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Barcoding Resources - Ruggedness

1. 0. Introduction

There are a variety of methods for describing the ruggedness and fitness of a device for use in different environments.  Some of the more common methods are:.

  1. I-Safe for hazardous locations
  2. IP Ratings for Protection against Solids and Liquids
  3. Drop Ratings

2.0  IS (Intrinsically Safe)

I-Safe is a term representing the Hazardous Location classifications as described in the National Fire Protection Association's (NFPA) National Electrical Code (Article 500). The National Electrical Code (NEC) defines Hazardous Locations as those areas "where fire or explosion hazards may exist due to flammable gases or vapors, flammable liquids, combustible dust, ignitable fibers or flyings."

An Intrinsic Safety rating details the specific Hazardous Location in which an electrical device can be used without fear of electrostatic discharge that may cause an explosion

I. Gases, vapors and liquids Normally explosive and hazardous Not normally present in explosive concentrations (but may accidentally exist)
II. Dusts Ignitable quantities normally or possibly in suspension. Dust not normally suspended in an ignitable concentration (but may exist)
III. Fibers and flyings Handled or used in manufacturing Stored or handled in storage
For instance, a Class I/Division 2 refers to gases or vapors that are not normally present in explosive conditions, but my accidentally exist (.g. through fault operation of equipment or leakage).

3.0  IP Ratings

The following table summarizes the IP (Ingress Protection) nomenclature as established by the IEC (International Electrotechnical Commission).  This IP rating addresses the level of protection an enclosure offers against solid and liquid penetration.  It is a two-digit rating system where the first number is the protection rating against solids and the second number is the protection rating against liquids.  If a device has an IP rating of 54, this means that it is protected from dust (#5) and splashing water (#4)

x No Specific Protection No Specific Protection
0 No Inherent Degree of Protection No Inherent Degree of Protection
1 Protection against solid foreign objects larger than 50 mm (e.g. accidental contact hand contact) Protection against drops of water falling vertically or condensation
2 Protection against solid foreign objects larger than 12 mm (e.g. accidental contact with finger) Protection against drops of water falling at up 15 degrees from vertical
3 Protection against solid foreign objects larger than 2.50 mm (e.g. tools and wire) Protection against drops of water falling at up 60 degrees from vertical
4 Protection against solid foreign objects larger than 1.00 mm (e.g. fine tools and wires) Protection against splashing water from all directions
5 Protection against quantities of dust that could interfere with satisfactory operation Protection against low pressure water jets from a nozzle in all directions
6 Complete protection against dust (sealed) Protection against strong jets of water of similar force to heavy seas (ship deck)
Protection against Temporary Immersion
8 Protection against Permanent Immersion


4.0  Drop Ratings

Unlike IP and I-safe ratings, drop tests are usually conducted by the vendors themselves - there is no UL certification for drop specs.  As such, Drop Specifications on two vendor's data sheets may look identical, but this does not mean they they are identical.  We recommend that buyers should ask vendors for more information regarding their internal testing procedures and then compare that data.  Nevertheless, common test metrics are
  • 4 foot drop to concrete
  • Single or Multiple Drops
  • Angle of Drops
  • Pass/Fail Rates


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This page last updated on 10/6/2020 7:23:57 AM