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Pressure Equipment Directive

Where equipment is being placed on the market in Europe that has a positive pressure that is greater than 0.5 bar, then Pressure Equipment Directive must be considered. The Directive, usually shortened to ‘PED’ came into force in 1999 and applies to arrange of equipment under pressure, however not all pressure equipment can be CE marked.

The Directive 97/23/EC is due to be replaced by the new PED (2014/68/EU) in two stages, first the rules associated with classification (Article 13) will enter into force on the 1st June 2015 and the remainder of the Directive will enter into force on the 19th July 2016.

The Directive applies to the design, manufacture and conformity assessment of pressure equipment (which includes vessels, pipes, accessories and safety components) and assemblies of such equipment where the maximum allowable pressure is greater than 0.5 bar. As I am sure that you can imagine, as the pressure and volume increase, so does the risks associated with the equipment or assembly. The Pressure Equipment Directive deals with this by setting five categories of equipment; SEP, I, II, III & IV (The higher the pressure and volume, then higher the category). CE marking only applies to categories I to IV, where SEP (standing for ‘Sound Engineering Practice’) cannot be CE Marked under PED and purely requires the manufacturer to use common sense.

Classification of the Pressure Equipment

To establish which category applies to the equipment, the manufacturer must use the charts 1 to 9 given within the Directive to plot the pressure against the volume of a vessel or against the diameter of a pipe. Where the manufacturer has an assembly of pressure equipment, each individual section of the system has to be reviewed against the relevant charts and then the high category will then dictate the route to conformity. One exception to using the charts is for safety components/accessories; which are automatically classified as category IV equipment. This is, however, only when they are being placed on the market by themselves. Where a safety component is incorporated into a larger assembly, then the classification of this component is changed to the highest category of the other parts of the system. To use the charts, you must have some basic information available;

  • whether the equipment is handling a liquid or a gas
  • whether the fluid is Group 1 (a dangerous substance that is either; explosive, flammable, toxic or oxidising) or Group 2 (fluids not in group 1 and steam).
  • to know the maximum allowable pressure
  • the volume of the vessel or the diameter of the pipe

This information will then allow you select the appropriate chart and category. An example using chart 9 could be a pipe with a diameter of 350DN handling water at 50 bar would be need to be CE Marked as category I equipment.


The Directive also contains some exclusions (within article 1, paragraph 3 of the Directive). The most significant one is where the equipment or assemblies are classified as being no higher than category I and they also fall within scope of the Machinery, Lifts, Low Voltage, Medical Devices, Gas Appliances or ATEX Directives, then they are excluded from PED.

Conformity Procedures

The conformity procedures are based upon the category of the equipment or assembly. Categories SEP and I can be undertaken by the manufacturer as a self-declaration route (although only category I can be CE marked under PED) and categories II, III & IV require the involvement of a Notified Body. The Directive sets out a range modules for the manufacturer to choose and the conformity requirements are given within each of these modules.

How we can help

The CE Marking Association can assist manufacturers with CE Marking their pressure equipment, below are a range services that we can offer:

  • Identification of the classification and route to conformity for pressure equipment
  • Assist you with determining the conformity of the pressure equipment
  • Provide in-company training on the Pressure Equipment Directive

For more support on CE Marking under the Pressure Equipment Directive, or to find out how we can help you, please call us on 01564 792349, or please complete our online enquiry form.