Who Needs More Than IP66 Domes?

Do you need more than IP66 dome cameras?

A few vendors are offering IP67 and even IP68 domes.

For example, this new Digital Watchdog dome touts it's IP68 rating, and the 'submersible' protection it carries:

Indeed, a quick check of the 'Ingress Protection Code' detailed in ANSI/IEC 60529 break the different ratings down like this:

  • IP66: Test duration: at least 3 minutes, Water volume: 100 litres per minute, Pressure: 100 kPa at distance of 3 m
  • IP67: Test duration: 30 minutes, The lowest point of enclosures with a height less than 850 mm is located 1000 mm below the surface of the water
  • IP68: Test duration: continuous immersion in water, Depth specified by manufacturer, generally up to 3 m

In general, 'outdoor ratings' of IP66 are common because the rating protects against the typical environment of harsh rains and wind driven dirt. Going above IP66 indicates the device can be completely under water at least for a period of time; which is not typical of or needed by surveillance gear.

Our camera finder shows 60 dome cameras claim a higher IP rating than IP66.

The question I am asking: Why? In which application are ratings higher than IP66 important for cameras?

Steam cleaning with high pressure water/bleach jets. Possibly like this here?

Seems to require IP69, but I could be reading it wrong.

Requiring an IP rating above IP66 is likely for specialized environments. However, in the past I've seen cameras installed on ships at some fairly substantial heights. The only way to 'clean' the domes was to use a pressure washer. High-pressure water jets can sneak water into areas that natural weather commonly does not.

Another example is cameras installed on storm chasing vehicles that get direct and powerful impacts of rain from all directions, well above normal weather conditions.

These are two examples I can immediately think of where higher IP ratings may be required. Even above IP68 (IP69K?).

Application specific, chicken plants both in the killing and processing facilities

I just recently posted a query about chemical ingress based on a situation where loose Chlorine foam penetrated an IP66-rated camera and destroyed the seals. So let's add NEMA 4X (or better) to the discussion. Our final solution: Dotworkz' new BASH enclosure ... it's compact and you can even add bulletproof to the list of features!

In the case of corrosion resistance, the 'x' digit in NEMA4X is what denotes that rating... I believe that NEMA3X is also corrosion rated, but is sealed against rain/sleet.

Why NEMA4X and not 3X?

There are numerous applications for ingress protection beyond IP66. These applications typically involve environments where the cameras are exposed to high wind, water and dust prone environments including:

> Highway and bridge monitoring
> Industrial process monitoring (including explosion protected applications)
> Ports and maritime applications

In the past this was done with dome cameras that utilized nitrogen pressurization to provide positive air pressure inside the dome to improve their resistance to ingress by water, dust and other contaminants. Unfortunately nitrogen pressurized domes are not airtight and they will thus leak a certain amount of pressure over time, just like a tire on a car. So just like a tire, you will periodically need to add nitrogen gas to these domes. Typically this is required every 6 months. There are a lot of variables (temperature, outside air pressure, etc.), so this interval can be less.

To make matters worse, these cameras are typically installed in areas that are difficult to reach, thus the cost to maintain these types of cameras tends to be quite high. Bosch offers solutions such as the MIC Ruggedized PTZ Cameras that provide IP68/NEMA 6P ingress protection without pressurization.