The Pressure Equipment Directive (97/23/EC) was adopted by European Parliament and the European Council in 1997 and came into force in 1999.From that time until 29 May 2002 manufacturers had a choice between applying the pressure equipment directive and continuing with the application of the existing national legislation. From 30 May 2002 the pressure equipment directive is obligatory throughout the EU.
The directive provides, together with the directives related to simple pressure vessels (2009/105/EC), transportable pressure equipment (99/36/EC) and Aerosol Dispensers (75/324/EEC), for an adequate legislative framework on European level for equipment subject to a pressure hazard.
The pressure equipment directive concerns 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 & gas, chemical, pharmaceutical, plastics and rubber and the food and beverage industry), high temperature process industry (glass, paper and board), and energy production and in the supply of utilities, heating, air conditioning and gas storage and transportation. An independent evaluation of the Pressure Equipment Directive was performed in 2011-2012. The purpose of the evaluation has been to assess how, and to what extent, the Directive has met its objective of guaranteeing free circulation of stationary pressure equipment within the EU while ensuring a high degree of safety.
In comparison to the previous national regulations, the introduction of the PED has improved the internal market place and industry in general allowing across the board access and a more harmonized frame work.