Explaining an IP67 rating to civilians

Why that fancy new smartphone won’t get destroyed if it gets rained on.


I was listening to the radio the other day, and there was a commercial for a smartphone from a company that isn’t Apple. Such things exist, apparently. Since I depend on my retro iPhone 3s “roundyback,” I don’t pay much attention to those other platforms.

One thing caught my attention: The commercial made the point that this particular phone can survive many clumsy situations, such as being left in the yard with the sprinkler running, dropped in a bowl of chili, etc., because it is “IP67 rated.” Further investigation turned up that the phone in question is a Samsung Galaxy S 4 Active, and as the company’s website describes it: “Enjoy the freedom of being able to take your smartphone almost anywhere. An IP67 rating means the Samsung Galaxy S 4 Active is resistant to dust and moisture.”

Those of us who turn in engineering and industrial circles are used to hearing such designations. (A search on "IP 67" at the Control Engineering home page found 176 hits, mostly product announcements of items that have that rating.) On the other hand, if IP67 means as much to you as furlongs per fortnight, here is a brief description:

IP in this case stands for ingress protection, or the ability to keep stuff out. The 6 and 7 designate dry and wet stuff, respectively. Dry stuff is on a scale from 0 to 6, with 0 meaning no protection. As the numbers increase, the size of the stuff that can get in gets progressively smaller. 1 means it can keep out something larger than a golf ball. 6 means total protection against dust, and is the highest rating. Similarly, liquid ingress protection is designated by the second digit on a scale from 0 to 8. A low number means it can keep out the rain if lying in the correct position and the rain is coming straight down. 7 means it can be dipped in water if it’s less than 1 meter deep and you probably don’t want to leave it in there very long. 8 means it’s suitable for continuous immersion.

This standard was written by the International Electrotechnical Commission and adopted in the U.S. by the American National Standards Institute. You can download part of the standard, but if you want to read the whole thing, you have to buy it.

Now you can take this knowledge and impress the guys and gals behind the counter of your local phone store. They'll think you're an engineer.

Peter Welander, pwelander@cfemedia.com

No comments
The Engineers' Choice Awards highlight some of the best new control, instrumentation and automation products as chosen by...
The System Integrator Giants program lists the top 100 system integrators among companies listed in CFE Media's Global System Integrator Database.
The Engineering Leaders Under 40 program identifies and gives recognition to young engineers who...
This eGuide illustrates solutions, applications and benefits of machine vision systems.
Learn how to increase device reliability in harsh environments and decrease unplanned system downtime.
This eGuide contains a series of articles and videos that considers theoretical and practical; immediate needs and a look into the future.
Choosing controllers: PLCs, PACs, IPCs, DCS? What's best for your application?; Wireless trends; Design, integration; Manufacturing Day; Product Exclusive
Variable speed drives: Smooth, efficient, electrically quite motion control; Process control upgrades; Mobile intelligence; Product finalists: Vote now; Product Exclusives
Machine design tips: Pneumatic or electric; Software upgrades; Ethernet advantages; Additive manufacturing; Engineering Leaders; Product exclusives: PLC, HMI, IO
This article collection contains the 5 most referenced articles on improving the use of PID.
Learn how Industry 4.0 adds supply chain efficiency, optimizes pricing, improves quality, and more.

Find and connect with the most suitable service provider for your unique application. Start searching the Global System Integrator Database Now!

Cyber security cost-efficient for industrial control systems; Extracting full value from operational data; Managing cyber security risks
Drilling for Big Data: Managing the flow of information; Big data drilldown series: Challenge and opportunity; OT to IT: Creating a circle of improvement; Industry loses best workers, again
Pipeline vulnerabilities? Securing hydrocarbon transit; Predictive analytics hit the mainstream; Dirty pipelines decrease flow, production—pig your line; Ensuring pipeline physical and cyber security