IP Classification of products from BJ-Gear A/S

Many of BJ-Gear’s products are protected in accordance with IP-classification IP65 through IP69, but what does the different IP-codes mean, and which IP-classification should you choose to cover your needs?

BJ-gearboxes at line

IP-classification is an international standard (DS/EN 60529), which indicates the degree of protection for electrical products. The classification can be used to ensure that the product and the material inside the product are protected against foreign objects or liquids outside the product.

The structure of the IP-classes (IP-code)

The IP-classification consists of the letters IP followed by two digits and in some cases one or two letters. IP stands for Ingress Protection, and the two digits indicates the product’s ability to withstand ingress of foreign objects and liquids respectively. The first digit refers to the product’s protection against the ingress of solid objects (such as contact and penetration of foreign objects), including protection against the possibility of a person getting access to or touching hazardous parts inside the product. The second digit indicates the product’s protection against the ingress of liquids.

Letters are sometimes added after the digits. The first letter can be added, if the ingress protection regarding access to hazardous parts is better than the first digit indicates, or if the first digit is replaced by an X. The second letter can be added, if there is additional information which is not covered by the digits.

Choose the necessary IP-classification

The degree of protection against the access of hazardous parts inside the product as well as ingress of foreign objects is indicated with a number from zero to six. The higher that number is, the finer the foreign objects are, that the product can withstand. The degree of protection against the ingress of liquids is indicated with a number from zero to nine. But it is not applicable, however, that the higher the number is the larger the amount of water it should be able to withstand.

A higher IP-number is therefore not necessarily equivalent to a better product. The number indicates different tests, and a product with for instance an ingress protection of IP67 is as a result not necessarily a better choice than a product with for example an ingress protection of IP65. There are imposed different requirements on the different classifications, and it is therefore important that your choice is based on your specific need.

IP protection table

1. digit: Protection against touch or foreign objects 2. digit: Protection against ingress of liquid
0: No protection 0: No protection
1: Diameter of ≥ 50 mm 1: Water dripping from vertical angle
2: Diameter of ≥ 12,5 mm 2: Water dripping from angle of ±15°
3: Diameter of ≥ 2,5 mm 3: Spraying water
4: Diameter of ≥ 1 mm 4: Splashing of water
5: Protected against dust 4K: Splashing of water, high pressure
6: 100% dust tight 5: Water jets
  6: Powerful water jets
  6K: Powerful waterjets, high pressure
  7: Temporary immersion into water (just beneath the surface)
  8: Prolonged immersion into water (to a greater depth)
  9K: High pressure cleaning / steam jets

Protection against access to hazardous parts and ingress of foreign objects

A product with the IP1X classification is protected against objects larger than 50 mm. This means that a hand or a ball bigger than 50 mm must not be able to enter the product unintentionally and come into contact with hazardous parts.

The requirement for a product with IP2X is that the product is protected against objects larger than 12,5 mm. This means that a finger with a diameter of 12 mm and a length of 80 mm must not be able to reach or touch unsafe parts, and that a ball with a diameter of 12,5 must not be able to enter the product.

IP3X indicates that the product is protected against ingress of items with a diameter larger than 2,5 mm. This is ensured using a test object with a diameter of 2,5 mm and a length of 100 mm. Products with an IP4X classification are protected against ingress of objects with a maximum diameter of 1 mm.

Products with an IP6X approval must be 100% dust tight. All gearboxes from BJ-Gear with an IP-classification approval has achieved an IP6X approval.

Degrees of protection against ingress of liquids with a harmful effect

If the number indicating the protection against ingress of water is 0, the product is not expected to be waterproof. The numbers 1 and 2 indicates that the product can withstand dripping water from vertically falling drops and dripping water from oblique angles (+/- 15°) respectively. With a liquid ingress protection of 3 the product can withstand spraying water, whereas 4, 5 and 6 indicates resistance towards splashing of water, water jets and powerful water jets respectively. If the product has a protection against ingress of water that is 7 or higher, the product can be immersed in water. The number 7 indicates that the entire product can be immersed to just under the surface, while products with an ingress protection of 8 can be immersed to a depth of one meter or more under the surface. To achieve the number 9 the product must be able to withstand cleaning under high pressure and steam jets.

Requirements for the tests against ingress of liquid

When the products are tested, they must fulfil several requirements. In the test regulation there is requirements for both water temperature and water quality. Additionally, there are restrictions in regard to how a test is carried out.

When tests are conducted, the temperature of the water must be as close to the temperature of the device as possible and must not deviate more than +/- 5° C. This is important, as vast differences in temperature can alter the result significantly. Likewise, the water must be clean and fresh, which means that it must be tap water without any kind of additives – including detergents.

It is worth noting that the standard does not prescribe that water must not be able to enter the product when tests are conducted. Neither is there any description of how much water must be allowed to enter the product. It is however stated that if water does enter the product, it must not prevent proper functioning, cause damage or reach parts, which are not meant to be wet, or accumulate by or on any cable units.

IPX1 and IPX2 tests

Testing of electrical products is to be carried out according to the directions in the standard. IPX1 and IPX2 tests are conducted by the means of a “drip box system” which consists of a grid with several nozzles. The product is put on a wet turntable, which is placed 200 mm under the drip box system, whereupon water is dripped on the product. The IPX1 test consists of water drops applied for 10 minutes with 1 mm per minute, while the product rotates one turn per minute with an eccentricity of 100 mm. In the IPX2 test the product is tilted 15% in four directions (vertically on the product with two mutually perpendicular planes). The water drips with a speed of 3 mm per minute for 10 minutes divided into 2,5 minutes at each of the four different positions.

IPX3 and IPX4 tests

IPX3 and IPX4 are tested using different pressures of spraying water. Tests lasts 5 minutes and are conducted by means of a handheld nozzle or an oscillating spraying system. In the IPX3-test water is sprayed on the product at an angle of 60° and 120° with 0,7 litres per minute, and in the IPX4-test water is sprayed on from all directions with a pressure of 10 litres per minute.

Products from BJ-Gear is as a minimum waterproof according to IP65

Gearboxes from BJ-Gear A/S is as a minimum able to withstand water pressure according to IPX5. To test according to IPX5 water is sprayed on the product with jets of water from a distance of 2,5-3 meters with a 6,3 mm nozzle and a pressure of 12,5 litres per minute from all directions for at least 3 minutes. The IPX6 test takes place in the same way, except using a 12,5 mm nozzle and a pressure of 100 litres per minute. The remaining circumstances are defined by the manufacturer and the user, though the requirements must be stricter than those of IPX7.

In the IPX7 and IPX8 tests the product is immersed into water. The IPX7-test is performed by immersing the product until the lowest point of the product is one meter below the surface of the water. However, the topmost point of the product must be at least 15 cm below the surface. The product must be immersed for at least 30 minutes. To achieve a IPX8 protection the product must be able to withstand immersion indefinitely.

IP69 for the food industry

A product can achieve a protection degree of IPX9 if it can withstand a high-water pressure as well as a high temperature such as steam jets. The product is to be sprayed with water from angles of 0°, 30°, 60° and 90° with an interval of 30 seconds in every position and at a distance of 10-15 cm. The water must be at least 80° C and the water pressure must be 14-16 litres per minute. Furthermore, the product is placed on a turntable that rotates every 12 seconds. This degree of protection can only be achieved with an equivalent high degree of protection against dust which results in the designation of IP69. This approval is especially used in the food industry.