What is an enclosure’s degree of protection and how do we interpret the IP Code?

Some questions are asked again and again. In each issue, one of our experts answers one of these Frequently Asked Questions (or FAQs as they’re referred to on the Internet).

The International Protection Marking (IP-Code), also known as the Ingress Protection Marking, classifies and rates the degree of protection provided by enclosures against the ingress of objects and water. It is based on the IEC 60529 standard and provides more detailed information to better characterise an enclosure’s resilience. The IP Code indicates the protection rating with two digits. The first digit represents protection against hazardous parts and solid foreign objects. It goes up to a maximum value of 6, meaning “dust tight.” The second digit represents the protection against water. Starting at a value of 0, which equals “no protection”, the scale increases to such values as 8, meaning “protection against continuous immersion in water” and ends at 9K, meaning “protection against high-pressure and high-temperature water jets.”

Consequently, an enclosure with a protection rating of IP00 provides no protection against the ingress of solid foreign objects; it does not prevent access to hazardous parts inside the enclosure, and it does not prevent harmful effects due to the ingress of water. In contrast, an enclosure with a protection rating of IP11 protects against objects with a diameter greater than or equal to 50 mm (2 in) and dripping water. However, the overall level of protection is only as good as the individual components within the entire system. Thereby, high-quality cable glands are an essential element. They seal off the cable sheath and the housing, while providing strain relief. Most cable glands from HELUKABEL feature a protection rating of IP68 / IP69K.

Enclosures with a protection rating of IP67 and higher do not necessarily fulfil the requirements that are defined by lower ratings. If these are required, ratings need to be indicated separately, e.g. IP66 / IP67 / IP69K, to ensure the enclosure meets the necessary standards.

About the person

Susanne Moeller oversees the Cable Accessories Department at HELUKABEL’s headquarters in Hemmingen, Germany. She is your contact for all questions related to IP Codes.