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KLINGER International

Staying safe

Plant safety as seen through the eyes of KLINGER

KLINGER, according to the company's claim, is "trusted. worldwide.". Trust, however, is not something simply bestowed upon you, but something earned by continuously meeting and exceeding expectations. With regard to KLINGER, this refers to the reliable provision of high-quality gaskets, valves, and instrumentation across a time span of more than 130 years. Seen from a different angle, we can also refer to this as more than 13 decades of operational safety for our customers, which now also features expansion joints and metal hoses for enhanced media flow control. So yes, KLINGER is definitely in the business of providing plant safety.

Richard Klinger, the founder of what would become today's KLINGER Group, invented the level gauge in 1886. Not entirely satisfied with its sealing properties, the young inventor went on to create a revolutionary calendered, compressed fiber gasket material, which he called "KLINGERIT": Sealing technology, as we know it, was born and took the industry by storm. All of a sudden, leakages were no longer a given and could be safely held in check. Next to resource conservation and environmental protection, which would take several more decades to filter into our collective awareness, Richard Klinger had made the first major contribution towards what we define as modern plant safety.

Safety matters
Seen from the perspective of a sealing technology expert, plant safety is based on three distinct pillars: First, the quality and suitability of gaskets, valves, instrumentation, expansion joints and metal hoses used for a specific application. Second, the knowledge and qualifications of technicians charged with creating a tight seal. Third, the monitoring and maintenance of pipe systems to ensure their continued operation within specified parameters and in compliance with applicable regulations. 

Quality
In 2006 the US Fluid Sealing Association published a white paper aptly named "Sealing Systems Matter". Its contents, amongst other issues, addressed the fact that there is a trend towards primarily considering the initial cost of a sealing product as opposed to seeing "the big picture". As gaskets and valves are application-critical elements, this of course alludes to the possible impacts inferior seals can have on plant safety, and range from unscheduled shutdowns to damage to man, plant infrastructure and assets as well as the environment. High-quality products, backed by appropriate quality audits and corresponding internationally approved certification, are the best choice for operators wishing to focus on their core business and not having to worry about potential leakages. Furthermore, from an economic point of view, they do pay off – because simply looking at the purchase price and not considering the directly related follow-up costs in the event of an incident does not tell the entire lifecycle story of the product. At KLINGER we take quality seriously and are no stranger to quality management audits and certificates such as ISO 9001 or ISO 14001. Environmental protection, a positive side effect of plant safety, is also firmly anchored in our corporate values by our commitment towards sustainability. In this context, we are also proud to report first certifications in compliance with EMAS, the eco-management and audit scheme of the European Union. Last but not least, a wide range of individual certificates issued by unaffiliated third-party material testing agencies underline that our products are capable of meeting the requirements they have been manufactured for. To this date, for example, KLINGER®top-chem 2000 is the only PTFE gasket worldwide to have been awarded a Fire Safe certificate.

Know-how
In our opinion, maintaining a leading position in the sealing technology business is coupled with a commitment to lifelong learning. On the one hand, this refers to staying abreast (or ahead) of the latest industry developments as well as to further developing one's own business, for example by adding new and important portfolio elements – in our case this refers to the addition of expansion joints and metal hoses to our product range. On the other hand it demands intimate knowledge of a customer's pipe and sealing systems in order to provide the best possible solution, product or service. Next to an encompassing knowledge base, this also implies certainty regarding the legal and regulatory framework that governs the operation of a plant at any given location. In other words, we not only deal in plant safety, instrumentation and enhanced media flow control solutions, but in solutions tailored to every single plant's specific characteristics. And this takes the catchword "entrepreneurship" to an entirely new level. In our case, the motto of our employees is not "Act as if KLINGER were your own company", but rather "Act as if the customer's plant and his business success were your own."

Empowerment
Staying true to the motto stated above, KLINGER is also firmly committed to ensuring that technicians around the globe are best trained to face the challenges posed by modern sealing technology. Next to a presence in all major sealing organizations, where KLINGER helps to shape uniform standards and thus improve plant safety, the Group of companies is also an avid supporter of the European EN 1591-4 (Flanges and their joints – Part 4: Qualifi cation of personnel competency in the assembly of the bolted connections of critical service pressurized systems). Holders of this certificate provide a plant operator with the certainty that personnel hired for pipe system-related sealing duties are truly up to the task. KLINGER offers a wide range of trainings to successfully acquire the certificate and has also recently launched KLINGER FiT, a torque application trainer to further improve the training benefits (see our related article in this edition of the KLINGER News). Fully embracing the digital age, KLINGER also offers a number of apps and other digital services that support our customers in selecting the correct gaskets, valves and actuators for their specific requirements. This also includes smart phone or tablet-based torque calculators, which take the application type and involved sealing materials into account.

Along the entire lifecycle
At KLINGER the commitment to quality, durability and plant safety goes well beyond the provision of a product. Based on our belief that business should always be conducted at eye level and fostered long-term, we offer our customers a wide range of plant safety and plant effi ciency related services. They include on-site efficiency inspections, such as for example steam surveys as well as high-tech leakage detection via drones – both from the air and from within the pipe system itself. Other innovations to support our customers include, for example, the innovative KLINGER Gasket Insertion Tool (KGIT), which enables divers to safely and precisely install gaskets in offshore pipelines without fear of injuring their hands. Last but not least, KLINGER is also renowned for its on-site shutdown services, which have yet again been enhanced by means of an innovative solution, recently demonstrated in South Africa.

trusted. worldwide.
When all is said and done, two groups of individuals make the three pillars of KLINGER's approach to the topic of plant safety a reality: Our customers and our employees. We would like to thank the former for their trust and the latter for their unwavering commitment to upholding our high quality standards around the world. As a supplier and as an employer, we look forward to meeting and exceeding your expectations. Today, and in the future.

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