How are standards created by organizations for electrical products, specifically for racks and enclosures?
NEMA is an acronym for the National Electrical Manufacturers Association. This entity creates and publishes technical standards for electrical products’ safety and performance. When it comes to guidelines for enclosures, NEMA rates them based on how they guard electrical components from water, dust, oil, and chemicals. There are NEMA number ratings that grade enclosure protection capabilities as follows:
• NEMA 1: Basic protections against dust, light, and accidental contact with internal components.
• NEMA 2: With all the protections of NEMA 1, but also dripping and light splashing water.
• NEMA 3: Guards against airborne dust, along with water, including occasional submersion.
• NEMA 4: Keeps equipment guarded from windblown dust, water that’s splashed or hosed on equipment, and occasional submersion.
• NEMA 4X: Like NEMA 4, but with added protection against environmental hazards including corrosion.
• NEMA 5: Indoor protection only and no protection from environmental hazards.
• NEMA 6: Safeguards against temporary water submersion, along with dust, and some environmental hazards.
• NEMA 6P: Has all the qualities of NEMA 6, but guards against prolonged water submersion.
• NEMA 12: Guards electronics against dirt, oil, dust, dripping water, and non-corrosive materials.
• NEMA 13: Like NEMA 12 but can protect equipment from splashing and spraying water.
Like there is NEMA, there is also the Ingress Protection (IP) rating. The International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) creates and maintains this rating system. This international standard (IEC 60529) denotes how much protection electronic devices have from liquids and solids. Each standard has two digits, with the first the level of protection against solids (like dust, debris, and sand). The second digit is how the product is rated to guard against liquids (such as water and oil). Our table at the conclusion of this article takes an in-depth look at the IP numerical ratings.
See the breakdown of IP ratings below:
• IP0X: No protection against solid objects or liquids.
• IP1X: Protection against solid objects larger than 50mm in diameter.
• IP2X: Guards against solid objects larger than 12.5mm in diameter.
• IP3X: Offers protection against solid objects larger than 2.5mm in diameter.
• IP4X: Provides safeguards against solid objects larger than 1mm in diameter.
• IP5X: Protection against dust that may harm equipment.
• IP6X: Shields against dust to ensure it cannot enter equipment.
• IPX1: Protection against vertically falling drops of water.
• IPX2: Increases protection against vertically falling drops of water when enclosure tilted up to 15 degrees.
• IPX3: Safeguards against spraying water at an angle up to 60 degrees from vertical.
• IPX4: Defends from splashing water from any direction.
• IPX5: Provides protection against water jets from any direction.
• IPX6: Protection against powerful water jets from any direction.
• IPX7: Offers protection against immersion in water up to 1 meter for 30 minutes.
• IPX8: Protects during continuous immersion in water under conditions specified by the manufacturer.
How does one compare NEMA and IP ratings? See our comparisons in the chart below. While NEMA and IP ratings can be used interchangeably, they do not always correlate. This comparison is only approximate, and it is the responsibility of the user to verify the enclosure rating necessary for the given application.
IP Ratings (Ingress Protection)
Rating for Equipment and Enclosures
A three-digit number established by the International Electrotechnical Commission, is used to provide an IP Rating to a piece of electronic equipment or to an enclosure for electronic equipment. The IP code indicates the level, or amount of the protection.
The three digits represent three different forms of environmental influence:
The first digit represents protection against ingress of solid objects.
The second digit represents protection against ingress of liquids.
The third digit represents protection against mechanical impact damage.
(*The third digit is often omitted, resulting in a 2-digit IP Rating covering ingress against solid objects and liquids only). The larger the value of each digit, the greater the protection from that influence. As an example, a product rated as IP573 would be better protected against environmental factors than another similar product that was only rated as IP432.
|0||No protection||No protection||No protection|
|1||Protected against solid objects over 50mm e.g. hands, large tools||Protected against vertically falling drops of water or condensation||Protected against 0.225 joule impact (150g @ 15cm)|
|2||Protected against solid objects over 12mm e.g. hands, large tools||Protected against direct sprays of water up to 15° from vertical||Protected against 0.375 joule impact (250g @ 15cm)|
|3||Protected against solid objects over 2.5mm e.g. wire, small tools||Protected against direct sprays of water up to 60° from vertical||Protected against 0.5 joule impact (250g @ 20cm)|
|4||Protected against solid objects over 1.0mm e.g. wires||Protected against water sprayed from any direction. Limited ingress permitted||N/A|
|5||Limited protection against dust ingress (no harmful deposit)||Protected against low pressure water jets from any direction. Limited ingress permitted||Protected against 2.0 joule impact (500g @ 40cm)|
|6||Totally protected against dust ingress||Protected against high pressure water jets from any direction. Limited ingress permitted (Shipdeck)||N/A|
|7||N/A||Protected against the effects of immersion between 15cm and 1M.||Protected against 6.0 joule impact (1.5Kg @ 40cm)|
|8||N/A||Protected against long periods of immersion under pressure.||N/A|
|9||N/A||N/A||Protected against 20 joule impact (5Kg @ 40Protected against 0.225 joule impact (150g @ 15cm)|