Many electronic devices claim things such as “water resistant” or “water proof.” However, how do you know if they are what they actually claim to be? That’s where IP ratings come in.
IP stands for Ingress Protection. Put simply, it’s a rating that tells you what a device is capable of resisting when it comes to solid particles and liquids. It is the standard many manufacturers follow to rate their products. The ratings are composed of a simple two-number system that rates solid particles and liquids separately to clearly indicate how well a device will be protected from these elements.
Let’s use IP65 as an example. The first number – 6 – denotes how resistant to solid particles a device is. It’s on a scale of 0 to 6, with 6 being completely sealed against dust. That’s not to say it’s impossible for dust to get into the device, but it won’t get into the device in an amount sufficient to cause damage.
The second number – 5– indicates the device’s resistance to liquids, specifically water. A device can be protected against other liquids as well, but the IP rating does not refer to chemicals. Many chemicals are corrosive and could potentially damage any seal that a device has, negating the resistance of the device and its IP rating. The number for liquid runs on a scale that ranges from 0 to 8. Standard testing ranges from just dripping water onto the device, to spraying it with pressurized water, to completely submerging it.
Let’s take a brief look at the scale for water. Ratings 1 and 2 use dripping water, and should keep your device safe in the event of a minor spill. Numbers 3 through 6 protect from water that’s sprayed onto the device at varying pressures for varying lengths of time. Depending on how high the device scored, it could potentially be protected even in a heavy downpour during a storm. For number 7, the device is completely submerged in 1 meter of water for thirty minutes; 8 is submerged at any depth greater than a meter. To recap, check out the graphic below.
There are other tests that devices can be put through to denote their ruggedness, but IP is one of the few that are used and followed internationally with a set of standard guidelines across the globe. MIL-STD-810G is another popular set of commonly used tests that can help determine if a device is rugged enough for your business. Whether you’re working in a warehouse or out in the field, make sure your technology investment is rugged enough for your needs. Be sure to check its IP rating, as well as any other testing it has been put through, to prove its durability.