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In conversation with: Odd Skagestad, GE Healthcare Lindesnes

We recently spent some time talking with technical engineer Odd Skagestad from GE Healthcare Lindesnes about how DeltaV-Seal™ technology has impacted operations at a world-leading pharmaceutical manufacturing facility.

What is your role and responsibility at the plant? How long have you worked there?

I am a departmental engineer in the technical engineering department with equipment responsibility for pipes, valves, gaskets and tanks. In addition, I am responsible for pipes and mechanical disciplines in a number of projects. I’ve been employed at Lindesnes for almost 20 years.

Tell us a bit about the Lindesnes factory - what you are making there now?

GE Healthcare AS, Lindesnes factories, was established in 1974 under the name Nygaard og co. Since then, the site at Lindesnes has become part of global GE Healthcare brand and evolved into a state-of-the-art pharmaceutical process factory that produces X-ray contrast agent. In total, GE healthcare has around 40% of the world market for X-ray contrast agents with around 240,000 patients receiving injections of contrast medium originating from the Lindesnes Factory every single day. We currently have over 400 employees who come primarily from Lindesnes and the surrounding municipalities.

What applications and processes are typically found at the Lindesnes factory?

From a process piping point of view, the facility deals with a wide range of applications including everything from water to solvents, bases, acids and gases. The product itself goes through several process stages, each with very different physical properties that we must take into account when choosing material qualities and gasket types.

Aerial view Lindesnes Plant OPT

– Throughout the facility are approx. 230 km of pipework installed with around 40,000 valves, 2,000 pumps and 700 heat exchangers in total.

...and gaskets?

Of the gaskets at the plant, we use everything from fiber, rubber and graphite gaskets as well as some PTFE and Viton. We are very satisfied and have very little leakage due to the careful selection of gasket types based on the media and process conditions in each pipe run. The biggest factor when selecting a new gasket is quality, secondly price. We have very good experiences with the gaskets we have chosen to use on our systems so far.

What processes are you currently using DeltaV-Seal?

We have now approved DeltaV-Seal on steam, lye, nitrogen and methane pipe runs. We have also installed them on a part of the cooling water system with pipes to and from a buried cooling water tank that we previously had leakage problems on. This has been a success and we have now not detected any leaks where we have used the DeltaV-Seal gaskets.

What led you to installing DeltaV-Seal on a methane system?

At GE Healthcare Lindesnes there is a strong focus on our corporate environmental responsibility. As part of our program of environmental impact reduction measures, we have established a separate process unit dedicated to reducing emissions of TOC (Total Organic Carbon). This is conducted in accordance with the IED (Industrial Emissions Directive EU) limit values ​​set by BAT (Best Available Technology) for different industrial processes.

One of the purification steps that reduce our carbon footprint is the biological decomposition of organic compounds. This is achieved by first using anaerobic purification on an EGSB reactor (Expanded Granular Sludge Bed), where methane is formed for combustion in boiler houses that produce steam. To prevent any leakage including harmful fugitive methane emissions we decided to use the DeltaV-Seal gaskets due to the gas-tight leakage properties and extended service life.

What is your first impressions of our seal? Would you recommend it?

When we were first approached by Pipeotech in 2015 as a potential pilot customer we decided to conduct some in-house testing to verify some of the product claims. Due to our experience with other gaskets dissolving or changing physical properties over time a program to assess the durability and corrosion resistance of the gasket was appropriate. The result was that after prolonged exposure to corrosive saline solutions internally and externally the DeltaV-Seal displayed no signs of any corrosion. Our first impression, therefore, was that it was a very well-developed type of gasket and immediately became the solution to some of our sealing challenges.

The impressive technology forms an extremely tight and static connection with the flange making them stable over time. We really noticed this on steam systems. Before we were using graphite spiral wound gaskets which proved extremely challenging to disassemble during maintenance, often requiring machining of the flange surface. Here, the simplicity of the one-piece metal construction of DeltaV-Seal comes into its own.

Test rig OPT

– The result was that after prolonged exposure to corrosive saline solutions internally and externally the DeltaV-Seal displayed no signs of any corrosion.

And whats it been like dealing with Pipeotech?

Pipeotech delivers good products and is a customer solution-oriented company. We have been in dialogue with them when we were first introduced to the technology to optimize the design for our use. On initial testing on some of our non-standard systems, it turned out that one of the three grooves in the gasket surface did not hit the gasket surface on the flange collar. Pipeotech solved this by changing the position of the grooves, creating a custom design for our needs so that the sealing rings would correctly seal against the flange collar. We really appreciate this kind of service and see it as a big advantage for Pipeotech.

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