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Lighting IP ratings...What does it mean?


In the technical specifications for lighting and light fittings you will often see the "IP rating" - but what does this mean and how does it tell you what is the correct lighting that you need for your application?


Put simply, IP ratings are the specifications or ‘code’ that grade the protection factor given to any light fitting against the touching of live (electrical) parts and protection against the access of solid items/bodies. In addition, the code specifies protection against the harmful ingress of liquids to the light fitting.


The IP rating is internationally referred to as the “International Protected” code or the “Ingress Protected” code. Each IP code, has TWO digits to define its level of protection - an "x" is used as one of the digits if there is only one class of protection.


The European Standard EN 60529 outlines the IP ratings as an international classification system for "enclosures for electrical equipment" as follows: The first digit of the IP code indicates the degree that persons are protected against contact with moving parts (other than smooth rotating shafts, etc.) and the degree that equipment is protected against solid foreign bodies intruding into an enclosure. The second digit indicates the degree of protection of the equipment inside the enclosure against the harmful entry of various forms of moisture (e.g. dripping, spraying, submersion, etc.)


The diagram below shows this in more detail: