There’s a vast range of enclosures available for LED lights, aimed at both home and industrial settings. These housings are usually focused on component-specific mounting solutions, attachment methods or additional security features for a particular type of application. Read on to learn more about them.
By Deepshikha Shukla
LED enclosures are frequently sold with ingress protection (IP) ratings, predominantly designed to protect electronics or other sensitive equipment. These are often found affixed to walls via dedicated enclosure-mounting accessories and tend to be adaptable for a wide range of uses. The housing’s construction material and size will depend on the intended environment and application, but they’re commonly rated at IP65 and above for general outdoor use. Outdoor units often come with a range of additional safety features, including tamper-proof housings with strong resistance to corrosion and abrasion.
IP ratings for lights are a key area of consideration in both home and industrial settings. It is important to consider these ratings while planning or installing outdoor lighting setups that are likely to be exposed to particulate or moisture ingress. IP ratings for outdoor lights are key for both the safety and proper functioning of any unit installed where condensation, rain or wind-blown foreign bodies might pose a potential risk.
Ingress protection ratings
Marketing terms such as ‘waterproof’ don’t give precise information about where and to what extent an item can resist moisture ingress. An IP rating is designed to provide far more specific information. The objective of having a universal IP rating system is to make buyers and users confident of how safe it is to use their LED housings in specific environments and applications.
IP ratings specify the environmental protection that the enclosure provides to the equipment against intrusive foreign bodies such as dirt and water. The rating has the letters ‘IP’ followed by two digits. The first digit describes the level of protection against solid bodies. The second digit stands for the protection of the equipment against liquids like water. Figure 1 gives an easy-to-follow chart to help you decide which IP rating is required for your electrical enclosure.
Types of housings
LED wall pack housings: These are wall-mounted and designed for an LED light engine with a die-casting aluminium heat-sink on the back. They have a much higher luminous flux output and efficacy, with reduced heat dissipation for a longer life span and low maintenance. Their durable powder coating finish can withstand extreme climate changes without fading, cracking or peeling.
LED floodlight housings: These heavy duty housings have a superior corrosion-resistant coating finish. They are energy-efficient and cost-effective, specially designed for various locations, including office buildings, monuments, flag poles, trees, schools, playgrounds, parking lots, bridges, gardens, etc. They provide focused light to create powerful illumination over a long range. This makes them perfect for outdoor lighting applications.
LED streetlight housings: These housing fixtures vary from small to large sizes, and are used for LED road lighting applications that consume low and high power. They are extensively used in the main streets of urban and rural areas, residential neighbourhoods, commercial districts, industrial parks, highways and bridges.
LED high bay housings: These are specially designed for taller ceilings and larger areas. They are perfect for commercial and industrial applications such as exhibition halls, big-box retail stores, supermarkets, sporting venues, manufacturing plants, warehouses and storage facilities. They improve visibility and worker safety while enhancing productivity.
LED tower crane light housings: These are used for effective outdoor security lighting. They are specifically designed for harsh environments like construction sites, seaports, etc.
Table 2 defines the various corrosive environments in which lights are fitted. The international standard IEC 62262 (Table 3) relates to the IK ratings of lighting products for streets, roadways, etc. It specifies the level of protection the
enclosures are provided against external mechanical impact.
IK ratings to classify LED street lighting fixtures
IK ratings help to classify the way LED streetlight housings should be tested. They are defined by the impact of kinetic energy and the atmospheric conditions prevalent. They specify the number of times the product faces the impact from various types of hammers designed to produce the kinetic energy levels similar to a collision. The rating also defines the level of energy distribution post-impact, apart from the size, style, materials and dimensions of the housing. IK ratings have the letter ‘IK’ followed by two numeric digits that indicate the degree of protection provided by electrical enclosures against external mechanical impacts.
From the IK and IP ratings as well as the test method, we get to know whether, for instance, the LED streetlight housing fixtures are strong enough for the environment they need to operate in.