New test facility in Naples, Italy

Table 1: Pumps within the scope of Regulation 547:2012 EC.

The Hydro Engergy Laboratory

The University of Naples Federico II, one of the oldest universities in the world dating back to 1234, is now investing considerable financial resources in a number of advanced laboratories with a strong industrial vocation. CeSMA is the new department of the university for Advanced Metrological Services. It is located in a new campus where advanced laboratories, small enterprises and engineering courses are hosted to create collaboration and encourage new ideas. 

One of the most advanced laboratories of CeSMA is the Hydro Energy Laboratory (HELab). The laboratory has been established to create a third party laboratory for the qualification and verification of pump performance as required by Directives 2005/32/EC and 2009/125/EC. Therefore, HELab, in its very design and construction, combines the particular characteristics of both an industrial and an academic laboratory.

An external view of CeSMA.

The HELab structure

The new laboratory is structured with a number of measuring lines with a fully automated signal acquisition. Each measuring line is devoted to a specific pump family and range of pump parameters, according to the pump types included in Regulation 547:2012 EC (Table 1). In addition, a specific measuring line is dedicated to submersible pumps to be included in future regulations.

Table 1: Pumps within the scope of Regulation 547:2012 EC



Defined scope




n=1450 min-1

QBEP≥6 m3/h

HBEP≤90 m

6 min-1≤ns≤80 min-1

P2≤150 kW




n=2900 min-1

QBEP≥6 m3/h

HBEP≤140 m

6 min-1≤ns≤80 min-1

P2≤150 kW


n=2900 min-1

QBEP≤ 00 m3/h


n=2900 min-1

4 in and 6 in

The laboratory is equipped with flow meters, pressure cells, level gauges, and temperature gauges. The mechanical pump parameters include rotational speed and mechanical torques. The electrical parameters include adsorbed power, circulating currents and phase angle.

Figure 3 shows an overall view of the laboratory, during a meeting of the technical commission of the Italian Association of Pump Manufacturers (Assopompe) hosted in Naples in 2016

New European standards

In accordance with the modern trend for a sustainable management of environmental resources, EU Directives 2005/32/EC and 2009/125/EC have provided a framework for the regulations applicable to energy-using products and energy-related products. These two standards have had a major impact on the European pump industry and so the technical commission of the European Community, in cooperation with the European Association of Pump Manufacturers (Europump), has prepared Regulation 547:2012 EC and Standard EN 16480, which is now close to publication.

Minimum Efficiency Index

To improve the performance of the pumps on the market and to achieve the reduction of energy use required by the European Community, the technical commission CEN/TC 147 has introduced a new labeling system, comparing the performance of a single pump with that of the other pumps on the market and specifying the minimum efficiency required for a pump to be marketable in Europe. This parameter is the Minimum Efficiency Index (MEI).

Regulation 547:2012 EC specifies the minimum efficiency of a pump, differentiated by pump family and operating conditions, to obtain a target MEI=0.4, representing the minimum value of MEI for the majority of the pumps on the market. The value MEI=0.4 has a clear meaning in terms of marketing: by imposing this target MEI, 40% of the pumps on the market before 2012 can no longer be used commercially. Most pump manufacturers are, therefore, undertaking a new design of their products to provide them with a MEI>0.4.

The Hydro-Energy Laboratory.

The control unit of HELab.

Standard EN 16480 will specify how pumps need to be tested to verify their MEI value in the qualification tests in every aspect ranging from the test methodology to the propagation of errors related to measurement uncertainty and industrial tolerance.

The market outside the EU

We expect that soon all products will be labeled to conform with Regulation 547:2012 EC, and that market surveillance will commence according to European directives. However, an initial inertia has been observed in the market in terms of a full observance of the new rules.

It is somewhat surprising, therefore, that the verification of conformity to EC standards is already strictly required when European pumps are imported to countries outside the EU. Many organizations created for the assessment of product quality require a conformity certification of their products including third party tests. This is the case, for example, the Saudi Standards Metrology and Quality Organization (SASO), the Ethiopian Conformity Assessment Enterprise (ECAE) and the Standard Organization of Nigeria (SON).

The HELab mission

The forthcoming Standard EN 16480 differentiates between qualification and verification tests. Qualification tests are mandatory for the pump industry and they are required for the assessment experimentally of the product MEI. Qualification tests have to be performed according to ISO 9906, close to the pump BEP, and the test results should be interpreted by comparing the pump efficiency curve with the so called “house of efficiency”, representing a measurement of the minimum required efficiency to obtain the pump qualification.

Verification tests should be performed by an independent institution to verify the MEI values specified by the pump industry, in addition to the analysis of the pump documentation. The methodology of the verification tests is reported in Regulation 547:2012 EC.

Obviously, product tests could be required by an end-user, like a water utility or other industry. Finally, conformity tests in an accredited laboratory are required for the exportation of pumps to many countries outside the EU. In all cases, HELab, as a third party laboratory, is fully qualified to perform pump testing in a fast, economical and accurate way. The procedure for HELab accreditation in compliance with ISO 17025 is at an advanced stage.

The HELab research

Our experience in relation to Regulation 547:2012 EC comes from research undertaken during the last few years. Having been involved in the Italian technical commissions for standards, we are already applying the EN 16480 requirements. We are now following the same approach in respect of the technical paper by CEN TC 197 on the Extended Product Approach in the framework of 2009/125/EC. This is the only way to obtain reliable measurements from the very beginning which will be trusted by the pump manufacturers.

Two centrifugal pumps and two motors to be tested.

In cooperation with a number of pump, motor and inverter industries we are performing tests to verify the procedures required for the assessment of the new Energy Efficiency Index (EEI) which will be adopted in the future to express the energy requirement of pumping groups with a command unit.

The laboratory has also undertaken research on pumps working in inverse mode as turbines, determining the characteristic and performance curves, and defining the best methodology for hydro power plant design.


The new laboratory for pump testing, HELab of the University of Naples Federico II, represents a novelty in the European pump industry market. This third party laboratory is proposed as a reference for qualification and verification tests to assess conformity to Regulation 547:2012 EC. In addition to standard tests for industry and other end users, advanced research is in progress to verify the consistency of the future standards as a support activity for Italian pump, motor and control manufacturers.


We gratefully acknowledge the Italian Association of Pump Manufacturers (Assopompe) for their support in contributing information about HELab in the national and international market.