Whether precision measurements need to be taken in extreme temperatures, areas with vibration, noise, or even underwater, there is a sensor that is built for it. Many applications expose sensors to dust or moisture, but sealing is intended to protect the units from these harmful substances. If you’re wondering which sensor seal rating is needed in your application, here are three questions to ask yourself in order to figure it out.
1. Does the environment contain dust?
Sealing is determined by an IP rating that includes two numbers. The first number indicates the level of protection against solid objects, namely, dust. Many OEM, industrial or geotechnical environments will contain particles of dust in the air that could penetrate the sensor’s enclosure. If this is a concern in your application, an IP rating with a 6 is the best option. All force-balanced and MEMS inclinometers and accelerometers have this rating as well as the 700, 750, 850, and 875 electrolytic tiltmeter series.
2. Will there be moisture around the sensor?
The second number in the IP rating code indicates resistance to outside liquid. If there is occasional moisture such as rain or splashes of water, a rating of at least IP65 will be required. All force-balanced and MEMS inclinometers and accelerometers as well as the 700, 750, 850 and 875 electrolytic tiltmeter series have at least a rating of IP65.
3. Will the sensor need to be submerged for a period of time?
If the sensor will be submerged between 15cm and 1m for a brief period of time, a seal rating of at least IP67 is necessary. Most MEMS inclinometers and accelerometers have this capability as well as the 875 Mini MEMS Tuff Tilt.
For monitoring a bridge or an offshore oil rig, the sensor will need to be deeper than 1m, permanently. In these cases, an enclosure, with at least an IP68 rating, will need to insulate the internal electronics from the elements. The 820 Shallow Water series is rated to be submersible to 50m, but for depths greater than that, the 802 DeepWater is rated to 2,500m.