Publication of the main European pressure equipment standards in May 2002 coincided with the end of the transition period for introduction of the Pressure Equipment Directive. This comprehensive series of standards, replacing the many former national standards in Europe, extends to some 300 standards and another 600 supporting standards. Completing the program and further developing these standards continues to involve extensive collaborative effort, selecting the best practices from the enlarged European Union and elsewhere in the world. Account is being taken of technical and commercial considerations, design by analysis techniques, and best practices in permanent joining, non-destructive testing and materials manufacture. In addition, research work has been carried out to justify or confirm radical approaches to the entire process of design, manufacture, installation and operation of pressure equipment. This paper updates the further progress with some of the standards, in particular in relation to the use of aluminium and cast iron materials in pressure vessels, test pressures, further developments in the use of design techniques, and aspects of creep design. Mention is also made of the ways in which practical experience is being fed back into the standards-making processes to ensure that economic aspects continue to be balanced with safety considerations within an overall structured intellectual framework.

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