The Use of IP Ratings in Actuators


Asking yourself, 'what is IP rating?' can affect how you use your actuators

If you’re working around automation, you might have heard the term IP Rating thrown around. Your first thought might be:

Oh. Well, I’m sure the IP rating of the product I have has the IP rating it’s supposed to have for whatever I’m doing with it.

Are you certain of it? Are you certain that you can take your actuator into the sweltering heat and expect it to function safely and effectively? These devices are made for specific environments, and when you operate one where it isn’t designed to operate you’re running a risk of failure and even injury.

Before you put your automation project to the real test, we’ll help you ensure that your components are rated for the environment and the automated system you’re about to put them in.


If you have a history in automation, engineering or industry, you’re probably already familiar with the IP rating system. For those who aren’t, the IP rating system was developed by the European Committee for Electro-Technical Standardization. IP stands for ‘Ingress Protection.’ Each time you see the term IP, it is followed by two numbers. If you see IP54, you are looking at an ingress protection rating of five and four – not fifty-four. You may not see it that often, but there can be a third number on IP ratings. For this particular article, we’re focusing on the first two numbers.


The first number is used to denote protection against solid objects. These numbers range of 0-6 and go from’ no protection
at all’ to ‘completely protected from dust particles.’ The table below outlines the levels of protection.

If your protection level is 2, it also covers 1 and below - and so on up the table. If you’ve purchased an actuator for which
you’ll need protection for your fingers, purchasing one with an IP04 rating could be a hard earned lesson with a hefty pr-
ice attached to it.


The second number denotes the protection from liquids. These numbers range of 0-8 and describe protections from ‘no protection at all’ to protection from ‘complete immersion.’ The following table outlines the IP rating system for liquids.


Yes, at first glance this term probably seems like either a mistype or an oxymoron. It’s neither. Although the phrase may
seem counter-intuitive, in the case of flooding, the component will have protection against flooding for a certain amount
of time. Don’t expect to wait until tomorrow to grab your actuators out of the water.

The next time y our spec’ing for an actuator system, take care to think about the IP rating of the component. IP ratings
not only protect the component. They protect the person operating the component from the various safety hazards th-

at can occur at work and at the home. For more information on actuator systems, visit our webpage at

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