Why Current IP68 Ratings Aren’t Enough for IoT Deployments in Harsh Conditions

The Critical Need for Advanced IP Ratings Across Industries

When deploying IoT devices in critical industries, protective measures like Ingress Protection (IP) ratings are indispensable. They act as safety gear for industrial equipment, ensuring devices can withstand environmental challenges such as dust, water and temperature extremes.

However, the commonly used IP68 rating often serves only as a starting point, as many environments require equipment to endure conditions far more severe than those it typically covers.

Essential but Insufficient

The IEC 60529 is a rating system that has been developed to indicate how well devices are protected against dust and liquids.

An IP68 rating guarantees that a device is dust-tight and can withstand submersion in water under specific conditions – up to 1.5 meters deep for about 30 minutes. Yet the demands of critical industry applications often exceed these baseline protections, requiring stronger protective measures.

The Need for Enhanced Protection Across Various Sectors

Although an IP68 rating indicates a rugged device, the environmental conditions of some IoT deployments often demand more. When one considers the recent flooding in places like Lismore or Auckland which flooded at 14m and 6m respectively. In these instances, 1.5m water protection for only 30min is simply not good enough. 

Beyond flooding the following environmental variables have to be taken into account in use cases across various industries, some of which falls completely outside the IP68 standard:

Rail Industry: Devices contend with high winds, driving dust and debris into components, extreme weather conditions and large temperature fluctuations. Equipment in remote, exposed locations must withstand prolonged submersion and resist abrasive high-velocity particulates, surpassing standard IP68 capabilities.

Water Utilities: Devices in sewer systems encounter toxic gases and may be submerged for extended periods during floods or blockages. The presence of gases like hydrogen sulfide, which are corrosive, and prolonged water exposure demand robust standards beyond IP68 for reliable operation.

Mining: Mining devices must be robust enough to withstand not only dust and moisture but also significant mechanical impacts and vibrations. The relentless conditions of mining environments require an IP rating that accounts for these additional stresses.

Strategic Engagement with IoT Vendors

To ensure IoT devices are adequately protected, operators should proactively engage with vendors to understand the testing parameters and protection levels of the devices they plan to deploy. This includes verifying any additional testing beyond the standard IP68 ratings. For example, in regions prone to severe flooding, it’s crucial to confirm that devices can endure prolonged submersions deeper and longer than IP68 standards.

Requesting detailed proof of performance under extreme conditions is also important to demonstrate the device’s ability to withstand environmental extremes. For instance, at Kallipr, our S2 device has been tested for over 30 days under 5 meters of water, significantly exceeding standard expectations (check out how we test our IP68 rated devices below).

Independent Verification

Seeking independent verification of vendor claims through third-party testing or pilot trials in the intended environment is advisable. This helps confirm the device’s durability and functionality, assuring that the technology will perform as needed when deployed.

Just as appropriate safety gear is essential for personnel, advanced IP ratings are crucial for IoT devices in critical applications. By engaging with IoT vendors and advocating for higher standards, industries can avoid costly downtimes and ensure their technology investments are both sustainable and effective.

For those involved in the deployment and development of IoT solutions across critical sectors, understanding the limitations of current IP ratings and advocating for higher standards is crucial. Let’s ensure our technology is not just capable, but robust and resilient, ready to meet the challenges of any critical industry environment.

How Kallipr's Devices are Tested Beyond Standard IP Ratings

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