Tim Buyle

Tim Buyle

Tim has been in welding technology as an engineer since 1999 and has continued to learn and eventually teach ever since. Driven by his passion for the profession, Tim is active in all kinds of fields, like consultancy, coordination, court expert and teaching.

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Standards in welding technology – the mystery of the naming

Standards and their naming conventions

There are many standards in welding technology. There are a good few hundred of them. And they are all given a unique name. The name is often misunderstood or incompletely noted, which leads to inaccuracies. In this article you will learn how the name is created and what information the prefixes give you. 

Three levels

Standards can be published and can have validity at three levels. Therefore, there are three institutes that manage these standards and keep them up to date.  

This starts at a global level, with the standards published by ISO (International Organization for Standardization). The next level of relevance to us is the European level, represented by the CEN (European Committee for Standardization). And then, of course, there is the national level, such as in the Netherlands the NEN (Stichting Koninklijk Nederlands Normalisatie Instituut), in Belgium the NBN (Bureau voor Normalisatie) and in Germany the DIN (Deutsches Institut für Normung).

How does the name come about?

The prefixes you find in the name of a standard refer to who published it. We take the Netherlands as an example. In the Netherlands, the NEN publishes national, European and international standards. NEN also stimulates the development of Dutch standards. These are agreements that apply in the Netherlands about the quality and safety of products, services and processes. 

All standards published by NEN are given a number with the prefix NEN (NE-Dutch Standard). The NEN standards committees also function as shadow committees for the European technical committees of the CEN. EN standards are drawn up in the European committees. Many EN standards are adopted by NEN and are then published as NEN EN standards. The global ISO standards can be adopted by the CEN, which then leads to an EN ISO standard. If NEN also adopts this standard, the result is a NEN EN ISO standard. 

The same or not?

So it is of the utmost importance that the correct prefix is used in combination with the correct standard number. In order to cover the same need for standards, the national standards committees and institutes work together on new standards. In many cases, this can lead to local standards becoming obsolete. In time, “pure” NEN standards and even “pure” EN standards will then disappear.

For example, NEN EN 287 for the qualification of welders eventually evolved to NEN EN ISO 9606. 


Below you can see a national, a European and an international standard and how they are written correctly. 

  • NEN 1078 regarding the performance requirements for new gas pipeline installations
  • NEN EN 1090 deals with structural parts in steel, stainless steel and aluminium for load-bearing structures
  • NEN EN ISO 3834 describes the quality requirements for welding, regardless of the product

It is really important to pay attention to the notation of, in particular, classical standards in welding technology. People quickly tend to talk about a standard number without using the full name. And that can lead to misunderstandings:

  • NEN EN ISO 15614 describes the qualification of welding procedures
  • NEN EN 15614 describes protective clothing for firefighters
  • NEN EN ISO 544 describes the delivery conditions for welding consumables
  • NEN EN 544 describes test methods for bitumen roof frames
  • NEN EN ISO 6520 describes the classification of geometric imperfections in welding
  • NEN 6520 describes a method to determine chlorophyll
  • NEN 1078 on the performance requirements for new gas pipeline installations
  • NEN EN 1078 deals with the quality of bicycle helmets

Which version applies?

All standards have a date and year of publication. And those who refer to the application of a certain standard (in agreements, texts, contracts and even other standards) can make use of the default standard denomination or the dated standard denomination. In the latter case, the year of publication is mentioned in the name of the standard. 

If the default denomination of the standard, example 1, is mentioned in a document, the latest revision must be applied. In the case of example 2 or 3, that particular edition of the standard shall be applied.The examples based on the standard for welding coordination:

  1. NEN EN ISO 14731
  2. NEN EN ISO 14731:2007
  3. NEN EN ISO 14731:2019

Use the search robots on the website of the national standards institute to find out the full name for a particular standard. This will only cost you a few clicks.

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