Why is the IP rating of your beacons important?
Obstacle warning beacons are equipment designed to operate with high reliability, as the safety of aircraft depends on their proper functioning. Its goal is to attract the attention of pilots in order to avoid collisions with tall structures, buildings, chimneys, etc.
Extreme Temperature Variation Proof Beacons
The ICAO (International Civil Aviation Organisation) regulations and the developments of these regulations in many countries around the world require the installation of luminous beacons to mark obstacles in places with extremely different weather conditions..
From torrid deserts with extremely dry environments and very high temperatures during the day and very low temperatures at night, to wind turbines installed at sea, with maximum humidity and the possibility of torrential rain or salt spray, to mountainous locations where the equipment has to withstand snow and ice for long periods of time.
Given the extraordinary disparity of meteorological phenomena, it is essential that the beacons can withstand extreme variations in ambient temperature, as well as being watertight against the possibility of dust and/or water entering inside (also taking into account the phenomena of expansion and contraction due to the different temperatures) and continue to operate without problems.
For this reason, it is necessary to design the equipment in such a way as to take all these factors into account, thus offering maximum reliability in any situation. It is therefore essential that the degree of tightness in any of the above-mentioned situations is as high as possible.
IP ratings that guarantee quality and reliability
In this sense, we can see that there are beacons on the market with different “IP classifications”, and it is advisable to purchase those with a higher classification, , as they offer a greater guarantee of quality and reliability..
What is the “IP Classification”?
In order to know the meaning of the IP classification on the watertightness of this equipment, we are going to see a brief description of the meaning of each one of the levels:
IP (or “Ingress Protection”) ratings are defined in the international standard EN 60529 (British BS EN 60529: 1992, European IEC 60509: 1989). They define different levels of sealing effectiveness of electronic equipment against the intrusion of foreign bodies (tools, dirt, etc.) and moisture, in a standardised way.
Meaning of the numbers in an IP rating
The numbers following IP have a specific meaning. The first digit indicates the degree of protection of moving parts as well as the protection of enclosed equipment against foreign bodies. The second digit defines thelevel of protection of the enclosure from various forms of moisture (droplets, aerosols, immersion, etc.).
First digit (protection against intrusion)
Normally beacons have an IPXX rating. The first digit (e.g. 6) is the usual digit on these devices and means the highest degree of protection, as this scale goes from 1 to 6.
The number 6 as the first digit after IP means the beacon is completely sealed against dust and other particles, which must be tested against a continuous flow of air.
Below 6 will depend on if it has protection against solid objects of different ms in diameter from 80 mm to 1 mm.
Second digit (protection against humidity)
0 ó X: No protection against humidity.
1: Protection against vertically falling drops such as condensation. Not suitable for beacons.
2: Protection against water drops deflected up to 15° from the vertical. Not suitable for beacons.
3: Protection against spray up to 60° from vertical. Not suitable for beacons.
4: Protection against splashing water from all directions. This has tested during a minimum of 10 minutes with a spray. Some beacons offer this level of protection which we do not believe is sufficient in high quality equipment.
5: Protection against low pressure jets (6.3 mm) of water directed from any angle. From this level of protection it is assumed that the beacon is adequately sealed.
6: Protection against direct high pressure jets. This is a high degree of protection for this type of equipment.
7: Protection against total immersion for up to 30 minutes at depths between 15 cm and 1 metre. It is only necessary for beacons that must be capable of being immersed in water or other liquids.
8: Protection against prolonged immersion under higher pressure (i.e. deeper depths).
9: Protection against high-pressure and high-temperature jet sprays, washing or steam cleaning procedures.
IP suitable for beacons in all weather conditions
In summary, we can understand that the following IP ratings are suitable for the correct operation of beacons in all weather conditions, excluding explosive environments, where other specific types of sealing are required.
Dust-tight and protected against sprayed water. Suitable for ground environment.
Dust-tight equipment and protected against powerful jets of water. This is suitable for terrestrial environment.
Dust-tight and protected against immersion for 30 minutes at depths of 150 mm – 1000 mm. Suitable for marine environments.
Dust-tight and protected against complete and continuous immersion in water. Suitable for marine environments.