Water and Dust Protection
The IP Code, International Protection Marking, IEC 60529 (EN 60529), also known as Ingress Protection (IP) rating, classifies and rates the degree of protection provided by mechanical casings and electrical enclosures against intrusion, dust, accidental contact, and water. The 1st digit indicates the level of protection that the enclosure provides against access to hazardous parts (e.g., electrical conductors, moving parts) and the ingress of solid foreign objects. The second digit indicates the level of protection that the enclosure provides against harmful ingress of water.
However, the highest does not mean the best. The choice depends on your application requirements and the environment where you are going to deploy the HMI solution. Generally speaking, for food and beverages industry there are four possible protection levels: IP69K, the highest, IP67, IP66 and IP65.
Let’s check what each level of protection means.
The IP69K Panel PC is built to withstand extensive wash downs with corrosion resistance against cleaning agents, especially against close-range high-pressure, high temperature wash downs. The level of protection allows for easy cleaning and sterilization using water with temperatures of up to 80°C and pressure of up to 30 Bar. A custom-built waterproof conduit pipe was also provided for the customer with a cover plate, allowing for an additional layer of protection for the panel pc cables.
The IP67 rating indicating that the device is actually protected even when immersed in as much as 1 meter (3.3 feet) of water. The sealed IP67 design protects the internal components from dust and water.
Complete protection against contact (dust tight) and water projected in powerful jets (12.5 mm nozzle) against the enclosure from any direction shall have no harmful effects.
IP65 rated as "dust tight" and protected against water projected by a nozzle (6.3 mm) against enclosure from any direction. IP65 rated panel PCs can be sprayed clean and prevent ingredients from making their way into the system and causing damage to components.
Some applications like packaging controller may go well with IP65-rated HMI; while more demanding applications like meat cutting operation control may require IP69K rating to survive daily high-pressure cleaning. The choice depends on the environment and the location of the HMI device on the production floor.
The housing of panel PC and HMI devices should be made of SUS304 stainless steel to resist against corrosion and liquids. It contains between 16 and 24 percent chromium and up to 35 percent nickel, as well as small amounts of carbon and manganese. Besides attractive, clean finish that durability makes 304 easy to sanitize.
The devices must be resistant to high pressure, high temperature wash-downs, cleaning with acid-based cleaning agents, and that is where IP69K rating wins the first place. The surface should easy to clean, better featuring edge-to-edge true flat design that prevents the buildup of any particles on the bezels which make it harder to clean thoroughly for complete sterilization. Waterproof connectors and an air venting valve that prevents moisture within the housing allow complete protection during the cleaning process.