The pressure is on for safety in coffee machines

It is essential for the safe operation of traditional espresso and B2C coffee machines that everyone understands their responsibilities under the often confusing regulations regarding maintenance of the pressure vessels they have to generate steam.

In the UK, the European Pressure Equipment Directive 97/23/EC is interpreted and presented in the form of Pressure Equipment Regulations.

The direct application of these is through the Pressure Systems Safety Regulations ACT 2000 (SI2000 No 128) PSSR and an Approved Code of Practise in this determines who is legally responsible for any pressure system and how systems should be maintained in a safe condition and operated in a safe manner.

Pressure vessels should be clearly marked with data including test pressure, working and maximum pressure and the manufacturer’s or import agent’s name. The agent is responsible for the certification of the system or vessel and the certification itself must be undertaken by a ‘competent’ engineer who can demonstrate his competence to the standards laid down under PSSR and PED.

Most coffee machine service technicians are not ‘competent’ under the PSSRs, and cannot therefore undertake the annual inspections under a written scheme of examination. It is however most sensible to ensure that during routine service and maintenance all pressure relief and control devices fitted to coffee machine pressure vessels are, at least operating within in their correct tolerances.


To this end Abbeychart is making available a piece of test equipment which will enable technicians to ensure that all pressure and vacuum relief mechanisms are functioning correctly. Furthermore it will enable the correct setting of expansion valves and the referencing of pressure gauges within systems.

Its hand-operated pressure pump can give both positive and negative pressures, and has a fine-tuning capability enabling the accurate lift and re-seat settings to be observed and recorded for both vacuum and positive pressure relief devices. This unit is fitted with a certified reference gauge, fully traceable to UKAS standards, and is supplied with a carrying case together with all necessary adapters. It is supplied complete with operating instructions and a certificate of calibration.

Given the inherent complexities of the regulations surrounding the service and maintenance of boiler and pressure systems Abbeychart is offering advice on how to go about obtaining further information regarding responsibilities and procedures involved in this area.

The company’s Peter Parry-Williams has had many years of experience within the beverage and petrochemical industries, and was been involved in the introduction of the pressure vessels and safety systems codes of practice within brewing.