRack Industrial 8M has an IP54 rating, making it suitable for use in factories, production facilities, and other remote locations. It protects against dust intrusion and prevents the invasion of splashed water from all directions.

The EdgeRack Industrial 8M is a plug-and-play solution with integrated, high-efficiency cooling up to 8kW that can be adjusted according to the IT load using the built-in inverter compressor and fans. Electromagnetic locks provide enhanced security but automatically open if high temperatures or a power outage is detected. The cabinet comes with temperature, humidity, smoke, and leak detection sensors. Bundle the cabinet with our PDUs, UPS, network cables, and power cords for a complete micro data center solution.

Contact Enconnex for more information on the EdgeRack Industrial 8M’s upcoming launch.

Enhance Your Edge

Posted by Jerod Green on August 12, 2022

Jerod has been in the data center industry for 10 years and has a passion for manufacturing fiber-optic and copper cabling solutions. As Director of Sales for Enconnex, he helps customers select the right solutions and is involved in the design and installation of enterprise-class network infrastructure.

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