North American pump manufacturers and specifiers can benefit from knowledge of European standards.

Pump specifiers and manufacturers in the U.S. are generally familiar with American pump standards, and, to a lesser degree, the processes by which those standards are created. However, entry into the European market brings a far more complex set of processes and organizations that can be bewildering. The purpose of this article is to explain the European pump standards and processes and to familiarize American readers with the different groups and associations that are involved.

In North America, pump companies directly become members of the Hydraulic Institute (HI). This is not the case with European pump companies. In Europe, pump companies become members of a national association—such as Verband Deutscher Maschinen und Anlagenbau – German Association of Machinery and Plant Engineering (VDMA), British Pump Manufacturer’s Association (BPMA) and Profluid—on a voluntary basis. The national pump associations may become members of EUROPUMP. For example, the U.K. member of EUROPUMP is the BPMA, and in Denmark it is Association of Danish Pump Manufacturers (DK Pumps). In both cases, the groups represent only the national pump manufacturers.

However, in some instances, a EUROPUMP member is the pump sector of a general umbrella association that represents a wide span of companies in the industry. In Germany, this is the pump section of the VDMA. In Switzerland, it is the pump section of Verband der Schweizerischen Maschinen, Elektro, und Metallindustrie – Swiss Association of Mechanical and Electrical Engineering Industries (SWISSMEM).

These economic associations are independent of the national standardization bodies—such as British Standards Institute (BSI), Deutsches Institut für Normung – German Institute for Standardization (DIN), Schweizerische Normen-Vereinigung – Swiss Standards Organization (SNV), or Association Française de Normalisation – French Association for Standardization (AFNOR).

The Standards

The primary standards organizations dealing with pumps in the U.S., Europe and the world are discussed in this section.


American National Standards Institute (ANSI) is a private non-profit organization that oversees the development of voluntary consensus standards for the U.S. ANSI also coordinates U.S. standards with international standards. In general, pump standards in the U.S. are written by HI and published as HI/ANSI documents.


European Committee for Standardization (CEN) is a non-profit organization that encompasses two major aspects. First, it is the organization for the many European standards organizations that are responsible for European Norm (EN) standards. The national standardization bodies of European Union (EU) member states have to be a member of CEN. National standards that cover a given subject must be withdrawn when a CEN standard covering the same subject becomes available. The second is that CEN supports the European Commission by preparing so-called harmonized EN standards. Applying those harmonized standards enables a manufacturer to claim the fulfillment of the EU (formerly European Community—EC) directives or EU regulations.

Non-EU member states cannot become members of CEN. Membership is only allowed for EU and EFTA members.

Pump standards are published via CEN/TC 197, which secretariat is held by AFNOR (France). By means of the “Vienna Agreement,” a parallel standards procedure for CEN and ISO has been established.

The section of CEN that relates directly to pumps is Technical Committee (TC) 197. TC 197 is currently divided into working groups. At the present time, three working groups are active. These are:

  • WG1 – Circulators (Secretariat: Danish Standards Foundation, Denmark)
  • WG2 – Water Pumps (Secretariat: DIN, Germany)
  • WG3 – Packings (Secretariat: DIN, Germany)


The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) is an international standard setting body. Its membership is composed of representatives from national standards organizations. Headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland, ISO was founded in 1947 and promotes worldwide proprietary industrial and commercial standards. Note that other standards organizations develop and issue standards of international significance in specific sectors—such as the HI and the American Petroleum Institute (API).

The section of ISO that relates directly to pumps is TC 115. TC 115 is presently divided into three subcommittees, each of which deals with a different aspect, similar to CEN. These are:

  • SC1 – Dimensions and Technical Specifications of Pumps (Secretariat: BSI, U.K.)
  • SC2 – Methods of Testing (Secretariat: DIN, Germany)
  • SC3 – Installation and Special Application (Secretariat: ANSI/HI, U.S.)

The standards writing process for CEN consists of nine steps, and for ISO it consists of five steps. The maximum allowable time is 36 months, but in practice, this goal is rarely met, and standards take a considerably longer period of time.

Besides the official standardization body—such as BSI, DIN or AFNOR—each European country has one or more national standard setting organizations that generally do not belong to either ISO or CEN. Standards issued by those organizations are usually applied in the country in which they have been developed. Standards by the official national standard organizations will only be published if no CEN or ISO standard exists. In all cases, CEN/ISO standards supersede national standards regarding the same subject.

