If you're searching for IP ratings and their meanings, you either lead a very boring life or you work in a field that requires equipment to be used in less-than-ideal conditions. Either way, we’re here to help deconstruct what these ratings are and how they’re used—hopefully without putting you to sleep in the process.
In this IP rating guide, we'll focus primarily on what IP ratings mean for industrial scales and their users because, well, we're a scale company! And since you are likely in the market for some new equipment, we’ll also offer some helpful tips on how to shop for an IP rating scale and provide you with a couple of great recommendations to boot.
If that all sounds good to you, let’s go ahead and get to it.
WHAT IS AN IP RATING?
An IP rating, or ingress protection rating, is a fancy way to tell how well an electrical device’s enclosure will keep water and gunk from getting inside. IP ratings are commonly found on consumer products ranging from cell phones to watches to—you guessed it—industrial scales.
As defined by the International Electrotechnical Commission in the IEC 60529 standard, IP ratings consist of the letters IP and two numbers.
- The first digit rates the enclosure's effectiveness at blocking intrusion from SOLID particles on a scale of 0 to 6 (with a rating of 6 offering the most protection).
- The second digit rates for LIQUID protection on a scale of 0 to 8 (with a rating of 8 providing the most protection).
IP RATINGS EXPLAINED
To help you identify the exact level of protection each IP rating provides, we’ve gone ahead and put together a couple of handy tables. Each table is in descending order from minimal protection to total dust and waterproof enclosures.
|Particle Intrusion Protection (First Digit)|
|Level||Object Size Protection||Detail|
|1||> 50 mm||Hands or tools|
|2||> 12.5 mm||Small tools or fingers|
|3||> 2.5 mm||Fasteners, wire, etc.|
|4||> 1 mm||Dirt and debris|
|5||Some Dust||No dust deposits that would effect use|
|6||Dust Proof||No intrusion of dust into enclosure|
|Liquid Intrusion Protection (Second Digit)|
|Level||Water Droplet Protection||Detail|
|1||Dripping||Verticall falling drops of water|
|2||Drips tilted at 15°||Dripping water when device tilted up to 15° from normal position|
|3||Spraying||Water spray up to 60° from vertical|
|4||Splashing||Water splashed on enclosure from any angle|
|5||Water Jets||Water pressurized through 6.3 mm nozzle from any angle|
|6||High Power Water Jets||Water pressurized through 12.5 mm nozzle from any angle|
|7||Immersion up to 1 Meter||Submerged up to 1 meter for 30 minutes|
|8||Immersion over 1 Meter||Submerged depth and time set by manufacturer|
So, now that you know what IP ratings are, it’s time we taught you how to find the right industrial scale for your weighing environment.
HOW TO SHOP FOR AN IP RATING SCALE
If you’re looking for a scale with a suitable IP rating for your workplace needs, you probably have some questions about which one to buy. To that end, here are two quick tips to get you started:
- There are plenty of scales out there that will have IP-rated load cells, but don't let that fool you! That rating only pertains to the electronics within the load cell and not the scale’s base or indicator, which won’t do you much good if things start getting messy.
- If you work in a particularly wet or dirty environment, you want to look for the term "washdown protected.” This means the scale base, indicator, and load cells all have an IP rating that allows them to be cleaned with soap and water, or “washed down” if you will.
Ultimately, the key to making an informed purchasing decision is knowing what the scale will be used for and what level of environmental exposure you expect it to receive in your line of work. Using the tables above will help you determine the minimum IP rating you need, which you can easily filter results for when shopping at Scales Plus.