IP Rating: Waterproofing Checklist

You may have heard that high IP ratings = waterproofed printers. Read here to learn all about IP ratings and how to avoid the issues associated with water exposure.

Many circuit boards are built with moisture-sensitive parts. If these parts are exposed to water, it can cause them to short circuit which can cause permanent damage. Additionally, water can expose hardware to various ions and other contaminants, leading to gradual corrosion. Even if the water manages to evaporate, the effects of these contaminants can cause lasting damage that is hard to reverse.

For industrial coding lines that rely on printers to deliver results daily, water exposure poses a huge threat. If just one printer becomes damaged, it can lead to long periods of downtime, disrupt production schedules, and ultimately drain profits. In worksites that regularly experience high amounts of humidity (e.g., beverage bottling plants, food canning facilities, chemical packaging sites, etc.), this threat is especially important to consider. 

Thankfully, the modern industrial coding market is filled with machines that are built to resist the ingress of water—a quality expressed through ingress protection (IP)ratings. In this article, we take a look at IP ratings, waterproofing levels, and a few important questions related to liquid ingress. 

IP Ratings and Waterproofing: What You Need To Know

IP ratings are two-digit codes that refer to how effectively a piece of equipment’s outer structure can resist the ingress of solid particles and liquid. For example, DuraCode series CIJ printers are built with IP55 structures while Anser X1 TIJs are built with IP65 structures.

The first digit in an IP rating communicates how well a printer’s outer structure can prevent the ingress of solid particles. Here’s a quick breakdown of what each solid particle IP rating means:

  • IP0: The outer structure provides no protection against solid particles.
  • IP1: The outer structure prevents the ingress of particles larger than 50 mm (2 inches).
  • IP2: The outer structure prevents the ingress of particles larger than 12.5 mm (0.49 inches).
  • IP3: The outer structure prevents the ingress of particles larger than 2.5 mm (0.098 inches).
  • IP4: The outer structure prevents the ingress of particles larger than 1 mm (0.039 inches).
  • IP5: The outer structure prevents the ingress of dust particles, although it is not 100% dust-tight.
  • IP6: The outer structure provides complete protection against dust ingress.

The second digit in an IP rating communicates how well a printer’s outer structure can prevent the ingress of liquid. This rating range is a bit larger than solid particle IP ratings as it ranges from 0 - 9. Here’s what each liquid IP rating means:

  • IP0: The outer structure does not protect against liquid.
  • IP1: The outer structure prevents the ingress of droplets that fall directly on the top of the printer.
  • IP2: The outer structure prevents the ingress of droplets that fall directly on the top of the printer as well as droplets that land at a 15° angle.
  • IP3: The outer structure prevents the ingress of liquid from low-pressure sprays at 60° angles.
  • IP4: The outer structure prevents the ingress of liquid from low-pressure splashes at all angles. 
  • IP5: The outer structure prevents the ingress of liquid from low-pressure jets at all angles.
  • IP6: The outer structure prevents the ingress of liquid from high-pressure jets at all angles. 
  • IP7 The outer structure prevents the ingress of liquid during immersion up to 1 meter deep.
  • IP8: The outer structure prevents the ingress of liquid during immersion at 1 meter or deeper.
  • IP9: The outer structure prevents the ingress of liquid during immersion at 1 meter or deeper.

For the majority of purposes, there’s no real need for marking equipment to be built with an IP rating of 7-9 as an IP6 rating essentially guarantees waterproofing for most industrial purposes. 

Unsure of How Well Your Printer Is Protected Against Water? Follow This Checklist for Guidance

IP ratings communicate how well a stock printer model can prevent the ingress of solid particles and water. However, there are times when a user may not know their printer’s IP rating and thus are unsure of how susceptible their printer is to water exposure. 

Although we always recommend checking your printer’s manual or contacting the manufacturer to find reliable information on this topic, you can also follow this checklist to form an idea of your printer’s level of waterproofing.

Does the Printer Have Any Openings in the Outer Cabinet?

Waterproofed printers should have no outer cabinet openings through which water can enter. If your model has precarious-looking openings, you should be wary of possible water damage. 

Do the Printer Doors Have Seals?

Unprotected cabinet doors offer a clear route for water and humidity to enter a printer. Waterproof printers prevent this threat with the help of rubber seals and other types of insulating materials. Without the aid of these seals, your printer is susceptible to water ingress and corrosion.

Does the Printer Have Open Connection Points?

Connection points allow for water ingress if they are left open indefinitely. Fortunately, potential issues can be easily avoided by applying a cap to the open point. If you do not have a cap on hand, either contact the manufacturer or measure the opening yourself and find a cap on the secondary market.

Have More Questions on IP Ratings, Waterproofing, and General Workplace Hazards? InkJet, Inc. Has Answers 

If you operate in a facility plagued by high humidity and water presence, it pays to invest in an IP-rated printer. With high levels of ingress protection, you can build a resilient coding line that’s free of the threats posed by high humidity levels and water presence. For more information on the topic, call InkJet, Inc. today.

To learn more about IP ratings, waterproofing, and how to maximize production line efficiency, contact us online today or call 1(800) 280-3245

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