A Global Essential Industry

The pharmaceutical industry comprises of the discovery, development, and manufacture of drugs and medications (pharmaceuticals) by public and private organisations. It is an essential industry across the world, supplying hospitals, medical centres and pharmacies the medication they require on a daily basis.  

Safety is paramount in any manufacturing facility, and over time facilities, equipment and machinery can suffer from corrosion, damage and general wear and tear. When we then factor in corrosive and potentially dangerous chemicals, which are commonplace in the pharmaceutical industry, the need to ensure the entire facility meets safety regulations becomes even more paramount. 


CASE STUDY 1: Chemical Corrosion Containment 

Tank Roof Defect

Chemical containment is a key area in plants and facilities within the pharmaceutical industry. These containment areas often store hazardous and corrosive chemicals which require durable protective coatings that are long lasting, as corrosion can occur at both the tank’s base and walls. 

In 2013, an Italian pharmaceutical plant was seeking a repair solution for a through wall defect on a tank roof. An existing external coating on one of the tanks used for storing of toluene had started to fail. As the coating on the tank had failed, the metallic substrate beneath the coating was now exposed and unprotected, which over time resulted in severe corrosion in several locations on the tank exterior. 

The tank’s roof was rebuilt with Belzona 1161 and Belzona 9341 reinforcement sheet and then coated internally with a Belzona 5000 series product to offer chemical resistance against the toluene stored within the tank. This original repair is still in service seven years later. 

Left: Corrosion which led to a large hole in the tank roof, Right: Completed repair using Belzona

Minimising Downtime

Fast forward to May 2020, the same client was experiencing issues with another one of their tanks used to store toluene. 

The plant was seeking a fast curing solution, with as little downtime as possible. This therefore led to the Italian Belzona Distributor, BS Srl, to recommended the solution of rebuilding the defect zones on the tank with Belzona 1221 and bonding on prefabricated SuperWrap II composite patches.  

Belzona SuperWrap II Carbon/Glass Hybrid composite plates were chosen as the repair solution over their steel equivalent, as they offer the advantage of being much lighter, and therefore, easier to apply on site.    

Find out more about the products used in this application:

An additional advantage of this solution is that it can be manufactured and cut on-site to match the curvature of a pipe or tank. This makes it also a cost-effective solution as only the exact amount of product is used.  Also, as this solution is entirely non-metallic, there will be no need to apply a further layer of coating. 

Left: Corrosion on the tank, Right: Defect zone rebuilt with Belzona 1221 and bonding on prefabricated SuperWrap II composite patch

Read more about Belzona Solutions for Tanks:


CASE STUDY 2: Safety Concerns with Large Flooring Area 

A Deteriorating Issue

A company operating in the industry of surface coating of metals and plastics in Europe required a solution to their deteriorating concrete floor. The large floor area had cracked as the concrete did not allow for any expansion joints. When the concrete expanded, it had cracked in multiple places, leaving the client with health and safety issues at the facility. Due to the nature of the materials handled within the industry in which the company operates, a long-lasting chemical resistant floor coating was required.

The Belzona Solution

Belzona 5811 was selected due to the large floor area that needed coating, as this product can be spray applied, whilst also offering chemical resistance properties. A broadcast of aggregate was also incorporated for a safe, slip-resistant finish. The second Belzona product, Belzona 4521, was used as an elastomeric sealing system for the expansion joints. The flexible properties of Belzona 4521 used in the expansion joints ensure that the facility will no longer experiences cracks in the floor when the concrete expands.  

Left: Floor preparation underway, Right: Airless spraying of Belzona 5811
Completed application

Future Opportunities

The client chose Belzona due to previous experience using Belzona products in other small areas of the production facility to resist chemical attack. This flooring opportunity was awarded to the local Belzona Distributor due to the reliability of the Belzona products in the other areas of this facility. The client was satisfied with the work completed and is looking to call on Belzona as a solution for two to three further projects at the site over the next 6 months. 

Find out more about the products used in this application:


Summary

These two case studies demonstrate the ways corrosion and erosion can impact the pharmaceutical industry, and the importance of protecting and repairing plants and assets to keep this vital industry operating in a safe and efficient manner. The Belzona products used in both above case studies are manufactured according to ISO9001:2015 standards. 

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