Smart thinking and collaboration avert production shutdown at Ohly


Ohly, Hamburg, has reacted swiftly to the energy crisis by converting one of its two gas fuelled boilers to diesel, potentially averting a disaster for key customers who need Ohly's ingredients to make essential products such as insulin.

Marc Gerigk, Global Operations Director, Ohly, said: “We could see the potential for our gas supply to be cut off or reduced early in May and, with a key customer asking if we would still be able to produce the vital ingredients that they needed to manufacture insulin, we knew we had to stay operational.”

By mid-May, Michael Schwerdt, Site Manager at Ohly, Hamburg, found an alternative way to power the plant by converting one of the existing gas boilers to diesel, and by June the conversion operation was well under way with two storage tanks for diesel and all the additional piping being planned and prepared.

“As well as sourcing all the equipment, installing it, and modifying the existing system to cope with switching from gas to oil, we also had to have the modifications approved by the authorities to verify that the new set up met industrial engineering standards,” explained Michael.

Having been signed off, the first test run for the new system took place on 28 August. “I’m pleased to say that everything worked just fine, and we are now in the position of being able to operate our plant close to capacity should the gas supply be turned off,” said Michael.

Ohly was one of the first companies in Europe to install a dual fuel system and it was done in a very short time scale. “A project like this could easily have taken twelve months to complete but we accomplished it in just three,” said Marc.

“There were two reasons that the conversion was accomplished so quickly. Firstly, being aware early on of the potential disruption to our business if the gas supply was turned off, or reduced, and finding a solution before it became a problem. Secondly, the agility of ABF Ingredients in enabling us to act so quickly.”

With other companies in Europe looking to identify solutions and make similar conversions of their gas supply, Michael and his team are lending a hand and offering support and advice to those businesses who reach out for help.

Marc finished by saying: “We are very fortunate at Ohly to be part of ABF Ingredients, where flexibility and agility from the Senior Leadership Team at the top of the organisation is transferred down through the businesses.”