Products often come with a variety of certifications and ratings that may be overlooked as insignificant. However, IP ratings are important certifications for electrical products which can be critical for understanding a product’s performance in different scenarios.
In this guide to the IP68 certification, our experts here at Solareye explain what the IP rating system is, why it is important and the benefits of IP68 certified products such as our Solareye®80 outdoor solar lighting.
What Does IP68 Mean?
To understand the significance of IP68, the IP coding system must first be explained.
The IP code, or ingress protection code, defines how effective a product is at sealing electrical enclosures from the intrusion of dirt and moisture. It is a globally recognised coding system defined in international standards (EN 60529) which was developed by the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC).
The numbers following ‘IP’ dictate the level of protection provided against certain materials; the first digit signifies intrusion protection from dust/solids and the second shows the moisture protection from liquid ingression.
Each digit is rated by the following scale, with the scale increasing with level of protection.
IP first digit (dust):
0. No protection
1. Protection for solid object over 50 mm.
2. Protection for solid object over 12 mm.
3. Protection for solid object over 2.5 mm.
4. Protection for solid object over 1 mm.
5. Protection with respect to limited dust.
6. Complete protection against dust.
IP second digit (water):
0. No protection
1. Protection for vertically falling drips.
2. Protection for spray of water up to 15° vertically.
3. Protection for spray of water up to 60° vertically.
4. Protection for spray of water from all direction.
5. Protection for low pressure jet of water from all direction.
6. Protection for high pressure jet of water from all direction.
7. Protection for continuous submersion between 15 cm to 1m.
8. Protection for long time immersion under pressure.
(9K. Protection for high pressure/steam cleaning.)
As 6 and 8 are the highest ratings on the respective scales, IP68 rated products are the most imperious to ingress from dust and moisture, even handling extended submersion in small depths. A 9K rating is available for moisture protection which demonstrates protection for high pressure jets sprays or steam cleaning procedures, however it doesn’t cover submerging. Therefore, this rating is usually reserved for specific road vehicle applications, not general products.
IP67 vs IP68
A common dichotomy seen in regard to IP coding, especially for mobile phones, is IP67 vs IP68. Although the initial digit is the same, ‘6’, showing the same effective protection from dust, the latter digit creates an important distinction. IP67 products may be described as ‘water resistant’ as the product sufficiently protects against water ingress however submersion would be troublesome. IP68 products may instead be described as ‘waterproof’ as they display higher levels of protection during submersion and with higher volumes of water.
Wording is critical as the two ratings present different levels of protection which should be carefully and correctly marketed to consumers, especially in the wearable tech and mobile phone industries.
Importance of IP68 Certification
The credentials of products are important for product effectiveness and application as well as consumer marketing.
Electrical products made for outdoor applications must have high levels of ingress protection to handle the outdoor elements including rain, soil and more. Outdoor lighting, for example, could be majorly compromised in the event of flooding and leave areas unlit presenting danger. IP68 certified products offer superior protection for superior performance in spite of weather conditions or placement.
Electrical System Damage
The main role of ingress protection measures is to keep electrical components in working order. Any solid or liquid ingress could damage the electrical system and cause the product to be faulty or less effective over the course of its lifetime.
When a product is assigned an IP certification, it is tested thoroughly to ensure it is up to the standard of the rating. Products should be designed with the desired IP rating in mind, factoring in the product use and exposure to possible ingress materials. Without IP consideration at the design stage, products may fall short of the desired IP requirements.
Consumers can save money on repairs and replacements if products are sufficiently protected against ingress. Where poorly made or low protection products need to be repaired and replaced, IP68 products are far more likely to be effective for longer.
IP68 is commonly mentioned in the marketing of mobile phones, as a huge selling point to certain handheld devices is the reduction of risk of water damage. Although the use of mobile phones underwater is still rather risky, the IP68 certification gives consumers the peace of mind that if they do drop their phone in water or accidentally splash it, their device will likely still be fine.
IP68 Certified Solar Lighting
Here at Solareye we provide robust and reliable solar-powered ground lighting, strongly protected as IP68 certified against dust and water ingress. In fact, Solareye®80 ground lighting has continually proven successful and effective in the event of submersion. Find out more about how Solareye®80 products light up Worcester riverside, even during floods!
Not only do these lights provide a warm glow in dark hours, vital for city walkways, cycle paths and riversides, but also run completely off solar energy, providing a great ‘green’ alternative to traditional lights.
Suitable for all outdoor ground applications, Solareye®80 lights have been used across the UK to provide safe lighting without the risk of water or solid ingress compromising their effectiveness.
Learn More with Solareye®80
If you would like to find out more about IP68 products or pave the way for environmentally friendly ground lighting, check out Solareye. Our products are specially designed to be effective in any condition through robust design and IP68 protection, keeping people safe in dark hours. We even consider local wildlife in our designs, such as bats, to ensure that our solar powered solutions protect the environment too.