Staying Connected - October 2011

Ingress Protection and Medical Cables

IEC 60529 Establishes and defines standards
for Ingress Protection of electrical devices

It is often desirable and sometimes necessary to require protection against the intrusion of foreign objects, dust, or water into medical devices, including cables and connectors.  A method to clarify degrees of protection is provided by the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) standard 60529.  Titled “Degrees of protection provided by enclosures,” it is commonly referred to as the Ingress Protection or “IP” Code.

Ingress protection is most often thought to mean protection against ingress of water or moisture.  While moisture protection is one of the levels of ingress protection, keeping solid objects, such as a finger or tool, out of a device or connector is a significant part of the standard.

IEC 60529

IEC 60529, second edition is but one of many standards adopted by the International Electrotechnical Commission.  This standard defines degrees of ingress protection for enclosures including:

  • protection of persons against access to hazardous parts inside the enclosure
  • protection of the equipment inside the enclosure against ingress of solid foreign objects
  • protection of the equipment inside the enclosure against harmful effects due to the ingress of water

The standard offers designations for these degrees of protection, requirements for each designation and tests to be performed to confirm that the enclosure meets the requirements of the standard.
IEC 60529 only addresses ingress and is therefore often used in conjunction with NEMA 250 when it relates to enclosures.  It is also important to understand that IEC 60529 specifically addresses “harmful” ingress, whether it is by a solid or liquid.

The Ingress Protection Rating

Example of printed IP rating
on medical device

The Ingress Protection Rating is more commonly referred to as the IP code.  The IP code as defined in IEC 60529 pertains to the broad category of electrical enclosures.  An electrical enclosure may be an electric or electronic device, an electrical component, or as related to products that Affinity manufactures, a medical connector or cable assembly.  The IP code should not be confused with the term IP address, used in data communications.

IP ratings are generally presented as two digits; the first digit refers to protection against ingress by solid objects and the second digit refers to protection against ingress by moisture or water.

For protection against solid objects level 2 is designed to prevent fingers or similar sized objects from accidentally touching hazardous components, such as electrical contacts.  Level 4 protection prevents contact by objects 1mm or greater and is often referred to as “tool-proof.”  Levels 5 and 6 offer dust protection, and level 6 provides complete protection against solid objects such as fine dust.

The second digit of the IP rating refers to protection of the device against harmful ingress of water or moisture.    Level 4 protection will prevent water splashed onto the enclosure from any direction from causing harm.  A device with level 4 water protection should withstand cleaning with liquids except for submersion.  It is important to understand that an IP rating does not indicate materials are able to withstand various cleaning solutions; only that moisture from those solutions will not enter the device in an amount to be harmful.

The IP Rating Code Table

Solid Ingress Liquid Ingress

Protected against



Protected against




No protection



No protection


> 50mm

Protection against accidental contact by hand


Dripping water

Water dripping vertically will not cause harm


> 12.5mm

Protection against accidental contact by finger


Dripping water when tilted up to 15°

Water dripping vertically will not cause harm when the devices is tilted up to 15°


> 2.5mm

Protection against accidental contact by most tools


Spraying water

Water sprayed at an angle up to 60° from vertical shall not cause harm


> 1mm

Protection against accidental contact by small tools and wires


Splashing water

Water splashed from any direction shall not cause harm


Dust protected

Complete protection against moving parts and protection against harmful deposits of dust


Water jets

Protection against low pressure water jets from all directions snall not cause harm


Dust tight

Protection against penetration of dust


Powerful water jets

Protection against direct spray from all directions shall not cause harm



Submersion to 1 meter

No harmful ingress of water when submersed up to 30 minutes


Submersion beyond 1 meter

No harmful ingress of water with conditions specified by the manufacturer

Recessed pins meet DIN 42-802
touch-proof standard

Ingress Protection vs. Touch Proof

For medical cable assemblies and connectors, ingress protection for solid objects and a touch proof design are similar, but have slightly different design goals.  DIN 42-802 details the design of touch proof plugs and receptacles while IEC 60529 establishes degrees of protection, leaving the design undefined.

DIN 42-802 achieves a touch-proof design by establishing overall dimensions and a 1.5mm set-back for plugs and a 1mm set-back for receptacles.  The DIN standard goes beyond safety in attempting to establish interchangeability between manufacturers.

Inner mold provides protection against
ingress of liquids or moisture

Achieving Ingress Protection for Liquids

Protection against harmful ingress by liquids or moisture is not difficult to achieve when addressed early in the design stage.  Protection is commonly achieved by molding thermoplastic material over other components.  When done properly, a high level of ingress protection is achieved without adding cost to the product.

Many medical connectors consist of insulators with pins or sockets inserted into hard plastic.  When overmolded with common thermoplastic materials, the assembly achieves a high degree of protection against harmful ingress by liquids.  Providing the same degree of ingress protection when mated to another connector requires additional engineering and design considerations.

A common method to achieve a high degree of ingress protection between two connectors is for one side to be made of a hard material and the opposite side to be made of a softer material.  The size and geometry of the softer material is designed so that it must be stretched over the mating component providing a seal against moisture ingress.

IP67 connector system showing
groves in plastic receptacle and
soft outer TPR plug

To achieve a tight, waterproof fit, tooling is designed so that when first fabricated the fit of one component over the other is too loose, offering little ingress protection.  This tool-safe method requires subsequent machining to remove material from the mold for the outer component.  Each time material is removed from the tool, the fit of the molded part becomes tighter until the desired feel and level of ingress protection is achieved.

