Check out this handy IP ratings table which details the level of protection against each code and the test methods that are also used to determine the ratings.
The specific IP rating required for an electrical enclosure will depend upon the environment and application condition, industry standards and in special cases it will be bound by legal requirements.
Read on for information about typical applications and considerations when selecting an electrical enclosure or cabinet.
BS EN 60529 : 1992 - Specification for degrees of protection provided by enclosures (IP Code)*
This standard (also IEC Standard 60529: 2001) describes a uniform system (IP Ratings) for classifying the degrees of protection provided by the enclosures of electrical equipment with a rated voltage not exceeding 72.5 kV.
The degree of protection provided by an enclosure is indicated by the International Protection or IP Code. The standard defines the precise meaning of each characteristic letter/numeral.
What does an IP Rating Code mean?
The code letters ‘IP’ refer to International Protection.
The first digit in the specification code refers to the level of protection against solid objects and dust.
The second digit refers to the level of protection against ingress of liquid.
A first additional letter and a supplementary letter may also be added e.g. IP23CH. The first additional represents enhanced personnel protection and the last letter indicates any supplementary information for specific applications e.g. high voltage equipment or moving and rotating equipment.
The digits are then combined to indicate the overall level of protection, that the enclosure will provide, against ingress of solids and dust and liquids.
In instances where a digit is replaced by an ‘X’, the enclosure or cabinet has not been tested for or does not require the level of protection against that criteria.
IP Rating Table
Cross reference the first and second digit columns in the IP ratings table** below for the overall level of protection that the enclosure will provide, against ingress of solids, dust and liquids.
E.g. IP56 = Protected against harmful dust (first digit) with protection from strong water jets and no harmful effects of strong water jets from all directions (second digit).
|International Protection (IP)||
(0 - 6)
Level of Protection -
Solids and Dust
(0 - 8)
Level of Protection -
(using Pure Water)
|IP||0||No protection||0||No protection||No test|
|IP||1||Protected against ingress of solid object, diameter 50mm.
||1||Protection against water drop. No harmful effect of vertical water drip.||By using water drip tool vertically dropping water for 10 min.
|IP||2||Protected against ingress of solid object, diameter 12.5mm.
||2||Protection against water drop. No harmful effect of water drip from vertical direction when the enclosure is tilted at 15° from its normal position.||By using water drip tool at an angle of 15°, dripping water for 10 min (2.5 min per direction).
|IP||3||Totally protected against ingress of solid object, diameter 2.5mm.
||3||Protection against water spray. No harmful effect of water spray at any angle up to 60° from the vertical direction.||By using a tool to spray water vertically in angle up to 60° for 10 min.
|IP||4||Totally protected against ingress of solid object diameter 1.0mm.
||4||Protection from water splash. No harmful effect of water spray from all direction.||By using a tool to splash water from all directions for 10 min.
|IP||5||Protected against harmful dust.
||5||Protection from water jets. No harmful effect of water splash from all directions.||By using a tool to jet water from all directions to the object surface for 1 m2/min, at least for
3 min in total.
|IP||6||Totally protected against dust and protects against access with a wire.
||6||Protection from strong water jets. No harmful effect of strong water jets from all directions.||By using a tool to jet water from all directions to the object surface for 1 m2/min, at least for 3 min in total. (See video below of Water Ingress Test of the Citadel™ Industrial Cabinet).
|7||Protection from water dip. No harmful effect of water dip in certain level of pressure and length of time.||Dip into 1m depth water for 30 min.|
|8||Protection from water sink. No harmful effect against water sink which the condition is decided between customer & manufacturer (in severer condition comparing to no.7).||Should be decided between customer and manufacturer.|
Where an IP rating code features a first additional letter:
|First Additional Letter||Meaning|
|A (used with first digit 0)||Protects against access with back of hand|
|B (used with first digits 0 & 1)||Protects against access with finger|
|C (used with first digits 0, 1 & 2)||Protects against access with tool|
|D (used with first digits 0, 1, 2 & 3)||Protects against access with wire|
Where an IP rating code features a second supplementary letter:
|H||High voltage equipment|
|M||Moving or rotating equipment (tested while in motion)|
|S||Moving or rotating equipment (tested while at rest)|
|W||Weatherproof (agreed between Manufacturer and User)|
Water Ingress Testing Video featuring the IP56 Rated Citadel Enclosure Cabinets
The following video demonstrates the type of water jet test method to achieve a 6 rating on level of protection against the ingress of liquids.
Which IP Rating? Typical Applications and Considerations
In their 'Guide to the ‘IP’ Codes for Enclosures', EIEMA*** provide some helpful general examples of where the different levels of protection may be applied.
- Residential / Office / School
Generally clean, dry and free from harmful deposits of dust, but some condensate may be present due to atmospheric conditions.Minimum protection from typically IP2XC for dry conditions.
- Control Rooms / Sub-Stations
Generally dry and free from harmful deposits of dust, but some condensate may be present due to atmospheric conditions.
Where access is restricted to skilled or instructed persons, IP2X is the typical minimum requirement for dry conditions.
- Commercial / Light Industrial
May not be clean, but normally dry and free from harmful deposits of dust. Suitable minimum protection:
a) Where condensate is not present, IP2XC
b) Where condensate may be present, IP21C
c) Equipment installed within range of fire sprinkler systems, IP22C. Machine control equipment, where fluids may be present, e.g. lathes, millers etc., typically IP54. Consideration should also be given to the corrosive properties of certain fluids.
- Heavy Industrial / Chemical / Steel Making etc
May not be totally clean, with possible presence of corrosive elements and harmful deposits of dust.
Protection from a minimum of IP54 will be typically required, with special consideration given to the corrosion resisting properties of the enclosure.
- Food Processing
Will vary depending on the type of food being processed and the possible requirement for washing down.
Where fine powders are present, a minimum of IP53 should be used. This should be increased to IP54/55 if the equipment needs to be washed/hosed down.
If subjected to exposure to any weather condition, agreement between the User and Manufacturer is necessary together with additional consideration given to the corrosion resisting properties of the enclosure and fittings.
Talk to us about your IP rated enclosure requirements, today.
*British Standards Institution
***GUIDE TO THE ‘IP’ CODES FOR ENCLOSURES – EIEMA / BEAMA