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IP67 vs. IP68 Enclosure Ratings

April 25, 2024

Introduction

Understanding the Ingress Protection (IP) rating system is crucial when selecting protective enclosures for electronic devices. This globally recognized standard helps define how well an enclosure protects its contents from external elements like dust and water. 

Choosing the correct IP rating is not just about compliance; it’s about ensuring your devices’ longevity, safety, and functionality in various environments. The appropriate IP rating can significantly affect performance and durability, whether you’re dealing with smartphones, outdoor lighting, or industrial equipment. Let’s explore what these ratings mean and why they are essential for electronic devices.

What are IP Ratings?

Ensuring devices’ durability and longevity is paramount in electronics, especially when exposed to environmental elements. This is where Ingress Protection (IP) ratings come into play. 

An IP rating is a globally recognized standard that clearly and concisely indicates an enclosure’s effectiveness against intrusion from foreign bodies such as dust and liquids.

It is crucial for manufacturers to provide these ratings and for consumers to understand them, as they directly impact the selection of suitable enclosures for various applications.

How IP Ratings Are Structured

The structure of an IP rating is straightforward yet informative, consisting of two crucial digits:

  • First Digit: This digit ranges from 0 to 6 and describes the enclosure’s level of protection against solid objects. A rating of 0 means no protection, while a rating of 6 signifies that the enclosure is entirely dust-tight, offering the highest protection against solid intrusions.
  • Second Digit: This digit indicates protection against liquids, ranging from 0 to 9. A rating of 0 offers no water resistance, whereas a rating of 9 ensures the enclosure can handle close-range high-pressure, high-temperature spray downs.

This dual-digit system allows a nuanced understanding of how well an enclosure will protect its contents in diverse environments—from dry, dusty fields to wet, operational industrial sites. It’s not just a number; it guarantees specific protective qualities that shield sensitive electronic components from harm.

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Common Features of IP67 and IP68 Ratings

IP67 and IP68 ratings are often considered when selecting electronic device enclosures due to their robust protective capabilities. Both ratings share several key features that make them suitable for various demanding environments, ensuring devices remain safe and functional despite external conditions.

Unified Protection Against Dust and Solids

A standout feature of IP67 and IP68 ratings is their complete protection against dust and contact with solid objects. The ‘6’ in both ratings indicates that these enclosures are dust-tight. 

Dust or dirt cannot infiltrate the enclosure, safeguarding sensitive electronic components from abrasive particles that could damage or impair functionality.

General Water Resistance Capabilities

In addition to solid protection, IP67 and IP68 ratings offer significant resistance to water, which is crucial for devices used outdoors or in moist environments. Devices with these ratings can withstand splashes or sprays of water and temporary submersion. 

IP67-rated enclosures are guaranteed to resist water ingress when submerged in water up to 1 meter deep for 30 minutes. IP68-rated enclosures go a step further, typically offering protection against submersion beyond 1 meter and for durations specified by the manufacturer, which can vary.

These common characteristics of IP67 and IP68 ratings ensure that devices protected by such enclosures are well-suited for almost any environmental challenge, from dusty construction sites to rainy outdoor settings. 

This dual protection against dust and water makes IP67 and IP68-rated enclosures highly sought after for a wide range of applications, guaranteeing that they meet the needs of even the most demanding scenarios.

Diving into IP67 Ratings

IP67 ratings are popular for many applications due to their robust protection against solids and liquids. Understanding the specific capabilities and limitations of IP67-rated enclosures can help make informed decisions about their suitability for different operational environments.

Resistance Depth and Duration

The ‘6’ in the IP67 rating confirms that the enclosure offers complete dust protection, ensuring no dust ingress. This is crucial for maintaining the integrity and functionality of the internal components. The ‘7’ indicates that the enclosure can withstand temporary submersion in water. 

An IP67-rated enclosure is guaranteed to resist water ingress when submerged at 1 meter deep for up to 30 minutes. This level of protection is ideal for devices that might be exposed to water occasionally, such as accidental drops into water or brief submersions.

