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Technical Articles & Industry Trends
Ingress Protection (IP) ratings are very important in industrial computing environments. This rating classifies the amount of protection a device has against intrusion of foreign objects that could damage it or cause it to fail or become unsafe. It rates protection based on solid objects (body parts, wires, dust) and liquid ingress (water). This way, it is known exactly how rugged a device is without using potentially misleading or broad terms like “waterproof”.
IP ratings are laid out with two digits, IPXX. The first digit reflects the protection from solids, and the second digit reflects the protection from liquids. So, for example, an IP67 rated computer would be completely protected from dust, and against immersion in water up to one meter deep for up to 30 minutes.
The IP rating a computer requires depends on the industry in which it will be used and the application. You must put careful thought into what environment the computer will be placed to make sure that it will operate reliably.
This industry is increasingly relying on computer based control systems to automate and communicate with equipment. However, there are also very strict food safety regulations that require heavy wash downs, high temperature water or cleaning with strong disinfectants on all equipment. If the computers are kept in the plant, they must be protected and able to operate in those conditions. For food and beverage operations, computers should be rated at least IP65, and would ideally be rated IP69K to make sure they are completely protected at all times.
Computers are often needed in extreme environments, like on ships, outside, or in military vehicles. In these situations, the computers will be exposed to harsh weather, dust, dirt, water, corrosion, flooding, wide temperature ranges, and more. A rating of IP65, IP66, or IP67 is necessary to place a device in these applications.
In a warehouse or factory, it will get dusty and dirty. Rugged computers are used to control processes and equipment, as well as communicate with machinery. If they aren’t rated at IP65 or higher, it is more likely that they will fail due to dust getting into the components. If you need the unit to be reliably operating 24/7, it should have full dust protection.
Pharmaceutical processing often requires clean rooms where there can only be a certain number of particles in the air. The equipment also can’t introduce foreign objects into the laboratory because of the risk of contamination. Units in these environments must be able to be wiped down and possibly sprayed down periodically, as well as cleaned with harsh chemicals. They should have ratings of IP65 or higher, and again, it would be ideal for the computer to be rated IP69K to account for the possibility of high temperature water.
Almost all of Teguar’s computers are rated IP65 or higher. They are ready to be placed and run reliably in many extreme environments. Evaluating your industry conditions and determining how much protection your computer needs will help ensure the unit will have a long operating life. Contact the team at Teguar for more information on which ingress protection level is right for your facility.