The coronavirus pandemic prompted one multinational pharmaceutical company to look for a new solvent tank as part of the production process for its COVID-19 vaccine. This is where Gpi came in.
The pharmaceutical manufacturer hired in service provider Agidens to execute the project. Given the urgent demand necessitated by coronavirus, rapid delivery was a prerequisite. Gpi was able to meet this requirement with components, such as a manhole, being available from stock and permission to carry out in-house inspections under the terms of the Pressure Equipment Directive (module H).
Needless to say, the supplier in mind had to commit to meeting the requirements with respect to finishing and selected materials. Gpi has many years’ experience in the supply of tanks for the pharmaceutical industry and is familiar with current design standards (e.g. ASME-BPE)
The assignment / product
Geert Roggeman, Process Engineer at Agidens, describes the exceptional circumstances regarding the assignment: ‘Given the huge international pressure on vaccine manufacturers to scale up production and avoid disruptions due to shortages of production parts, the project came under severe time constraints. As a result, what was needed was the necessary experience and ingenuity to convert the technical specifications required for the equipment into an effective end-product in the shortest possible time, without compromising the quality standards demanded by the pharmaceutical industry.’
The assignment concerned a 200-litre pressure tank for solvents. The vessel, equipped with a torispherical head bottom and manhole DN600 top, is designed in conformity with the Pressure Equipment Directive (PED) 2014/68/EU. The vessel is manufactured from 1.4404/ 1.4307 (316L) stainless steel and is finished on the inside to an Ra value of ≤ 0.6 μm before and after electropolishing. The tank fastenings comprise a combination of Triclamp ferrules and hygienic flanges (AHW Connect).
The ambitiously set deadlines were attained as a result of the collaboration between engineers of Agidens and Gpi. Both parties were able to respond swiftly to the changed wishes and requirements of the client so that it was possible to deliver the tank in time. Roggeman: ‘In Agidens’ experience, Gpi was a highly professional, responsive and cooperative partner in producing this item of equipment, which is part and parcel of the vaccine production process.’
‘One special aspect of the project were the coronavirus circumstances, which meant that the FAT (Factory Acceptance Test) could be carried out remotely, online. This required some tweaking of organisational aspects and, not least, a strong degree of mutual trust on the part of the client and manufacturer. We can conclude that Gpi was able to meet all its planning and quality guarantees as had been agreed at the start of the project and to the full satisfaction of the client and final client,’ says Roggeman.
‘Gpi was able to meet all its planning and quality guarantees as had been agreed’
The rapid delivery of the new tank will help accelerate roll-out of the COVID-19 vaccine in the fight against coronavirus. The excellent collaboration received an extra boost with a second order for a 200-litre tank which will likewise be used in the production of the vaccine.
Agidens is an international service provider which for more than 70 years has been helping clients improve their processes through specialist advice, automation and maintenance services. Focusing on the ‘why’, the company works together with stakeholders to identify the best solutions for improving processes.