What is the Pressure Equipment Directive (PED)?
It is a piece of legislation from the European Union. The Pressure Equipment Directive (97/23/EC) was adopted by the European Parliament and the European Council in May 1997. It initially came into force on 29 November 1999. From 29 May 2002 the PED became obligatory throughout the EU.

What is it for?
The directive provides for an adequate legislative framework on European level for equipment subject to a pressure hazard, together with the directives related to simple pressure vessels (87/404/EC), transportable pressure equipment (99/36/EC) and Aerosol Dispensers (75/324/EEC).

Why is it here?
The directive arises from the European Community's programme for the elimination of technical barriers to trade, and is formulated under the 'New Approach to Technical Harmonization and Standards'. Its purpose is to harmonize national laws of member states regarding the design, manufacture, testing and conformity assessment of pressure equipment and assemblies of pressure equipment. It aims to ensure the free placing on the market and putting into service of the equipment concerned within the EU and the European Economic Area (EEA).
Formulated under the 'New Approach', the directive provides for a flexible regulatory environment that does not impose any detailed technical solution. This approach allows European industry to develop new techniques thereby increasing international competitiveness.

What does it cover?
The directive affects manufacturers of items such as vessels pressurized storage containers, heat exchangers, steam generators, boilers, industrial piping, safety devices and pressure accessories. Such pressure equipment is widely used in the process industries (oil and gas, chemical, pharmaceutical, plastics and rubber and the food and beverage industry), high temperature process industry (glass, paper and board), energy production and in the supply of utilities, heating, air conditioning and gas storage and transportation.

It covers pressure equipment and assemblies with a maximum allowable gauge pressure PS greater than 0.5 bar. Pressure equipment means vessels, piping, safety accessories and pressure accessories. Assemblies means several pieces of pressure equipment assembled to form an integrated, functional whole.

It does not deal with in-use requirements, which may be necessary to ensure the continued safe use of pressure equipment.
Under the community regime of the directive, pressure equipment and assemblies above specified pressure and/or volume thresholds must:

  • be safe
  • meet essential safety requirements covering design, manufacture and testing
  • satisfy appropriate conformity assessment procedures
  • carry the CE mark and other information.

Pressure equipment and assemblies below the specified pressure/volume thresholds must:

  • be safe
  • be designed and manufactured according to sound engineering practice.

What will it do for me?
The introduction of the new legislation related to pressure equipment concerns a large number of industries ranging from small and medium-sized manufacturers to the big chemical industries. Their total European market is estimated at more than €65 billion per year.

Both manufacturers and users will benefit from the new regulatory environment as it will open up markets and, at the same time, facilitate the application of new technologies.

Why do I have to comply?
The UK adoption of the PED is known as the Pressure Equipment Regulations 1999 (SI 1999/2001) or the PER. This piece of legislation came into force on 29 May 2002. If you are manufacturing any item that comes under the PER and do NOT have the CE mark correctly applied, you will be breaking the law and could be fined up to £5,000 for each non-compliant product.

How can using standards help me?
A large and growing number of British Standards have been harmonized under European regulations to allow users a 'presumption of conformity' to the directive. This means that, in many cases, using a relevant standard satisfies most or all of the conformity requirement.

However, there are times where third party testing and/or certification is still required; in those cases, using a harmonized standard as your starting point can save time, effort and money.

Using standards can also help you work better with suppliers and customers, reduce your R&D costs, reduce the risk of liability and improve company performance.

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