Understanding connector ingress protection

As more applications call for ingress protection, Schurter walks buyers through IP classes which define the degree of protection against contact, foreign objects and water.

The IP protection class comprises two digits. The first stands for protection against foreign objects or contact. The second indicates protection against moisture. For example: IP65, where 6 means ‘dust-tight’ and 5 means protection against ‘strong jets of water’. So, the higher the digits, the higher the protection.

The range of possible IP protection levels is high, from IP00 to IP69k. Users should primarily focus on the plugged-in state, when the device plug and cable socket are connected to each other. In the unplugged state, higher IP protection ratings are often achieved but only correspond to the actual application to a limited extent.

Stricter equipment standards and increasing customer requirements are leading equipment manufacturers to demand products with higher IP protection. In modern industrial plant—where moisture and dust are to be expected—IP54 is often installed today but only IP20 in protected control cabinets. Examples include cobots which assist operators in harsh environments.

In the medical field, a high IP protection is almost always mandatory. This is due to the need to regularly clean and disinfect medical devices that come into contact with liquids and sterilize them if necessary. Such applications require IP54, sometimes IP65 or higher. An example application is medical laboratories, where work is constantly carried out with liquids.

In addition to the medical sector, reliable IP protection is an important feature for food processing equipment. One example application is large bakeries, where flour and similar particles float in the air.

In conclusion, protection against dust and moisture is important in today’s technological landscape. Understanding IP protection classes and selecting the appropriate level for specific applications is crucial. Industries such as manufacturing, medical and food processing require reliable IP protection to ensure equipment durability and safe operation.

Advancements in cord retention systems, such as the V-Lock, offer more elegant solutions to prevent accidental disconnections. With continuous innovations in IP54 protection, companies like Schurter are paving the way for enhanced device connections and improved protection against dust and moisture for various industries.