Causes of Water-Based IP Test Failures
As an ingress protection test lab, Keystone Compliance conducts hundreds of ingress protection tests per year. We are often asked to provide insight into common causes of failures.
Why failures can stem from numerous causes, our team can summarize them into three primary categories and two secondary categories. The primary categories are improper design, use of inadequate materials, and poor manufacturing. The secondary causes are damage and improper use of the device or enclosure.
Design Issues that Cause Ingress Protection Testing Failures
The design of a product should take into account the intended use and placement of the product. From these two points, a determination should be made regarding the amount of contact with water the device will likely have.
The most common design flaw we see is simply the product’s enclosure not being properly designed to prevent water from entering the device. Although some devices are made to permit water to enter, the flaw comes from the product’s internal components not being properly protected or sealed against the water. This can include internal wiring and connections.
Pressure and flow rate can be issues that cause failures. For instance, a product might be designed to repel some water but not be designed to withstand the amount or pressure of water or volume of water being sprayed during the test.
The duration of the test may also be a factor, as some products may be able to withstand short exposure to water but fail when exposed for longer periods. We also see products and enclosures designed with weak points where water can enter from certain angles. If the product has any openings, such as ports, seams, or ventilation holes, these can allow water to enter.
Improper Material Selection can lead to IP Code Test Failures
Material selection is an important task when designing an enclosure. Using materials that are not water-resistant can lead to failures. Many low-quality materials deteriorate over time, leaving gaps that permit water entry.
It is important that the materials used be suitable for use in wet environments. For example, materials that may be prone to rust or corrosion when exposed to water should always be avoided.
Poor Manufacturing Processes can Cause Ingress Protection Failures
A perfect design and the use of appropriate material does not guarantee success. A product’s manufacturing process may have defects or inconsistencies that compromise its water resistance. If the product is not installed correctly, its seals may not function as intended, leading to water infiltration.
Manufacturing issues we commonly see include inadequate sealing of the enclosure, gaps in the housing, or improper placement of the test equipment.
The two secondary causes of water resistance test failures we see are damage and expectations. If the product’s enclosure is cracked, dented, or otherwise damaged, it may allow water to enter during the testing. Also, if the product is not properly maintained failures will likely occur.
Lastly, improper use of the product can also lead to failure during testing. If the user exposes the product to water in a way that is not consistent with the testing requirements, it may not perform as expected. For example, if the user sprays water at a different angle or with higher pressure, the product may not be able to withstand the water exposure, leading to failure during testing.
Obtain the Proper Ingress Protection Certification for Your Device or Enclosure
Keystone Compliance is an accredited ingress protection test lab with a comprehensive scope that includes every single ingress protection test. We have significant experience in ingress protection testing and can test products in various sizes.
Our team provides quick turnaround times on quotes, short lead times on scheduling, and constant communication before, during, and after the test program is complete. Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or (724) 657-9940 to request a quote or learn more about our ingress protection expertise.
Learn more about other water-related ingress-protection testing standards: