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The pharmaceutical industry has gained enormous importance in the Spanish economy, becoming an important driver of Spanish exports and private investment in R&D.

After the pandemic impact, the pharmaceutical industry has proven to be a key and strategic sector of the spanish economic, due to its current productive capacity as well as its still possible margin for improvement. Although it is still the eighth largest industrial sector of the country, it generates a lot of indirect activity.

Due to the shortage during the economic crisis caused by the Covid-19, which hit the global supply chain hard, we experimented the shortage of certain product such as COVID test kits or the famous masks. This reality highlighted the need to make a definitive commitment on the development and maintenance of this industry.

Pharmaceutical products were Spain’s fourth most exported products in 2020.

Specifically, the growth rate over the last 25th years has allowed the sector to increase from just the 1.4% of nacional exports in 1995 to 4.9% in 2020.

Even so, it is not yet a European benchmark.

Despite the growth experienced in recent years, the pharmaceutical industry is still not a benchmark at European level. Its weight in the nacional economy (0.6% of GVA) is close to, but below of the Eurozone average (0.7%)

Data such this point to the fact that the production capacity of the pharmaceutical industry in Spain can still be improved, in light of the deficit with the rest of the EU, although this does not detract from the fact that its degree of competitiveness and specialization make it very interesting, with the capacity to achieve a trade surplus.

In short, despite of the high competitiveness and dynamism shown by the Spanish pharmaceutical industry, it still has a great room for improvement in order to achieve more relevant rol on the national economy, something that has become evident during the pandemic.

A key global industry

It is an essential industry worldwide, supplying hospitals, medical centers and pharmacies with the medication they require on a daily basis.  

Safety is critical 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 the corrosive and potentially hazardous chemicals that are common in the pharmaceutical industry, the need to ensure that the entire facility meets safety standards becomes even more important.

How can help Belzona in the maintenance and protection of this growing industry?

We present several examples of case studies carried out in this industry, solving different problems;

 

Chemical corrosion containment

 

Defect in the tank roof

Chemical containment is a key area in plants and facilities within the pharmaceutical industry. These containment areas often store dangerous and corrosives chemical products, that require durable protective coatings, as corrosion can occur on both the base an walls of the tank.

In 2013, an Italian pharmaceutical plant was looking for a repair solution for a defect in a tank roof wall. An existing external coating on one of the tanks used to store toluene had begun to fail. As the tank lining had failed, the metal substrate underneath the lining was now exposed and unprotected, which over time resulted in severe corrosion at several locations on the exterior of the tank. 

The tank roof was rebuilt with Belzona 1161 and Belzona 9341 reinforcement sheets and then internally coated with a Belzona 5000 series product to provide chemical resistance against toluene stored inside the tank. This original repair is still in service almost 10 years later.

Left: Corrosion leading to a large hole in the roof of the tank, Right: Repair completed with Belzona

Minimize downtime

The same customer was experiencing problems with another of its tanks used to store toluene. 

The plant was looking for a fast curing solution with as little downtime as possible. This therefore led Belzona’s Italian distributor to recommend the solution of rebuilding the defective areas in the tank with Belzona 1221 and bonding them in SuperWrap II prefabricated composite patches.  

An additional advantage of this solution is that it can be fabricated and cut on site to match the curvature of a pipe or tank. This also makes it a cost-effective solution, as only the exact amount of product is used. In addition, since this solution is completely non-metallic, no additional coating will be required. 

Left: Corrosion in the tank, Right: Defective area rebuilt with Belzona 1221 and bonded with SuperWrap II prefabricated composite patch.

 

– Safety on large floor areas –

 

A problem of deterioration

A company operating in industry needed a solution for its deteriorated concrete floor. The large area of the floor had cracked because the concrete did not allow for any expansion joints. When the concrete expanded, it cracked in several places, leaving the client with health and safety issues on the premises. 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 requiring coating, as this product can be spray-applied while offering chemical resistance properties. An aggregate coating was also incorporated for a safe, slip-resistant finish. The second Belzona product, Belzona 4521, was used as an elastomeric sealing system for expansion joints. The flexible properties of Belzona 4521 used in the expansion joints ensure that the installation will no longer experience cracks in the floor when the concrete expands.

Left: Soil preparation in progress, Right: Airless spraying of Belzona 5811

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These two case studies demonstrate the ways in which corrosion and erosion can affect the pharmaceutical industry and the importance of protecting and repairing plants and assets to keep this vital industry operating safely and efficiently. The Belzona products used in the above two case studies are manufactured in accordance with ISO 9001:2015 standards.

Contact us if you have any remaining questions, or if you think Belzona can help you in the maintenance of your assets without obligation through rodator@rodator.com.