Self-service seat design gives longer life to springless diaphragm valves
Innovative design enables easy and repeatable seat replacement while providing a high performance seat seal Download the catalog »
Put a plastic seat inside a steel valve, and there's no question about which part is most likely to wear out first. With some models, a bad seat means tossing out the entire valve. With many models that have replaceable seats, the design requires a seat big enough to manipulate by hand, making the seat more susceptible to swelling from chemical interaction or high temperature.
Swagelok engineers have come up with a new alternative, the new lines of DP and DF Series Valves: DPX and DFX replaceable seat diaphragm valves. They are designed with a tight-fitting seat that offers minimal entrapment areas and a short height to limit chemical and thermal expansion. With the use of an installation tool, customers can put in new seats right at the job site.
These two new lines were designed with advanced semiconductor precursor delivery in mind. They come in manual or pneumatically actuated models.
Error free installation
The installation tools make it easy to install a new valve seat without risking damage to the sealing surface, because the seat never touches your hands. The new seat comes in a protective holder that ensures that the seat is installed in the correct direction. It also compresses the seat diameter to enable a pressed fit into the pre-staked valve body. You get a tight seal with minimum entrapment areas for high purity systems.
To remove the old seat, use the seat removal tool that comes with the replacement kit. You simply disassemble the valve, screw on the removal tool nut, and rotate the removal arbor. The tool never touches the body, and the seat lifts right out.
To put in the new seat, just place the carrier in the valve — it's designed in such a way that you can't put the seat in upside down —screw on the installation nut and screw down the installation arbor. That's all there is to it.
The kit also comes with a diaphragm and a support diaphragm for rebuilding the valve.
Kits are available in quantities of 25, 50, 100, and 200. You can get detailed specifications and download the valve catalog, seat replacement instructions, and presentation here >>
If you weren't able to watch it live, here's a second chance to learn from an expert
Get access to the webinar replay and download the presentation slides and transcript here »
One of the hallmarks of our classes, seminars and webinars is that we call on industry experts to present the material. For our recent webinar on Steam System Reliability, for instance, we had the expertise of Kelly Paffel, technical manager for Swagelok Energy Advisors. With more than four decades of experience in steam, compressed air systems and power operations, he's recognized worldwide as an authority in industrial steam systems.
If you missed out on hearing Paffel live, we're giving you a second chance by putting the presentation online.
For this webinar, Paffel looked at two main reliability areas: steam leakage and component failure. For those who oversee other compressed gas systems and not steam, while steam and other compressed gasses may act differently within your systems, the ideas presented in this webinar of conserving these gasses and preventing leaks can carry over beyond just steam.
Steam leakage is going to hurt any plant in five different ways. First, it's a safety problem. Second, lost steam means lost energy, as much as 19 percent of the energy produced. Third -- and this is one people often forget -- leaking steam is an emissions problem. After all, whatever you are burning to create the steam, you have to burn more of it to compensate for the leak. That means more emissions.
Put all of those together and you get the fourth problem, loss of reliability. That, in turn, creates the fifth problem, interruptions in production.
Paffel examined each of these five areas in detail. He also has some useful approaches for estimating the size of a steam leak. That's always a challenge, because it almost always involves an orifice with an irregular shape. Paffel goes through ways to get a rough idea of what a steam leak will cost over the course of a year.
No matter how big it is when you find it, however, it's a safe bet that the leak will only get worse if it isn't fixed right away.
Ideally, the best way to deal with leaks is preventing them from happening in the first place. What causes steam leaks? Corrosion is a big reason, but not the only one. Poor installation, selecting the wrong components, and poor operation of the steam system can all cause leaks.
When a whole component fails, such as a hose or a valve that gives way, it causes the same kinds of problems, only more immediate.
The most obvious problem with component failure is downtime. But, just as with steam leaks, one problem leads to another. Downtime means lost production. It also means spending maintenance dollars. And, since it means steam is blowing out, you get all the safety and emissions problems associated with a leak.
