Cross-functional cooperation by Linde helps boost hospital capacity in
Sweden’s two largest cities during the Coronavirus pandemic.
The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has forced businesses
and societies to adapt in unprecedented ways to deal with new and uncertain
One such example is the conversion of Stockholm’s
largest convention centre, Stockholmsmässan, into a 600-bed field hospital in a
matter of days. And Linde Sweden’s rapid response to help make it happen.
Normally, the facility in Älvsjö just south of central Stockholm is bustling with conference attendees and exhibitors from across the globe. Its cavernous halls, which total 70,000 cubic meters, and can accommodate up to 30,000 people at a time.
But Stockholmsmässan’s normally busy spring
conference schedule was cut short on March 11th when the government
limited public gatherings to less than 500 people in an effort to limit the
spread of COVID-19.
Concerns about hospital capacity
“Health and safety are our top priorities and this
decision is a precautionary measure to reduce the possible spread of the
Coronavirus,” Stockholmsmässan CEO Christian Clemens, said at the
As the Coronavirus pandemic continued to spread,
concerns grew about Stockholm’s hospital capacity and how to cope with the
expected increase in the number of coronavirus patients.
And the clock was ticking.
In response, Region Stockholm teamed up with the
Swedish Armed Forces and several suppliers – including Linde – to repurpose the
convention centre’s massive exhibition hall into a field hospital. Work started
on March 22nd – and needed to be completed fast.
At the same time, across the country in Sweden’s
second largest city of Gothenburg, plans were taking shape for the building of
another field hospital. Located next to the city’s Östra Hospital, it would
have space for 20 intensive patients and was to be completed within 72 hours.
A steady supply of oxygen
Critical to the functioning of both field hospitals
was a steady and secure supply of oxygen. In Stockholm, plans originally called
for supplying oxygen to 200 intensive care unit (ICU) beds, but was quickly
scaled up to 600 beds. In Gothenburg, not only was each ICU bed to be supplied
with oxygen, but Linde needed to also have capacity in place to supply an
additional 50 beds should the need arise.
But Linde rose to the challenge by quickly
assembling and deploying a cross-functional team to address the oxygen supply
needs of the healthcare systems in Sweden’s two largest cities.
“It’s amazing that we were able to put together a
team of people from Healthcare, Customer Engineering
Services (CES), Medical Technical Services (MTS), and Bulk
Distribution and get everything in place in such a short time,” says Bengt
Sjöberg, Linde’s QI Engineering manager Sweden.
Ready within days
In Stockholm, a 15-person Linde team of experts in
Healthcare, CES, and Bulk Distribution was deployed to install two
oxygen tanks and four vaporizers, including stabilizers. A military convoy with
equipment arrived on March 25th and the first tank was in place that evening.
Welders continued with the assembly and the work was finished by March 27th, making
the hospital ready to accept patients on March 30th.
“What normally takes three or four months to build,
we managed to complete in three days,” Anders Eriksson of Ersta Hospital who
served as a project manager, told local newspaper
Meanwhile in Gothenburg, where Linde received a
request for a gas supply solution on March 23rd, a team worked to construct
oxygen supplies for 20 ICU beds. In close cooperation with Västfastigheter,
Sweco, and GasProducts, the Linde team successfully installed pipes and outlets
for a “gas through the floor” solution in a matter of days.
‘Joint efforts result in great things’
“Getting the material such as pipes and gas outlets
installed in such a short time was a huge challenge. But thanks to lots of support
from all our colleagues, suppliers, and collaborators we succeeded in getting
the job done,” says Lars Velander, an Account Manager with Linde Hospital Care
While helping set up field hospitals in Stockholm
and Gothenburg in record time may have attracted the most attention, Linde
continues to work closely with hospitals across the Nordics and Baltics to
ensure medical oxygen supplies continue without disruption.
“Our work across Region Europe North during the pandemic so far truly shows how joint efforts across several functions can result in great things,” says Bengt Sjöberg.