Prospective buyers of automotive lighting have no doubt seen IP ratings on product packaging or in each light’s supporting marketing material online or in store, but what is IP?
IP stands for Ingress Protection, and when purchasing lighting – whether for a car, truck, caravan, boat, construction/agricultural vehicle, or for the workshop – Narva says consumers should ensure that the IP rating is the right one for the job.
As can be seen from the chart (below), an IP rating comprises the letters IP and two numerals, for example, IP68. The first of the numbers relates to the level of protection the light offers against particle ingress – the higher this number, the better the protection. In the case of the IP68 example, the light’s construction and housing provides the internal components an extremely high level of protection and is dust tight. Ideally, if the light will be exposed to natural elements or used in a garage or workshop environment, Narva says buyers should opt for this first IP number to be 5 or 6 to ensure it’s up to the task.
The second digit is as important and refers to the level of liquid ingress protection the light has. Again, using IP68 as the example and referencing the 8 on the chart, you’ll see that this light is effectively waterproof (immersible) to a level of one metre.
You might think that this level of protection is overkill for inspection lamps or workshop use, but it’s added peace of mind knowing they will perform even if they are dropped and forgotten behind a dusty workbench or accidentally left outside in rainy weather for a few days.
For other product types and applications, a high IP rating is important. Driving lamps or light bars, especially if fitted to competition off-road vehicles or even for recreational four-wheel-drive applications, are bound to experience plenty of dust, mud and water.
Narva said its range of driving lamps and light bars benefit from high IP ratings. For example, Narva’s Explora LED lightbar range is fully sealed to IP68 or IP69K standards, which ensures they perform in the toughest conditions. The 9K measure is the most stringent available and means the equipment is also protected against close-range high pressure and high temperature spray downs.
To accurately test and certify that its lights meet the indicated IP rating, Narva undertakes a wide testing program, including real world testing. Along with being pitted against the environment in demanding outdoor settings, at its Melbourne facility, Narva operates an extensive on-site environmental laboratory where testing takes place and sees pre-production lighting products running a gauntlet of rigorous testing.
The on-site testing regime includes a dust chamber, thermal shock chamber, submersion tank, rain chamber and climate chamber which are able to replicate extreme conditions that the lights are unlikely to ever be exposed to, even in Australia’s most extreme conditions.
Narva’s parent company, Brown and Watson International, is accredited to ISO9001, which means Narva consistently provides products and services meeting customer and regulatory requirements.