If a component fails on a tracing system, it means losing temperature because of the lower pressure. Other key areas of component failure are heat transfer tubes, PRV valves, control valves, turbines, condensate pumps and expansion devices.
Make sure every component installed in the steam system is properly rated for the job, Paffel said, and component failure will become a much smaller problem.
The most important thing of all, however, isn't a question of equipment, it's a question of behavior. The most important aspect of improving reliability is change. Don't expect to do things the way they were done 15 years ago, 10 years ago or even five years ago. That includes everything from the engineering specification and system design to standard operating procedures.
No steam system should have more than six leak points a year, Paffel said, and every steam component should last at least six years.
It takes only a few minutes to read this summary. For the full 20-minute webinar, click here. You can hear Paffel and see his slides, and you can keep a transcript for future reference. So don't get steamed by the leaks and component failures in your system.
New company profile provides a snapshot of Swagelok's global operations
Download the Swagelok Company profile here »
We recently wrote about our Quick Look infographic for Swagelok Northern California. As a companion piece, check out the new corporate profile of the worldwide Swagelok network. It takes many more pages to describe a global company like Swagelok, so you might think of this profile as a "Long Look." The interactive PDF format makes it easy to skip around to the parts that interest you most.
It's a good reminder that, while Swagelok Northern California serves more than 60 counties in California and Nevada, we're part of a much bigger network. All Swagelok sales and service centers are closely connected with one another and with Swagelok itself. If you design and specify in one location and your job site is another, sales and service centers in both locations will work with you as one team. We are "One Swagelok", one interconnected global organization spanning 70 countries.
It adds up
With an operation that size, Swagelok's numbers are impressive. More than 6,800 Swagelok line items are shipped daily, with 99.99 percent shipping and inventory accuracy. Part of the Swagelok brand promise is to be there for you with a robust supply of Make to Stock products. That's more than 10,000 standard products in stock whenever you need them.
There is a phrase that every Swagelok executive, engineer and shop floor associate knows: Zero Customer Disappointments. These are some of the ways we close in on that goal.
One reason for Swagelok's reliability is the company's stability. Less than 8 percent of Swagelok's associates leave the company each year, and that includes retirements. It's not unusual to find someone who has been with Swagelok for 20 years, and some have been with the company for 50 years. The loyalty is mutual. Swagelok has extensive in-house training programs and tuition reimbursement for all associates, plus leadership development programs and one-on-one professional coaching.
Also, Swagelok is always working on new products. It has the latest computer modeling software and laboratory testing equipment, including its own scanning electron microscope. What Swagelok doesn't develop on its own, it adds through strategic acquisitions.
Doing our part
Locally, nationally and globally, Swagelok gives back to more than 100 local charities. In 2014 it added up to $3.5 million in donations from the Swagelok Foundation and related charitable trusts. That does not take into account the charitable work by our independently owned and operated sales and service centers around the world.
Swagelok is environmentally responsible as well, recycling more than 1.5 million pounds of alloys each year, plus 1.8 million pounds of paper, cardboard and wood. Swagelok composts too, putting 120 tons of food waste to good use each year.
So next time you talk with someone at Swagelok Northern California about a problem you want to solve, remember that we have worldwide resources waiting to serve you.
Our new Quality and Continuous Improvement Manager is a yoga instructor too
Learn more about our company in our updated company infographic here»
We're so serious about continually improving our performance that we hired someone to work on it full time. He's Bharat Shah, who joined Swagelok Northern California this past May as our Quality & Continuous Improvement Manager. A mechanical engineer by training, he's also a certified auditor of several quality standards, including Six Sigma and Lean.
It's a tall order, being asked to come in and tell a bunch of long-timers how they could do their jobs better — and get results. Fortunately, Shah is starting with a good environment.
"The people here are very hard working people. We are all on the same wavelength," he says.
