PROJECT: Retrofilling lowers insurance cost | UK

ESTER TYPE: MIDEL 7131 synthetic ester

PURPOSE: Improve fire safety and reduce insurance costs


GlaxoSmithKline’s factory in Montrose is engaged in the manufacture of primary actives for vaccines and respiratory medicines. GSK have been at the site since 1952 and there have recently been several periods of renewal within the factory. In particular, the laboratories within GSK Montrose have now made it an emerging centre of excellence in characterisation studies, physical properties analysis and particle sciences.

Factories such as GSK Montrose will obtain Highly Protected Risk (HPR) status to lower insurance premiums. HPR property is judged to be subject to a much lower than normal probability of loss by virtue of low hazard occupancy or property type, superior construction, special fire protection equipment and procedures, and management commitment to loss prevention.


GSK’s HPR status for the Montrose factory was threatened because two of its power transformers were in close proximity to factory buildings. After an audit by their insurer it was suggested that either the transformers needed to be relocated, fire barriers installed or alternatively they could be retrofilled with MIDEL 7131.

MIDEL 7131 is recognised by FM Global, a large insurance company, as an Approved Less Flammable Fluid, meaning that it offers significantly reduced risk when compared to mineral oil. Having assessed the options, GSK invited the MIDEL team to present the benefits of MIDEL 7131.


Retrofilling the transformers with MIDEL 7131 synthetic, biodegradable ester fluid was by far the least costly and disruptive choice. GSK management and engineers were impressed with the support they received from the MIDEL technical and commercial teams.

The MIDEL technical team was also able to advise GSK on suitable retrofill contractors and the first retrofill was successfully completed in October 2008. Once GSK were satisfied that the first transformer was operating correctly they retrofiiled the second unit. Both transformers have been in operation since the retrofills, with MIDEL contributing to their safer, greener credentials.

The use of MIDEL ester fluids in these sectors supports the following UN Sustainable Development Goals:

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