Terry Boswell, Sales Manager at WISKA UK, looks at how to ensure correct installation and maintenance of IP rated solutions for enclosure protection against the elements.
When it comes to outside connections and the use of junction boxes there are many factors to consider – especially when you’re looking at the IP (Ingress Protection) rating classification of the unit.
For an effective sealing of a connection there are two main factors to consider: the intrusion protection (denoted by the first number) and the moisture protection (denoted by the second number). Examples of the most common IP ratings that are ideal for outside connections are as follows:
IP 65 – Dust tight and protected against water spray from all directions;
IP 66 – Dust tight and protected against low pressure water jets from all directions;
IP 67 – Dust tight and protected against strong water jets and temporary immersion;
IP 68 – Dust tight and protected against complete and continuous submersion in water.
Having a high IP rating on an enclosure is preferred for outside use. WISKA’s COMBI Junction Box range, for example, has an IP rating of 66/67, making it the ideal choice for the types of aforementioned environments. However, there are other issues that also need to be considered.
Fluctuating temperatures and other environmental factors can create pressure inside tightly sealed enclosures which then leads to a build-up of condensation as well as damage to the seal. This results in the penetration and build-up of moisture and dirt.
Common practice to counteract condensation and pressure build-up has been to put a drain hole in the enclosure. The issue with this is that you have then voided the IP rating of the enclosure, defeating the original purpose. To overcome this issue in a correct manner there are two options:
The use of a venting device, such as WISKA’s VentGLAND or VentPLUG. These devices allow air to ﬂow through them thanks to their specially designed membranes, whilst at the same time preventing moisture.
Due to their high IP rating (IP 68/69), this equalizes the pressure inside the enclosure, preventing any condensation build-up and pressure damage to the seals.
The other option is with the use of insulating gel, such as WISKA’s MP-Gel. This product is a non conductive silicone-based gel that comes as a two-part liquid which is mixed 50/50 and then poured in to ﬁll the enclosure.
After a short period of time (12 minutes at 23°C), the gel sets like a jelly, which completely covers all the connections and protects against any moisture entering or building-up within the enclosure.