Enclosure classes for electrical equipment (IP code). Electrical equipment is classified with a numerical code denoting the degree of protection provided by an enclosure, for example IP46.
The abbreviation IP stands for International Protection and is an international way of coding different enclosure classes. The code indicates how well an enclosure prevents access to dangerous parts inside the enclosure, and how well the equipment inside an enclosure is protected against the ingress of solid particles or water. Dust particles are counted as solids.
What do the numbers mean?
- The first digit (solid particle protection) has a value from zero to six that indicates how well protected an enclosure is. The number zero means there is no protection, while the number six means that the enclosure is dust-tight.
- The second digit (liquid ingress protection) has a value from zero to nine that indicates how well an enclosure can withstand water. The number zero means that there is no protection against water at all, and the number eight means the enclosure can be immersed in water without being harmed or becoming dangerous.
For example, IP20 is the most common rating indoors, whereas liquid ingress protection is always necessary outdoors, for example IP44. The degree of protection required depends on the location and the circumstances in which the electrical equipment is installed.