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The IEC system is based on two digits…

The first IP digit defines protection against dust ingress – the higher the number, the better.

  • X = no data available to specify a protection rating.
  • 0 = Not protected.
  • 1 = Large foreign bodies. Protection against accidental large surface (ie, hand) contact with live and internal moving parts. However, there is no protection against intentional access to these parts. Protection against the penetration of solid foreign bodies with a diameter greater than 50 mm.
  • 2 = Medium-sized foreign bodies. Protection against contact between the fingers and live or internal moving parts. Protection against the penetration of solid foreign bodies with a diameter greater than 12 mm.
  • 3 = Small foreign bodies. Protection against contact between live or internal moving parts and objects. Protection against the penetration of solid foreign bodies with a diameter greater than 2.5 mm.
  • 4 = Granular foreign bodies. Protection against contact between live or internal moving parts and objects with a thickness of more than 1 mm.
  • 5 = Dust deposits. Complete protection against contact with live or internal moving parts. Protection against harmful dust deposits. The penetration of dust is not fully prevented – but dust will not penetrate in sufficient quantities to affect the functionality.
  • 6 = Dust ingress. Complete protection against contact with live or moving internal parts. Protection against the ingress of dust.

The second digit defines protection from ingress of water. Again, the higher number generally indicates better protection but – like the NEMA system – the numbers are application-specific. For instance, IP 67 and IP 68 protect against immersion in water. But they are not suitable for applications involving high-pressure jet washing, which calls for IP 69K protection.

  • X = no data available to specify a protection rating.
  • 0 = Not protected.
  • 1 = Protected against water droplets. Vertically falling droplets must not have any damaging effects. Test: water equivalent to 1 mm of rainfall per minute for 10 minutes.
  • 2 = Protected against water droplets if the enclosure is inclined up to 15°. Vertically falling droplets must not have any damaging effects if the enclosure is inclined up to an angle of 15° either side of vertical. Test: four positions are tested within two axes, water equivalent to 3 mm rainfall for 10 minutes (2.5 minutes for each direction of tilt).
  • 3 = Protected against water spray. Water sprayed at an angle of up to 60° either side of vertical must not have any damaging effects. Test: water is sprayed at a pressure of 50-120 kPa, 10 litres/minute, one minute per square metre for at least five minutes. This test is repeated with the enclosure rotated 90°.
  • 4 = Protected against splashing water. Water that is splashed against the enclosure from any direction must not have any damaging effects. Test duration: 10 minutes.
  • 5 = Protected against water jets. Water that is sprayed in a jet against the enclosure from any direction must not have any damaging effects. Test: 12.5 litres/minute of water is sprayed at 30 kPa from a distance of three metres – one minute per square metre for at least three minutes.
  • 6 = Protection against powerful water jets. Water sprayed in a powerful jet against the enclosure from any direction must not have any damaging effects. Test: 100 litres/minute of water is sprayed at 100 kPa from a distance of three metres – one minute per square metre for at least three minutes.
  • 6K = Protection against powerful water jets with increased pressure. Water sprayed against the enclosure from a powerful jet (under elevated pressure and from any direction) will have no harmful effects. This rating is found in DIN 40050, not IEC 60529. Test: 75 litres per minute at 1,000 kPa at a distance of three metres for at least three minutes.
  • 7 = Protection against the effects of temporary submersion in water. Water must not seep into the enclosure in any quantity that could cause damage when the enclosure is submerged underwater temporarily. Test: immersion in water for 30 minutes to a depth of one metre (at the lowest point of the enclosure) or with the highest point 150 mm below the surface, whichever is deeper.
  • 8 = Protection against the effects of long-term submersion. Water must not seep into the enclosure in any quantity that may have damaging effects when the enclosure is submerged in water (usually up to three metres deep) on a long-term basis under conditions agreed between the manufacturer and user. These conditions must be harsher than those for code 7.
  • 9K = Protection during high pressure/steam spray cleaning. Water sprayed against the enclosure in a powerful, high-pressure jet (from any direction) must not have any damaging effects. Test: 14-16 litres of water (at 80°C) is sprayed at 8-10 MPa at a distance of 0.1-0.15 metres for 30 seconds at each of four angles (two minutes in total).

It is important to note that the IP ratings system covers only ingress protection from dust and water. Unlike the NEMA system, it makes no reference to corrosion resistance.

Important NEMA Ratings And Their Nearest IP Equivalents

NEMA 4/4X vs IP 66. Both offer complete protection against dust. NEMA 4 is sleet resistant, making the enclosures suitable for both indoor and outdoor use. NEMA 4X offers additional corrosion resistance. IP 66 enclosures provide protection against powerful water jets (but not against high-pressure jets or steam cleaning – for which IP 69K is needed). View ROLEC’s wide range of IP 66 enclosures >>.

NEMA 6/6P vs IP 67. Again, both offer complete protection against dust. NEMA 6 enclosures are watertight and can be submerged occasionally; NEMA 6P housings can be submerged for longer. IP 67 enclosures protect against immersion at depths between 150 mm and 1,000 mm. View ROLEC’s IP 67 enclosures >>.

NEMA vs IP 69K. Sadly, there is no direct NEMA equivalent of IP 69K. If your application involves repeated high-pressure jet washing and steam cleaning then we strongly recommend that you specify diecast aluminum or stainless steel IP 69K enclosures. View the IP 69K rated ROLEC enclosures >>

Important note: This cross reference is provided as a guide only!

NEMA and IP ratings are not equivalent, the methods used to test the enclosures are not the same. It is important to note that while NEMA standards will meet or exceed IEC 60529 IP ratings, it does not work the other way round. IP ratings cannot be used to comply with a specific NEMA classification. To ensure compliance, electronics equipment should be tested to the required standard once all the equipment is fitted into the housing.

Further Reading

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