GEA has supplied one of the largest drug manufacturers in Korea with manufacturing equipment for a state-of-the-art pharma production plant. More than 7,000 VESTA® sterile valves were installed to direct the product flow in two identical insulin production lines. This was the first time VESTA® valve technology had been selected to completely equip a new greenfield project. The multimillion Euro order represents the biggest project so far in the history of the VESTA® line.
From just a handful to thousands of valves
“Being close to the customer and offering great engineering support were decisive factors in this success story,” explains Johann Kranzpiller, the responsible Project Manager from GEA Flow Components. “It all started with just four VESTA® tank bottom valves in the year 2010. When the planners noticed the first positive results, we were asked to supply more valves of the same type,” Kranzpiller notes. These valves again showed convincing results in application, and in 2014 GEA was asked to equip a plant extension project with almost 2,000 VESTA® valves.
Building on this positive experience, the customer’s engineering team became increasingly receptive to the idea of specifying VESTA® valve technology as their new standard, replacing the membrane valves the company traditionally employed. Once that decision was made, the next greenfield project was completely designed using VESTA® valves.
Incidentally, the four tank bottom valves initially purchased remained a recurring topic throughout later discussions when the parties became aware that in the first four years of operation not a single part on these valves had to be replaced.
Customer orientation – a decisive asset
If a customer is to be convinced of a new valve technology, the supplier must be willing to go the proverbial extra mile, Kranzpiller points out: “Over all these years, we have always been in dialogue with the Korean plant operators and their integrator. This recent success shows that it was the right approach.”
One of the key factors boosting the business relationship was GEA’s application and installation support. The smallest details can be decisive, for example, showing the customer how to correctly install a valve in a process line to achieve best possible results. This success story has not just moved the VESTA® valve line to a whole new level commercially. It has also taught the team how to develop a customer with great potential into a key customer. This historic success would not have been possible without the great support from Regions & Countries organization in South Korea, APC Pharma, and our local distribution partners.