IP vs. NEMA ratings

Date: 06/08/2020

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IP and NEMA ratings classify an electrical enclosure’s level of protection against environmental factors likes water and dust. IP, or ingress protection, was developed by the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) and is used primarily in Europe for a broad set of applications. NEMA stands for National Electrical Manufacturers Association and is geared towards industrial applications in North America


What are IP ratings?

Manufacturers worldwide use IP ratings to define the ingress protection abilities of their products – from smartphones and tablets to cars and cranes. IP code ratings are denoted with the letters “IP” followed by two digits.

The first digit identifies the level of protection from solids, as follows:

0: no special protection
1: protected against solid objects up to 50 mm in diameter
2: protected against solid objects up to 12 mm in diameter
3: protected against solid objects up to 2.5 mm in diameter
4: protected against solid objects up to 1 mm in diameter
5: dust protected
6: dust tight

The second digit refers to liquid protection, as follows:

0: no special protection
1: protected against dripping water
2: protected against dripping water when tilted up to 15 degrees from normal position
3: protected against spraying water
4: protected against splashing water
5: protected against water jet spray
6: protected against heavy jet spray
7: protected against the effects of immersion
8: protected against submersion


What are NEMA enclosure types?

Like IP ratings, NEMA ratings, or NEMA enclosure types, convey an electrical component’s protection from foreign objects. Unlike IP ratings, however, NEMA ratings also convey corrosion resistance, construction details and protection from icy and hazardous conditions.

NEMA has enclosure types for both hazardous and non-hazardous locations. The key to finding the NEMA rating for your application is to first decipher whether the location is classified as hazardous under the National Electrical Code (NEC).
NEMA enclosures types are then denoted by a number rating 1 to 13 under the appropriate hazardous or non-hazardous location class.

The enclosure type may also contain a letter with additional protection characteristics, including:
X: corrosion-resistant
R: susceptible to windblown particles
S: external operating mechanisms are operable when ice-covered
P: capable of being submerged in water for prolonged periods of time
K: constructed with knockouts

The numbers and letters of the rating do not function as a scale, but rather describe various protection types and variables. The enclosure types for indoor, nonhazardous locations are as follows:

Enclosures for Indoor Nonhazardous Locations

*These enclosures may be ventilated.


Comparing IP Ratings and NEMA Types

Because IP and NEMA ratings use different variables, a direct comparison cannot be drawn between the two. It is possible, however, to use either systems to identify a type of enclosure that is suitable for your application.

For non-hazardous locations, manufacturers generally agree that either a NEMA and IP ratings are acceptable. The table below gives an approximate comparison of the two rating systems. It is necessary for the user to verify the necessary enclosure rating for their given application.

NEMA IP Ratings Chart


IP and NEMA ratings for Hoists and Cranes

The rating most appropriate for the electrical enclosures of your bridge panel or hoist depends on the crane’s environment. Typically, an IP55 and NEMA Type 3 rating enclosure is suitable for most non-hazardous indoor environments, providing good protection against dust and moisture with plug electrical connections and steel panels. Hoist and bridge panels like those supplied on our QX modular crane package come standard with the IP55 protection classification. This means it is fit for indoor use and provides a degree of protection against windblown dust and moisture seen in a typical manufacturing environment.

For outdoor applications, or indoor applications with excessive moisture in the air, ask for a bridge panel with IP66 protection. In addition to this protection, R&M provides additional features which further protect the equipment from environmental concerns, including, rain covers, heaters to burn off condensation and corrosion-resistant paint.

R&M Materials Handling offers a broad portfolio of hoists and crane components with an extensive line of customizable features and components to provide the best solution for your application.

Contact us online or by phone to speak with an expert about the best lifting equipment for your environment.