The harmonized standard EN 60529

The standard EN 60529 describes a system for classifying the degree of protection provided by the enclosures of electrical and electronic equipment.

The degree of protection is indicated via the IP code (Ingress Protection) which expresses the level of protection of enclosures for electrical equipment against access to dangerous parts inside the enclosure and against the penetration of solid foreign bodies and water.

The EN 60529 standard is issued by CENELEC (European Committee for Electrotechnical Standardization) which is the European committee for electrotechnical standardization, based on the international standard IEC 60529. This is in turn prepared and issued by the IEC (International Electrotechnical Commission).

Field of application: the standard applies to enclosures of electrical and electronic equipment with a nominal voltage not exceeding 72.5 kV.

THE IP CODE

IP protection degrees are generally made up of two characteristic figures:

  • the first digit indicates that the enclosure provides protection for people against access to dangerous parts by preventing or limiting the penetration of a part of the body or a tool held by a person into the enclosure and that the enclosure provides protection of the equipment against the penetration of solid foreign bodies;
  • the second digit indicates that the enclosure provides protection for the equipment against harmful effects of liquid ingress.

The IP degree is indicated with the two characteristic digits, plus possibly the additional letter to indicate the degree of protection for people against access to live parts and the additional letter to provide further product-specific information.
In the absence of information on one of the two digits, it can be replaced by an X. The additional letter and the supplementary letter are optional and therefore can be omitted without being replaced.
IP tests are part of the electrical safety check of a product, in fact they were designed primarily for the protection of electrical components.

FIRST DIGIT OF THE IP CODE

The first digit of the IP codes identifies the degree of protection against the entry of external solid bodies and the protection of people from contact with dangerous parts.

  • IP0X – No protection
  • IP1X – Protection against solid bodies up to 50 mm and Protection against access with the back of the hand
  • IP2X – Protection against solid objects up to 12 mm and Protection against access with a finger
  • IP3X – Protection against solid bodies up to 2.5 mm and Protection against access with a tool
  • IP4X – Protection against solid bodies up to 1 mm and Protection against access with a wire
  • IP5X – Protection against dust and Protection against access with a wire
  • IP6X – Complete protection against dust and Protection against access with a wire

IP1X protection is permitted for equipment intended to be protected by an enclosure or installed in locked places and accessible only to trained persons. IP2X and IP3X protections are more suitable for components installed in places accessible to people untrained in ordinary environments. IP4X protection is used when the presence of wires, shavings, filings or other things is expected. IP5X protection is suitable for occasionally dusty environments while IP6X protection is suitable for permanently dusty environments.

SECOND DIGIT OF THE IP CODE

The second digit of the IP codes identifies the protection against the penetration of liquids:

  • IPX0 – No protection
  • IPX1 – Protection against vertically falling drops of water
  • IPX2 – Protection from falling water drops with a maximum inclination of 15°
  • IPX3 – Protection from rain
  • IPX4 – Protection from direct water splashes
  • IPX5 – Protection from direct water jets
  • IPX6 – Wave protection
  • IPX7 – Protection against temporary immersion in water (between 15 cm and 1 m depth for up to 30 minutes)
  • IPX8 – Protection against permanent immersion in water (up to 3 m continuous depth for up to one hour)
  • IPX9 – Protection from permanent immersion in water and from high-pressure, high-temperature water jets (up to 3 m continuous depth for up to one hour)

For devices that need to be installed outdoors, or in environments with the possible presence of water, a protection level of at least IPX4 is usually required.

ip-rating

ADDITIONAL LETTER

The additional letter is used when the protection of people from contact with dangerous parts is greater than that of the entry of solid bodies expressed by the first characteristic digit.

  • A Protected against access with the back of the hand
  • B Protected against access with a finger
  • C Protected against access with a tool
  • D Protected against access with a wire

SUPPLEMENTAL LETTER

The supplementary letter is used to provide further particular information relating to the material.

  • H High voltage equipment
  • M Tested against harmful effects due to water ingress while the equipment is running
  • S Tested against harmful effects due to water ingress with equipment not running
  • V Suitable for use in specified atmospheric conditions

Example of representation:

IP 6 6 CH

IP: Characteristic letters (Degree of Protection)

6: First characteristic digit (from 0 to 6 or letter x)

6: Second characteristic digit (from 0 to 9 or letter x)

C: Additional letter

H: additional letter

Generally, for products used outdoors it is advisable to provide products with protection ranging from IP54 to IP67.

The IP code is a valid indicator of the protection provided by the equipment and provides more detailed information than commercial descriptions. Rely on a competent laboratory such as Sicom Testing for the evaluation of the IP protection degree and for the electrical safety testing it allows manufacturers to verify that their equipment is safe from the entry of solid and liquid bodies before being placed on the market, possibly allowing them to intervene on the product by adopting the most suitable solutions.

To request further information on this topic, write to info@sicomtesting.com
or call +39 0481 778931.

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