It is important that the lighting for your hazardous environment not only provides adequate visibility, but also meets the requirements of the environment. Hazardous ratings such as ingress protection (IP), hazardous classifications, and T-codes help you to understand what environmental factors a luminaire can withstand. Understanding this information can help you make the best lighting decisions for your facility.
Ingress Protection (IP) Ratings
Ingress protection or IP rating refers to a 2-digit number that indicates an items resistance to unwanted intrusion. The standard for ingress protection specific to luminaires falls under IEC 60598. It is important to note that greater IP ratings do not certify any lesser ratings.
Hazardous locations can be made a safe place to work when proper equipment rated for the environment is used. Guidelines and electrical codes provided by NEC/CEC and IEC/CENELEC aid in the proper classification of hazardous areas and appropriate equipment use under such conditions throughout the world.
Each liquid, gas, vapor and dust will have a specific ignition temperature. In order to ensure proper use of luminaires and equipment both the NEC and IEC use temperature ratings called, “T Codes.” NEC Article 500 and 505 indicate that T Code rating of luminaires shall not exceed ignition temperature of the specific gas and vapors encountered in the environment; or shall be less than the ignition temperature of dusts encountered in the environment.
- T-codes are the rating the fixture receives so that the surface temp of the fixture does not reach 80% of the auto ignition temperature of the material present in the space
- T6 code means that when a fixture is installed at or below it’s UL Ambient rating, the fixtures surface temp will not exceed 185F/85C and will not auto-ignite hazardous materials
- Higher T-code number means the luminaire has a lower surface temp and more applications are possibilities for the fixture