IP Ratings and Drones – Why Do They Matter

Drones fly through the harshest conditions on a regular basis. These drones must have a high Ingress Protection (IP) rating to keep up with their surroundings. ideaForge industry-leading small and micro UAVs have the best IP ratings in their class. They are on track to transform defence support, industrial efficiency and economic growth, no matter what.

Just a sniff of things to come: India’s energy demand is singled out for much higher-growth (than major economies). This energy demand would stand at 11% of total global energy demand by 2040. It’s very important to ensure consistent industrial performance across domains on the back of highly dependable drone support with superior IP-ratings.

What is Ingress Protection in high-tech machinery?

Let’s take a step back. Each machine, as we have experienced in our daily lives, have a natural adherence to external elements like dust and moisture. These external particles penetrate the outer structure of the machine or apparatus to subvert the internal circuitry or functioning.

This penetration or ‘ingress’ compromise the overall performance of the device. The effect of this interference can be from mild to extreme. They might hinder the intended performance (without the ingress) gradually or immediately. In a world where most of the processes are automated and mechanized, these hindrances bring down the overall quality of the output while increasing the speed of the machine’s depreciation.

A company calculates a tangible asset’s ‘useful life’ to calculate the rate of depreciation. This useful life is the length of time the machine or apparatus would ‘ideally’ generate income based on the frequency of use and maintenance protocols.

A lot of the operational efficiency in a company or in public safety applications depends on a simple concept: resources, people and machines performing as they are supposed to, without any unplanned maintenance issues or bottlenecks. This is why Ingress Protection or IP ratings stand as a key differentiator in tech-acquisition. IP ratings suggest the ability of the machine or device to resist external penetration of natural or unnatural elements.

Importance of IP ratings for drones

Just picture the operations within a coal mining plant. On a regular basis, there’s a lot of fumes and particulates in the air. Drones, here, are used for surveying and mapping the terrain with detailed 3D elevation and contour profiling. The drones conduct close surveillance of proceedings, structure and raw materials like fault or change detection, asset inspection, stockpile estimation (respectively), and more.

The same can be seen in all upstream, midstream and downstream activities of the oil and gas industry (as an example). Close examination of a flare stack requires the drones to be sturdy and stable in high-temperature surveillance.

Drones with high endurance and high IP ratings remain consistent in their close inspections and surveys even on windy days with high particulate matter. The same goes with heavy moisture or light rain. The drones function without any compromise whatsoever, continually giving a high-grade of insights and enabling superior analytics.

Drones with high IP ratings help elongate the ‘useful life’ of the assets to increase their overall income-generating tenure, adding to the overall revenues and efficiency/productivity ratios of the company/plant.

Graded IP ratings for drones by IEC

The International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) has standardized these IP ratings. ideaForge drones have IP53 rated ingress protection. Here, the first number in the rating signifies tolerance to dust particles (in line with a wind force). The second number signifies the resistance to water (based on the direction, pressure and extent of exposure to water.

One thing about a high IP rating is that it’s often inversely proportional to the weight (multi-layered structure) of the drone. Sustaining the high-benefits of lightweight drones ‘and’ a high IP-rating is no mean feat. The light-weight drones are totally man-portable. This means that they can be easily taken anywhere and operated right out of a single bag.

This is extremely important where the movement of the operators is conditional to the surroundings. Imagine conducting drone surveillance along the border. The operators can setup the drone for vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) even at a high altitude. Quick deployment and live (consistent) reporting saves lives. Timely drone surveillance can spot insurgents or militants gathering for an ambush a little way down a forest-bracketed road.

High IP rating for drones is the promise of performance

High risk or high impact scenarios for drone flights have business or security stakes pinned on the quality of their live reports. Consider the above mentioned situation where key surveillance with the drones eventually spots suspicious movement in the forest giving the soldiers a heads-up about necessary preparation. The quick and decisive performance of the drone gives a quintessential advantage.

ideaForge drones are designed along military certified high standards. They are equally transformative within border and homeland management activities, as they are in multiple enterprise scenarios. The next part for the drones is to perform at the same level each time.

High IP ratings ensure that the drone will take-off and survey the targeted zones as and when expected (or called on) without any untoward errors or faults. It’s a promise of performance each time the drone takes flight. In time-sensitive and capital-intensive deployments, a drone with a high IP rating would give high survey grade performance over, say, 100 or 1000 flights without any hiccups.

This consistency helps operators, companies and departments to structure their tech-budgets efficiently over a period of time. They know that despite environmental hurdles, the drones would support the activities and give them the much required intel.



June 2022

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