Terms Used in Industry Briefly Explained: Part 2

Continuing in our quest to briefly explain industry terms of which some have origins in the European Union, we’ve provided a descriptive list of frequently used expressions.



REACH stands for Registration, Evaluation, Authorization and Restriction of Chemicals, which is another European Union directive that addresses the potential impact of chemical substances on human health and the environment, as well as how they are produced and used. When REACH is in full force by June 1, 2018, it will require that all companies manufacturing or importing chemical substances into the European Union in magnitudes of one metric ton (1000 kg) or more per year to register their materials with the European Chemicals Agency (ECHA), which is located in Helsinki, Finland.


REACH applies to some materials that are contained in objects. Therefore, any company importing goods into Europe could also be affected. In addition, as with the CE Marking and RoHS, the manufacturer must declare compliance with the REACH directive. 


IP Code 

IP Code stands for International Protection Marking or Ingress Protection Marking and provides the rating and classification of protection provided against various factors such as dust, accidental contact, intrusion of the hands, fingers or other body parts, and water located near electrical enclosures and mechanical casings. It is published by the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC).

  ip code

The letters IP are followed by two digits: The first indicates the rate of protection against solid particles and the second indicates the rate of protection against ingress of liquid. For example, a device with IP65 rating means it is dust tight and there will be no harmful effects of water projected against the enclosure. 


In the United States, typically the NEMA standard is used instead of the IP Code, defined by the National Electrical Manufacturers Association. The NEMA standard is not as comprehensive as the IP Code and the two ratings are not equivalent. On our website at JLC International, you can download a document with an IP vs. NEMA table in an attempt to understand how they differentiate. The manufacturer designs, produces and declares its product to have a certain IP rating, which can be found listed on the spec sheet of the product. 


Intrinsically Safe (I.S.) 

Intrinsically Safe (I.S.) is the protection of a circuit that limits the available electrical energy to nonincendive levels, which still may generate a spark under normal operating conditions, but may not discharge enough energy to cause the eruption of an explosive atmosphere. Often the term Explosion Proof is misused for this term, while Intrinsically Safe is what is meant. 


The limitations on power can cause problems if the device can operate only at power levels that prohibit Intrinsically Safe approval. An Explosion Proof device is designed in such a way that an explosion is contained in the enclosure of the device itself, while escaping gas is allowed to cool and passes through the special pathways to the outside. 


As with Intrinsically Safe devices, the Explosion Proof design is covered by ATEX, FM, CSA, etc. The product will be thoroughly tested by the appropriate bodies before official approval is granted, so it is certainly not done with a conformity statement by the manufacturer. 


*These terms can be found on the devices we distribute, such as dewpoint meters. For further details on the measurement instruments available at JLC International, browse our website.