Ingress Protection for Industrial Sensors

As has been discussed previously, industrial sensors must be able to withstand some pretty punishing conditions.  Although industrial sensors incorporate some of the same high-end technology found in, say, the blu-ray disc player in your home theater system, it’s not likely that your BD player is going to be subjected to punishing shock, vibration, and general abuse as do the sensors in your industrial machinery.  To be sure, your blu-ray player doesn’t need to be protected against hydraulic fluid or moisture ingress.  Which brings me to the topic of this entry:  Ingress protection for industrial sensors.

In order to be viable in typical industrial environments, industrial sensors must often be able to tolerate getting wet, sometimes really, really wet.  Fortunately, most sensors do indeed incorporate some degree of ingress protection by design.  And it’s pretty easy to choose the proper sensor for a particular set of expected conditions thanks to a method of rating method outlined under international standard IEC 60529.  This standard takes the somewhat vague term “waterproof” and provides specific details as to just how waterproof an electronic device is.

An IP (Ingress Protection) rating for an electronic device typically consists of the letters IP, followed by a two-digit number.  The first digit identifies the protection against intrusion of solid objects (dirt, hand tools, your fingers, etc.):

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