Comparing The Two Systems

IP and NEMA ratings both measure the same thing: an enclosure’s ability to withstand the ingress of dust or water. This matters because watertightness is not a binary concept: housings are not simply waterproof/not waterproof.

Varying degrees of pressure play a huge part in how well your enclosures will cope with exposure to water or dust. A splashproof enclosure will not resist prolonged immersion. And a fully submersible enclosure may not cope with high-pressure water jets.

So it’s crucial to specify the correct IP or NEMA rating for your industrial electronic enclosures. But this can be confusing because the two systems use different variables. And the numerical ratings do not correlate in the way you’d expect!

Here are some examples:

  • IP 66 is similar to NEMA 4 and 4X – but IP 52 is similar to NEMA 5
  • IP 67 is like NEMA 6 and 6P – but NEMA 12 and 12 K are closer to IP 52.

Yes, it is possible to compare and cross-reference ratings – but it’s crucial to specify your ingress protection requirements as accurately as possible. And for this you’ll need to examine the two rating systems in detail…

How Do IP Ratings Work?

IP ratings are the international standard for ingress protection. They are defined in IEC standard 60529 and published by the International Electrotechnical Commission. The equivalent European standard is EN 60529.

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