IP68 Classification - What does it entail?
Efficiency used to be the only reason for choosing LED lighting, but things are different today. LED lighting has come on in leaps and bounds, and is now a veritable mood maker, even in a range of outdoor environments. The various possible outdoor applications mean that demand for IP68 connectors is also on the rise. A&C Solutions, a specialist in this field, would like to clarify this question.
Text: Tom Rampelbergh Image: A&C Solutions, Techno
What is IP68? Some digging reveals that IP68 means that the product is dust-free (touch-safe because the housing is completely sealed, full protection against dust) and also waterproof (remains usable under water under indicated conditions). But that is where a problem arises, as many people think that, thanks to IP68 classification, a product, for example a connector, is completely waterproof regardless of the depth and time under water. Nothing could be further from the truth. "Most people have a nasty surprise when they take a connector out of the water, after having left it in for a while," explains Maarten Voermans of A&C Solutions, distributor of connectors and drivers. "They find out that water got into it anyway, or that there's corrosion in the connector."
THE IP68 RATING
"Many luminaires in outdoor lighting applications end up in conditions where temperature and pressure differences between the inside and outside of the luminaire play a role," Voermans continues. "Due to the capillary action, there is often an accumulation of moisture in the cable, which compromises the electrical functioning of the luminaire. Ventilation can solve this, but this is not always possible due to space or conditions (water/pollution)."
A guaranteed watertight connection depends to a large extent on the circumstances. That's precisely why the IP68 protection level clearly highlights the fact that the conditions in which the application can operate are specified by the manufacturer. "In other words, with IP68, the manufacturer and the customer agree on what needs to be tested, how long and at what depth," says Voermans.
A&C Solutions stresses the importance of clear cooperation between customer, manufacturer, and itself. "With the products of the Italian company Techno, we can offer the best IP68 connectors available," says Voermans. "At their factory in Guanzate, a team of engineers works every day on new connector technologies. Their connectors are also extensively tested in a purpose-built laboratory. Here, in consultation with the customer, they simulate the situation of a project. The connectors are therefore tested for a certain period of time, to see if they meet the customer's requirements."
The Techno xDRY range is a good example of how the importance of R&D and pushing your limits can result in a waterproof product. The xDRY range is a series of IP68 waterproof plug & socket, junction and tube connectors. Voermans explains: "What's special about this range is the incorporation of a special anti-condensation block (barrier) that ensures that moisture condensation, caused by the capillary action referred to above, no longer has the opportunity to penetrate through the connector via the cable. This ensures the functionality of the application and all electrical and electronic components, which in turn has a positive effect on the quality of the cable connector and the long-term reliability of the application. Techno's xDRY range is primarily used in installations where there is a risk of moisture entering a luminaire via the cable. We see that more and more customers want to prevent their expensive luminaires from being damaged by the capillary action in the cable, and therefore also want to avoid having to pay for expensive service hours."
Interested in finding out which IP68 connectors from Techno are best suited to your application?
Would you like tailored advice?