Ingress protection (IP) is a critical part of product development, particularly for medical device assemblies and electronics manufacturing. IP code removes ambiguity from defining how leak-proof a product is by establishing an industry-wide metric to determine acceptable leak rates.

In the past, testing to IP standards was expensive, destructive, and unscalable for high-volume manufacturing. However, new innovations in air leak testing have led to new opportunities. Air leak testing for validating IP ratings is a cost-effective and non-destructive option designed to provide faster turnarounds. Non-destructive air leak testing can determine the ingress of water without directly submerging your sealed device or destroying your product.

Understanding IP Ratings for Sealed Components

IP protection code is comprised of the letters IP followed by two digits: IPXX. The first digit corresponds with protection against solid ingress and ranges from 0, meaning no protection, to 6, meaning dust tight. The second digit refers to liquid ingress and ranges from 0, meaning no protection, to 9, meaning protected from powerful high-temperature water jets. Either digit may be populated with an X, denoting that the protection level is either 0 or not applicable.

    1st Digit Effective Against Object Size 2nd Digit Protected Against
    0 0 Not Protected
    1 >50mm 1 Dripping Water
    2 >12.5mm 2 Dripping Water when Tilted up to 15º
    3 >2.5mm 3 Spraying Water
    4 >1mm 4 Splashing Water
    5 Dust Protected 5 Water Jets
    6 Dust Tight 6 Powerful Water Jets
        7 Immersion up to 1m
        8 Immersion beyond 1m
        9 Steam Jet Cleaning

    For example, a common IP rating for medical devices and electronics is IP67, in which the 6 indicates the product is dust tight with no particulate ingress. The 7 indicates the product is leakproof for up to thirty minutes submerged under one meter of water.

    Considerations for Choosing IP Ratings & IP Testing Parameters

    Checking for ingress is an essential step in any production line, allowing you to diagnose issues from basic product functionality to marketing effectiveness. Every product is different, so deciding which IP rating is required and how to test it can sometimes be challenging. Keep these considerations in mind while establishing your parameters for function, form, and environment:

     

    • Is the product’s goal to keep air, liquid, or other elements in or out?
    • What pressure will the product have to face?
    • Does the product have multiple parts? Do they all need the same levels of protection?
    • Is the product in an enclosure or an external component?
    • Is the product meant for indoor or outdoor use?

    Chamber Air Leak Testing for IPXX Sealed Devices

    While many types of air leak tests are available to validate your sealed component’s IP rating, chamber tests remain the most effective and versatile option across industries. This non-destructive air leak testing method is typically applied to find leaks in sealed packing or devices. Products are placed inside a sealed chamber. That chamber is then pressurized using your acceptable leak rate calculations. If the pressure holds, your sealed product passes. If the pressure drops, a leak is present, and further evaluation must occur.

    Non-destructive chamber tests can validate IP ratings for an extensive range of sealed components, including:

    Get Started with Zaxis Non-Destructive Air Leak Testers Today

    Zaxis is the leading manufacturer of high-quality precision air leak testers. Our products are USA-made to ensure complete compliance with the regulations and requirements of any industry at all stages of production, including for product designers, developers, OEMs, and more. Our leak testers use the same components to validate IP rating validation throughout your entire product development process, aiming to deliver your complete satisfaction.

    For more information about Zaxis air leak testers or for assistance in creating an air leak test for IP ratings, contact us or call 801-264-1000 today.

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