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Suitable Applications and Environments

Given its specifications, the IP67 rating is particularly well-suited for electronic devices used in various challenging environments. This includes:

  • Outdoor Equipment: Devices that are used outdoors and may be exposed to rain, splashing, or accidental immersion, such as field monitoring equipment or outdoor lighting systems.
  • Construction and Industrial Sites: Tools and devices used on construction or industrial sites benefit significantly from IP67 protection due to their exposure to potentially harmful dust and occasional water contact.
  • Consumer Electronics: An IP67 rating offers sufficient protection against common incidents like spills and rain for everyday devices such as smartphones and cameras, making them more durable and user-friendly.

The IP67 rating is versatile, providing a solid level of protection that meets the demands of both household and professional settings where occasional water exposure is a concern but not a constant threat. 

This makes IP67-rated enclosures a reliable choice for a wide range of applications. They ensure device safety without needing the more stringent protections that other ratings might offer.

Exploring IP68 Ratings

IP68 rings

Similar to IP67, the ‘6’ in IP68 denotes that the enclosure is entirely dust-tight, preventing dust ingress. The ‘8’ signifies an enhanced level of water resistance compared to IP67. 

IP68-rated enclosures can withhold submersion in water deeper than 1 meter and are protected for durations exceeding 30 minutes. 

The specific parameters—how deep and how long these devices can be submerged—vary significantly and are typically specified by the manufacturer based on the device’s intended use.

Variable Depth and Duration Factors

Manufacturers specify the exact conditions under which their IP68-rated devices can operate, including depths greater than 1 meter and for various durations. 

This flexibility allows manufacturers to tailor their products to specific environmental conditions and user needs, making IP68-rated devices adaptable and suitable for extreme conditions.

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Examples of Devices and Scenarios Where IP68 Is Necessary

  • Marine and Underwater Equipment: Devices used in marine biology research, underwater construction, or scuba diving gear often require IP68 ratings to withstand prolonged submersion.
  • Rugged Smartphones and Wearables: For adventurers, athletes, or military personnel, IP68-rated smartphones and wearables offer the reassurance that devices can endure harsh conditions, including crossing rivers or heavy rain.
  • Industrial Sensors: Sensors placed in environments such as wastewater treatment facilities or flood-prone areas benefit from IP68 protection, ensuring reliable operation despite sustained exposure to water.

The IP68 rating is indispensable for any application where devices face severe water exposure, whether in-depth, duration, or other demanding environmental conditions. 

This makes IP68 the preferred choice for industries and activities where water exposure goes beyond the occasional splash or dip, providing peace of mind and ensuring the longevity and reliability of critical technology in extreme settings.

Comparative Analysis: IP67 vs. IP68

When choosing between IP67 and IP68 ratings, understanding the specific differences in their protection capabilities is crucial. Both offer a robust defense against dust and water, but they serve different needs based on the extent of environmental exposure. Here’s a detailed side-by-side comparison to help guide your decision.

Water and Dust Protection Comparison

Dust Protection:

IP67 and IP68: Both ratings protect entirely against dust ingress, ensuring no dust can enter the enclosure. This makes either rating suitable for environments where dust and particulate matter are prevalent.

Water Protection:

  • IP67: This standard protects devices submerged in water up to 1 meter deep for 30 minutes. It is suitable for occasional or accidental submersion.

IP68: Extends beyond the IP67 capabilities, allowing for submersion in water beyond 1 meter for durations specified by the manufacturer, which can sometimes be 30 minutes or more, depending on the device.

Decision Factors Based on Environmental Exposure

Frequency and Depth of Water Exposure:

If a device is likely to face frequent or prolonged submersion in water or if it needs to operate under deeper water conditions, IP68 is preferable. This rating is tailored for extreme conditions where water exposure is more than accidental or incidental.

Cost Considerations:

IP68-rated devices typically cost more due to their enhanced sealing and protection features. However, if your budget is limited and your device will not regularly face extreme conditions, IP67 might provide sufficient protection without the additional expense.

