In manufacturing, there are two standards used to measure the grades of electrical enclosures and environmental ingress. You may be familiar with NEMA and IP ratings as they are commonly used to classify equipment, but understanding the difference between the two can be confusing. Both NEMA and IP ratings can be used to help you identify the best products for your application, but their testing methods and parameters are quite different.
IP ratings were developed in Europe by the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC). IP stands for either Ingress Protection Rating or International Protection Rating and are followed with two numbers (ex. IP65, IP67) The first number (0-6) refers to protection levels against solid materials. The second number (0-9) refers to protection levels against liquids. The higher the number, the better protection. Maximum protection from dust would be a first digit of 6. For liquid protection, a second number of 8 signifies protection from long term immersion, while a 9 provides protection against high pressure, high-temperature jet cleaning. To be certified with an IP69K rating, a product must withstand a test which consists of a spray nozzle that is fed with 80°C water at 8-10MPa (megapascal) and a flow rate of 14-16L/min.The spray nozzle if held 10 cm from the tested device, at several angles for 30 seconds each. The device is placed on a turntable that rotates at 5 RPM as the test is performed. The complete IP ratings guide is listed below. When looking to replace a component out on the factory floor in washdown conditions, be sure to look for products offering IP69K ratings.
The United States National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA) also publishes protection ratings for enclosures similar to IP ratings. However, NEMA ratings also dictates other product design features not addressed by IP ratings, so there are not direct correlations between the two. When looking at NEMA ratings, NEMA 4, NEMA 4X, NEMA 12, and NEMA 13 are the ratings most closely associated with washdown applications. Complete NEMA ratings are listed in the chart below.
CBT distributes a wide range of products that meet the highest NEMA and IP ratings, providing longevity and hygienic design for your application.