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What exactly are IP & Nema Ratings and what do they do????

Posted by Katie Rose on Mar 24th 2016

Ingress Protections (or IP) Ratings are the levels of protection from the elements. They can be used in describing the seals on a switch to a boot for a circuit breaker or switch itself. 

The first number indicates protection against solid objects:

  • 0 - No protection
  • 1 - Protected from solid foreign objects of 50 mm and greater (accidental touch of hands, etc)
  • 2 - Protected from solid objects of 12 mm and greater (fingers etc.)
  • 3 - Protected from solid objects more than 2.5 mm (tools, small wires, etc.)
  • 4 - Protected from solid objects more than 1 mm (small wires, etc.)
  • 5 - Protected from ducts; limited entrance (no harmful deposit)
  • 6 - Totally protected from dust

The second number indicates protection from liquid

  • 0 - No protection from liquids
  • 1 - Protected from vertically-falling drops of water (condensation, etc.)
  • 2 - Protected from direct sprays of water up to 15 degrees from vertical
  • 3 - Protected from direct sprays of water up to 60 degrees from vertical
  • 4 - Protected from water sprayed from all directions; limited entrance allowed
  • 5 - Protected from low pressure jets of water from all directions; limited entrance allowed
  • 6 - Protected from strong jets of water (for use on ship decks); limited entrance allowed
  • 7 - Protected from all the effects of immersion between 15 cm and 1 m
  • 8 - Protected from extended periods of immersion under pressure

Nema ratings can be equivalent to IP ratings as well. While Nema is mostly referred to when discussing enclosures it is also used in reference to other applications. Spemco has compiled the following information regarding what IP ratings mean and what Nema rating it is equivalent to. Click on the link below to learn more:

Nema & IP Ratings

An example of an IP68S switch would be the Otto T7-211E1

An example of an environmentally sealed switch would be the Otto T9-MS1-23

An example of an environmentally sealed boot would be the APM Hexseal IQ1030

So as you can a product may carry multiple ratings. Environmentally sealed, hermetically sealed, potted switches, dust proof, submergible, IP68S, salt spray testings, it can all be confusing. But this chart assists in making the process more user friendly. 

If you have a question about any of our products please do not hesitate to contact one of our knowledgeable sales staff.