Impact protection (IK) values explained

Compliance Engineering Pty Ltd

Thursday, 23 February, 2023

Impact protection (IK) values explained

When specifying enclosures for electrical equipment, you want to ensure that they are high quality and long-lasting.

Since customers rely on this endurance, you want your products to function well in any environment — no matter how harsh it is. To provide the durability you need, such enclosures have to go through performance tests. One of these performance tests is impact protection, commonly known as IK testing.

What is IK and, by extension, what are IK values? Continue reading to find out more about this topic.

What are IK values and what are they used for?

The initials ‘IK’ stand for impact protection. Impact protection is expressed in IK value, a metric used in LED and other metallic casings to describe how well an enclosure is protected against mechanical impact. In this case, the ‘K’ stands for kinetic energy, which is energy in motion. The K is used to differentiate from IP rating.

In other words, IK values are used to show how resistant an enclosure is when subjected to an external force. IK ratings are indicated with an IK and a number following it. This number could be anything from 0 to 10. The higher the number, the better protection an electrical enclosure provides against external mechanical impacts.

What do IK rating numbers mean?

As mentioned before, IK rating values range from 0 to 10. The higher the number, the more energy impact a product can handle. Consequently, the more robust it is against kinetic energy.

Here are IK ratings and their meanings:

  • IK 00 – No impact resistance
  • IK 01 – 0.15 J shock resistance
  • IK 02 – 0.2 J shock resistance (This is standard resistance from typical open fixture/housing)
  • IK 03 – 0.35 J shock resistance (Typically found in closed fixtures/housing with polymethacrylate shield)
  • IK 04 – 0.5 J shock resistance
  • IK 05 – 0.7 J shock resistance (Found in open fixtures that have reinforced optics)
  • IK 06 – 1 J shock resistance
  • IK 07– 2 J shock resistance (reinforced)
  • IK 08 – 5 J shock resistance (Found in closed fixtures that have a glass or polycarbonate cover to protect against vandalism)
  • IK 09 – 10 J shock resistance
  • IK 10 – 20 J shock resistance (These ones have a Superior quality mark and are used in vandal-resistant closed fixtures)

Why are IK values important?

IK values are important for a number of reasons, including:

1) Indicate impact protection levels

While most technology is used in housing and other safe environments, some are fitted in harsh areas that could be subject to rough impacts and attempted vandalism. These areas can include busy commercial settings, public spaces and other vulnerable areas.

In such a case, users need a robust product that can maintain safety at a higher impact. As a product manufacturer, you need the right kind of impact protection available for your target market, since each application varies in terms of IK classification.

2) IK ratings affect the life of the light source

IK ratings are an important factor to consider when buying technology. This is not just because people want something strong for harsher environments, but because that could make a difference in the life of their equipment. A product’s functionality may be compromised or lost entirely when damaged.

3) Better ratings mean little to low maintenance

When a product is rated high on the IK rating scale, customers feel at ease. That’s because they won’t deal with damages that result in higher costs for maintenance or replacement. Lastly, it means that they don’t need to restrict access to certain sections because of the fear of damaging equipment.

Compliance Engineering is an accredited and definitive source for all of your electromagnetic compatibility (EMC) requirements, including: product certification (RCM, CE, automotive, military and railway), product safety testing, environmental testing (temperature and humidity, vibration and shock, and ingress protection), RF interference (RFI), RF hazard (EMR), RF shielded enclosures (Faraday cages), RF absorber (RAM) and EMC filters.

Image credit: Compliance Engineering

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