The Development Process

The standards development process is significantly different in Europe than in the U.S. One of the key differences between the U.S. and Europe that is not well understood by the U.S. pump industry relates to the pump associations themselves. In the U.S., the organization that writes (and publishes) pump standards is HI. Some of the standards (or guidelines) may be published as ANSI documents or some as strictly HI documents. On the European side, it is very important to note that EUROPUMP is not a standards writing or publishing organization. The entire pump standards writing process in Europe is performed by CEN or ISO, not by EUROPUMP.

Standards that affect technical specifications are the responsibility of the TCs of CEN and/or ISO. For any case in which five member organizations request technical support, a CEN or ISO standard will be written by the nominated stakeholders and later voted on by the member organizations of CEN or ISO.

In the case of so-called harmonized standards, the final document is the result of a slightly different process. Regulatory standards legislation is instituted on general terms by the European parliament, equivalent to the U.S. Congress. Depending on the subject, the EC (equivalent to one of the U.S. cabinet departments and divided into several Directorates General—DG) will define the mandate for the standard. The writing of the standard itself will be under the directive of CEN.

The actual work involved in writing the standard is completed by one of the TCs (for pumps, TC 197). In contrast to the development of common technical standards, one of the stakeholders in this process is mainly the EC assisted by non-governmental organizations (NGOs) or other interested parties. Different EUROPUMP members will be involved via national standardization bodies in which representatives from manufacturer companies are active in parallel to their participation within EUROPUMP and its member associations.

When the draft standard is completed, it will be sent to CEN for evaluation. In the case of harmonized standards, CEN needs then to determine if the draft standard fulfills the mandate of the EC.

Nominated CEN consultants who CEN hires for this task makes this determination. These consultants are familiar with the processes and procedures but not necessarily with the product itself. A significant amount of time and effort can be expended to bring the standard to a level that satisfies the EC mandate and is generally acceptable to all parties and stakeholders. In parallel with this effort, the normal voting procedure takes place.

Once the standard has been written and approved, CEN will publish a document (EN standard or CEN report). This document will then be a national standard (individual language) by the national standardization organizations (for example, DIN EN for the German language version).

The ISO process is similar to the CEN process, although consultants are not used. However, one additional specific process must be mentioned. Under the Vienna Agreement, CEN and ISO can develop standards in parallel. These standards are technically identical and are published as ISO and EN ISO, whereby the EN ISO will also be published as a national standard (for example, as a DIN EN ISO for the German translation).

EU Directives and Regulations

The harmonized standards published by CEN are a tool used to implement the requirements of the EU directives and regulations. The EU directives and regulations have the status of a European law.

EU directives/regulations automatically become applicable throughout the EU when they are completed, but a transition period is allowed. The directive/regulation becomes applicable in a particular country when the government of that country formally adopts it. However, if a member state does not meet this date, a penalty may be issued by the EC. Because of this, formal adoption by individual governments is routine in most instances.

A somewhat different procedure is followed when dealing with the Eco Design directive, which relates to product efficiency. This directive is a called a Frame Directive, which only specifies the targets. In this case, the target is “the saving of energy.” The realization of this legal requirement is met through implementing measures that are legally issued as EU regulations. EU regulations become applicable on the day they are published in the official journal. At this time, they will be applied in all EU member states.

Upcoming Regulations

The following European pump regulations are currently in the process of being implemented and/or developed and will be featured in depth in a future article in Pumps & Systems:

  • Lot 11—This standard affects water pumps (in commercial buildings), drinking water pumping, food industry, agriculture and circulators (stand alone or integrated into products). The first set of energy efficiency requirements went into effect in January 2013 and the second (more stringent) energy requirements will go into effect in 2015.
  • Lot 28—This standard regards pumps (extended product approach including motors, variable speed drives (VSDs) and controls, where appropriate) for private and public wastewater (including all stages and also includes buildings, networks and treatment facilities) and for fluids with high solids content. The planned completion is in 2015 with the first set of energy efficiency requirements going into effect in 2017.
  • Lot 29—This standard affects pumps (extended product approach including motors, VSD and controls, where appropriate) for private and public swimming pools, ponds, fountains and aquariums. It also includes clean water pumps larger than those regulated under lot 11. The planned completion is in 2015 with the first set of energy efficiency requirements going into effect in 2017.