To achieve an IP X6 or IP X7 rating and maintain reasonable mate and un-mate force, ribs designed to fit into groves in the receptacle are often employed.

Affinity uses third-party lab for
ingress testing

IP Testing

While Affinity has a well equipped test lab, ingress testing is contracted out to a third-party test lab with appropriate accreditations.   


The need for ingress protection and the level of protection desired or required are elements that should be addressed early in the design phase of medical connectors or cable assemblies.  Affinity has experience and expertise in designing and manufacturing devices which meet our OEM partner’s ingress protection requirements.  If you would like to discuss ingress protection and how it relates to your cable or connector project, contact the Affinity engineering team.

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Meet Cesar Jara – Customer Care Coordinator


Cesar’s first job was working for a Hawaiian barbecue restaurant where he was a prep cook.  About six months later, he started working for CompUSA as a cashier.  Shortly after that he was promoted to Customer Service Representative but then lost his job when the CompUsa went out of business.  His next position was with an outdoor advertising and sign company where he started as an Assistant Project Coordinator.  Within a few months, he was promoted, but not long after that his position was eliminated when that company had to downsize due to the recession.

Cesar was recommended to Affinity by the owner of the sign company he had been working for.  After an extensive interview process, Cesar accepted a position with Affinity and started in July, 2009 as a Customer Care Coordinator.

“We interviewed a lot of good people for the Customer Care Coordinator position and are very happy that we chose Cesar.  Cesar is young, has a lot of energy and is enthusiastic about everything he does,” said Affinity Business Development Manager, Hank Mancini. 

Cesar at his desk entering
a customer order

After two years with Affinity, Cesar said “Every day is still an adventure because every project and every customer is unique.  I have learned a lot in the past two years and am continuing to learn, especially the technical aspects of our products.  Working at Affinity it doesn’t feel like work: it feels just like home,” Cesar said.  “Everyone is helpful and supportive, especially my amazing supervisor Candy Golding.”

When asked what his biggest challenge is, Cesar says “The biggest challenge now is the volume of the work, especially quoting new projects.  It takes many hours to properly understand a customer’s requirements and often involves researching materials and components.  Meeting our OEM customers deadlines is a challenge, but one that I enjoy!”

Caesar said he has always been interested in horses and riding, but it was only earlier this year that he was able to buy a horse.  Cesar keeps his horse, Titus, in nearby Whittier and rides him every week. 

Cesar gets a thrill riding a bull

Earlier this year, one of Cesar’s close friends introduced him to Charreada, which is a competitive event similar to an American rodeo.  Curiosity led him to take up Jineteo de Toro or Bull Riding.  Asked if he was afraid, Cesar said, “Once I put on my spurs and gloves, excitement takes over and I am not afraid.  The only thing I have on my mind is to stay on the bull until it stops bucking.  It is so intense that I don’t even hear the people yelling.  Once the bull stops the idea is to jump off and get as far away from it as possible.  It’s like you are running for your life.”
Cesar also enjoys paintball, snowboarding and going to the driving range to hit golf balls.  His idea of a great weekend is “to have no worries, no stress and to not have a lot of yard work to do!”

Cesar also does volunteer work as a Chaplain for the State of California.  He volunteers for both the Los Angeles County Sherriff’s Department and the Los Angeles County Probation Department where he works with men and teenagers who have had problems.  “I try to be a role model and have a positive influence in their lives” said Cesar.  “One of the greatest challenges is helping them change old habits and realize that their life is full of potential and opportunities.”

Cesar lives in Diamond Bar with his father, mother, two sisters and one of his brothers.  He has a younger brother in the U.S. Air Force who is stationed in Okinawa, Japan.

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Visit Affinity at MEDICA 2011

Once again, Affinity Medical Technologies will be exhibiting at MEDICA – World Forum for Medicine, in Dusseldorf, Germany.  Medica is the world’s largest medical exhibition and trade fair.  This year the exhibition will run from Wednesday, November 16th through Saturday, November 19th.

The Affinity team at Medica 2010

Attending Medica this year from Affinity will be:

  • Mary Phillipp, President and CEO
  • Bob Frank, Director of Engineering
  • Hank Mancini, Business Development Manager
  • Jim Itkin, OEM Sales Manager
  • Didier Chabault, European Business Development

In addition, Affinity’s new German partner, MPS Terminal joins the Affinity team at Medica:

  • Lorenz Huber, General Manager
  • Roberto Henker, Business Development Manager

Please visit Affinity Medical in our “usual location” in Hall 9, Row C, Stand 74.  If you would like to schedule a meeting in advance, please email to, or

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Announcements, Information and Trivia

Halloween Trivia

Halloween was originally spelled Hallowe’en, a shortened version of All Hallows’ Eve or All Hallows’ Evening.  In the 8th and 9th centuries, Popes Gregory III and Gregory IV tried to replace the pagan festivities known as Samhain with a Christian holiday, by moving All Saints’ Day from May 13th to November 1st.  Haloween means the evening before All Saints’ Day.

The ancient Celts thought that spirits and ghosts roamed the countryside on Halloween night. They began wearing masks and costumes to avoid being recognized as human.

Halloween candy sales top 2 billion annually

In the U.S. Halloween candy sales average over two billion dollars annually

Halloween’s popularity has grown and it is now the second most commercially successful holiday, with Christmas being the first

Bobbing for apples is commonly thought to have originated from the Roman harvest festival that honors Pamona, the goddess of fruit trees.