A false sense of secu­rity

Perma­nent func­tion­ality can only be guar­an­teed by using prod­ucts in line with their spec­i­fi­ca­tion

Our customers expect a product to work during its entire service life. Its func­tion­ality is influ­enced by the design concept, produc­tion process and appli­ca­tion. For design and produc­tion, we use recog­nised guide­lines such as the quality certifi­cates DIN EN ISO 9001 and ISO/TS 16949. They ensure that the limits set in the tech­nical spec­i­fi­ca­tion are not exceeded.

When selecting a product, assessing the condi­tions in which the product will be used is para­mount.

This is not so easy when it comes to the actual appli­ca­tion. Our prod­ucts are used in all kinds of func­tional and climatic envi­ron­ments around the world: from minus 50 degrees Celsius in Novosi­birsk to the burning heat of a rooftop in Saudi Arabia, from vibra­tion-sensi­tive oper­a­tion in a machine to highly sterile appli­ca­tions in medi­cine.


Five minutes of spray water at room temper­a­ture: a centrifugal fan in an IP test

When selecting a product, assessing the condi­tions in which the product will be used is para­mount. A product with the spec­i­fi­ca­tion for oper­a­tion up to 50 degrees Celsius, for example, would expe­ri­ence a malfunc­tion at 80 degrees Celsius. But even within the given spec­i­fi­ca­tions, prod­ucts cannot constantly operate at extreme values, just like you cannot perma­nently drive a car in first gear. If the condi­tions are known, more infor­ma­tion on any special mechan­ical or elec­trical require­ments is required from those on the ground. This is where the Inter­na­tional Protec­tion Code (IP) comes in, indi­cating both the protec­tion type – dust or mois­ture – and the protec­tion rating. The IPC does not provide any infor­ma­tion, however, on how the product behaves in rela­tion to seasonal weath­ering and temper­a­ture changes. A product with the protec­tion class IPX4, for example, is only exposed to spray water for 5 minutes at room temper­a­ture. In reality, the product will put in 40,000 oper­ating hours in a range of very different envi­ron­ments and ther­mo­dy­namic cycles. Relying on the IP infor­ma­tion alone is there­fore misleading.

It is vital then that our tech­nical customer advisers, acting as the inter­face to the customer, deter­mine precisely what the product will be confronted with in reality. The worst-case scenario is when a product is used and oper­ated outside of its design para­me­ters.

Inter­na­tional Protec­tion Code

IPX4The IP Code indi­cates how well-protected a product is against dust and mois­ture. The posi­tion of the digits symbol­ises the type of ingress. The first digit indi­cates the protec­tion against solid foreign parti­cles (dust), the second against water. The higher the number, the greater the resis­tance.

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