Electronic devices such as mobile phones, cameras, tablets and wireless speakers have become an integral part of our daily essentials, both professionally and in everyday live. This has increased the demand for rugged devices that can be used outdoor as well as under demanding circumstances at work. For the latter, think of industrial equipment such as regulators and meters that have to be protected from dust and moisture. Manufactures cater to this demand by producing and marketing dustproof and waterproof devices.
The IP (International Protection, also known as Ingress Protection) ratings consists of the letters IP, followed by two digits. The first digit (IP XX) indicates the degree of protection against touching and penetrating by foreign bodies of various sizes. The second digit (IP XX) indicates the degree of protection against moisture. The IP rating is standardized internationally in the IEC 60529 standard.
Degrees of protection
The degree of protection against touching and penetrating by solid objects consists of six levels (source: Wikipedia):
- 0 - No protection against contact and ingress of objects;
- 1 - >50 mm: any large surface of the body, such as the back of a hand, but no protection against deliberate contact with a body part;
- 2 - >12.5 mm: Fingers or similar objects;
- 3 - >2.5 mm: Tools, thick wires, etc.;
- 4 - >1 mm: most wires, slender screws, large ants etc.;
- 5 - Dust protected: ingress of dust is not entirely prevented, but it must not enter in sufficient quantity to interfere with the satisfactory operation of the equipment;
- 6 - Dust tight: no ingress of dust; complete protection against contact (dust tight). A vacuum must be applied. Test duration of up to 8 hours based on air flow.