Specific Use Cases:

  • IP67 is often adequate for general consumer electronics used daily and might encounter light water exposure (like rain or accidental drops into water).
  • IP68 is necessary to ensure the functionality and durability of professional or industrial equipment used in harsh environments, such as underwater research, flood monitoring, or heavy-duty outdoor use.
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Choosing Between IP67 and IP68

Deciding between an IP67 and IP68 rating is crucial for ensuring optimal protection for your devices, tailored to the specific environmental challenges they will face. Here are several factors to consider that will help you make the most informed decision based on your needs and constraints.

Factors to Consider When Selecting an IP Rating

Environmental Conditions:

Assess the typical environmental conditions your device will encounter. If your device is likely to be subjected to more than just temporary submersions or be used in environments where water depth could exceed 1 meter, IP68 is the more appropriate choice.

Device Usage:

Consider how the device will be used. For items that are frequently exposed to water or require more rigorous protection to maintain functionality, such as in marine or heavy rain conditions, IP68 provides the necessary security. In contrast, for devices that need protection from occasional splashes or brief immersion, IP67 should suffice.

Cost Considerations

Budget Allocation:

Analyze your budget constraints. IP68 enclosures typically cost more due to their advanced sealing and protective features. If cost is a significant factor and the environmental demands do not justify the higher protection level of IP68, opting for IP67 can be a more cost-effective solution.

Long-Term Savings:

Consider the potential cost savings from choosing a higher IP rating regarding device longevity and maintenance. While IP68 has a higher upfront cost, it could lower long-term costs by preventing water damage in more extreme conditions.

Case Studies or Examples

To illustrate the practical implications of choosing the correct IP rating, let’s explore real-world examples of devices or systems that utilize IP67 and IP68 ratings. These case studies highlight the impact of these choices on device performance and longevity, providing insights into how these ratings function in real operational contexts.

IP67 Rated Devices: Practical Applications and Outcomes

Example: Consumer Smartphones

  • Many modern smartphones are designed with an IP67 rating, ensuring they can withstand accidental submersions in water up to 1 meter deep for 30 minutes. This protection level is suitable for everyday accidents, such as dropping a phone in a puddle or getting caught in a rainstorm, enhancing the device’s durability and user satisfaction.

Example: Outdoor Electrical Enclosures

  • Electrical enclosures for outdoor events or temporary installations often utilize IP67 ratings to protect against rain and ground moisture. These enclosures ensure that even in wet weather conditions, the electrical components remain functional and safe, preventing short circuits and extending the lifespan of the electrical system.

IP68 Rated Devices: Advanced Protection and Benefits

Example: Underwater Cameras

  • Professional underwater cameras often come with an IP68 rating, allowing them to operate at depths greater than 1 meter for extended periods. This rating is crucial for deep-sea photography and research, providing reliable performance in extreme underwater environments.

Example: Industrial Sensors in Flood-Prone Areas

  • Sensors installed in flood-prone or submerged environments, such as water treatment facilities or river monitoring stations, typically require an IP68 rating. These devices must withstand prolonged submersion and the pressure of deeper water levels, ensuring accurate data collection and device reliability under challenging conditions.

Impact of Correct IP Rating Choice

The choice of an appropriate IP rating has a direct impact on the performance and longevity of devices:

  • Ensuring Functionality: The correct IP rating guarantees that a device can withstand specific environmental conditions without failure, maintaining operational integrity.
  • Reducing Maintenance Costs: Devices with appropriate IP ratings require less frequent repairs and maintenance, as they are better protected against environmental damage.
  • Enhancing Reliability: For critical applications, such as safety monitoring or emergency communications, the reliability enhanced by the correct IP rating can be life-saving.

Conclusion

Choosing the correct IP rating, IP67 or IP68 is essential for protecting your electronic devices against environmental elements like dust and water. The primary difference lies in water resistance: IP67 is suitable for temporary submersion up to 1 meter for 30 minutes, ideal for everyday use, while IP68 is designed for more profound or prolonged submersion, ideal for more demanding conditions.

Selecting between IP67 and IP68 ratings should not be taken lightly, especially when the safety and functionality of critical devices are at stake. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us. We can provide insights based on a comprehensive understanding of your needs and equipment’s operating environment.

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