Pepperl+Fuchs Blog

Do Inductive Sensors Work When Exposed to Water?

Posted by David Rubinski on Fri, Sep 20, 2013

The simple answer is yes, many of our inductive sensors will work when exposed to wet environments.

Inductive sensors for wet environments
Many of our inductive proximity sensors have an IP rating of IP67 or IP68. But what does that mean?

The IP (ingress protection) rating is a standardized test method to determine the product's protection against contact, the intrusion of foreign materials, and the ingress of liquids.

To understand the protection level of sensors working in an environment exposed to liquids such as water, we look at the second digit of a specific the IP rating, for instance IP6x. The most common IP ratings for sensors used in in submersed water locations would be IP67, IP68, and IP69K

In brief, the IP rating test verifies the sensor performance under a standard test condition.

IP67 tests that a sensor is protected against immersion in water:

  • One meter of water for 30 minutes at room temperature

IP68 tests that a sensor is protected against immersion in water:

  • One meter of water for 24 hours, with cyclical operation at room temperature

IP69K tests that a sensor is protected against high-pressure water jet/force:

  • Water jet spray of 1450 psi and temperatures up to 80 °C from various angles

Using this information, we can best pick a sensor that is designed to survive water exposure or even limited underwater operation. The better test for water exposure is the combination of IP68 + IP69K test. This combines the submersion test with the water pressure test to qualify the design against water entering the sensor housing under more extreme cases. The IP68 test qualifies the sensor for indefinite immersion in one meter of water. Take note, however, that as the water depth increases the water pressure on the sensor surface also increases. This is one factor that limits usable underwater depth. Since all of our sensors are 100% resin filled, which protects the internal components, they will have the ability to survive water resistance under varying circumstances for longer periods.

Another measure of our abilities in water-exposed sensor environments is our experience with products that survive in very difficult environments such as outdoor amusement parks and on mobile equipment. These sensors are exposed to weather extremes including repeating seasons of sun, heat, rain storms, and winter freezing. These weather extremes present an even tougher environment than underwater operation at a fixed depth and constant temperature environments. Designed with these types of applications in mind, our sensors provide the toughness and versatility you need on these types of applications.

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Topics: Inductive Sensors

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