From the chart we can see that, technically speaking, the dust spec has 7 different levels, level 0 to level 7 and the water spec has 9 different levels, level 0 to level 8. But, practically speaking, rugged computers all have at least a dust protection level of 5 and water protection level of at least 4. Nevertheless at the operational ends of the scale, the levels can make a big difference. For example, a dust level of 5 means that some dust can get into the unit, whereas level 6 unit is completely dust proof.
In another example, an IP67-rated unit is totally dust proof and is capable of immersion in water for at least 30 minutes to a depth of 1 meter. This unit would be an excellent choice in either a very dusty or dirty environment or one where it may be possible to drop the unit into a body of water like a lake or a stream. On the other hand, an IP rating of IP54 is only protected in a limited way to dust and water and should never be fully immersed.
Increasingly, rugged device manufacturers are using the term IP68. What is important about the IP68 rating is that you need an additional detail in order to evaluate the true meaning. If IP67 is immersible in water, how can IP68 be more rugged? The secret is in the additional detail. For a true IP68 rating, the manufacturer must specify the depth and the length of time for the immersion. If the 1-meter for 30 minutes mark of IP67 isn’t enough for you, you should be sure to compare the specifics if a device promises IP68.
Rugged Computers for Tough Environments
Knowing what the specifications are and what they mean can provide invaluable information about how a unit will function in the field and over the long term. So, use the specifications to help you pick out the best unit for your situation.