The key to improvement is in properly defining the problem to be solved, Shah says. "You don't start with, 'Oh, I know procedure.' Everything has to have a goal. If you are below the goal, find the gap where you are lagging behind. Once you have the gap defined, come up with an action item so that you can bridge the gap."
That's the first part of the now-classic method of Plan, Do, Check, Act.
The second part, "Do," is to carry out the plan while collecting data that can be used later for analysis. That's the "Check" part, where the team studies the results and sees how close they are to the original goal. Finally, the improved process becomes the new normal, the way we "Act" until we define another problem to be solved, starting the process anew.
When a second-party auditor comes in to check out an operation, a lot of people run away in a panic. Shah welcomes process audits. He likes to see the analysis done so the auditor can see how effective Shah and the Swagelok Northern California team are.
Internal audits are going on constantly as people from different parts of our operation interact, Shah says. When customer orders come down, the people on the warehouse floor can verify the procedures. At the same time, they can communicate upstream to let people know what they can do to help us process orders faster.
Yoga as process improvement
Shah's talents as a trainer and mentor continue outside the workplace. He teaches yoga in Fremont. Yoga: that's my passion," Shah says, and he sees it as one more tool to improve teamwork.
"In Yoga, they are teaching you indirectly about teamwork, because you are so calm and quiet that you can understand people and process the data," he says. "Yoga is something that teaches you to be peaceful inside. That helps me to work in my quality aspect of my life. Yoga and quality job go in the same wavelength."
New Tech Clip quickly covers the three steps to installing a Swagelok tube fitting
Watch the latest Swagelok Tech Clip, then sign up for one or both of our August training seminars for only $99 each here »
We have previously blogged about our Swagelok Tech Tip on tube fitting assembly. Just in case you don't have time to watch a five minute video, we have created this two minute Swagelok Tech Clip - Swagelok Tube Fitting Installation. In this video, we quickly review the three steps involved in installing a Swagelok tube fitting and also reveal two of the most common installation errors. In two minutes, you can double check the tube fitting assembly instructions to make sure you are installing it correctly and learn two common tube fitting assembly mistakes to avoid.
The error of feeling
As you will see when you watch the video, it's not hard to correctly assemble a Swagelok tube fitting.
Even so, at our Tube Fitting Safety seminars, experienced installers regularly discover that they've not been doing it right. After years of assembling fittings, many people can fall into the trap of tightening the tube fitting by "feel" instead of following the three step assembly instructions.
Tightening by "feel" often results in a connection that is under-tightened and could be prone to leakage. Here are couple reasons why relying feel can let you down. First, the feel of installing a brass tube fitting on copper tubing is much different from assembling a stainless steel tube fitting and stainless steel tubing. And different tubing outside diameters take more or less effort to assemble. What's worse, the leak may not develop until the connection is subjected to the vibrations and temperature cycling of normal operation. Small leaks in a gas system may go undetected for years, resulting in higher operating costs and the potential for environmental impact.
A little training goes a long way
At our two hour Tube Fitting Safety seminar, you can learn how to do the job right with hands–on demonstrations. But that's only the start. You'll also learn about tube fitting design and function, a comparison of a tube system and a pipe system, thread sealants and lubricants, how to select and handle tubing, and more. You can take advantage of our summer special and register for the course for on $99, and we will even buy you lunch. Learn more »
Tube bending too
Most people learn how to bend tubing by working with someone with more experience. It's tough to learn by trial and error, and it requires a lot of faith that the older craftsman really knows all the best practices.
A better approach is our Tube Bending seminar. Again, this class covers a lot more than how to bend tubing. One of the most important lessons involves determining the exact length of tubing needed for a job. Some companies have had to scrap thousands of dollars' worth of tubing because it wasn't cut to the right length the first time.
We'll also discuss the impact workmanship has on total system performance. A well-fabricated system looks good too, which can enhance the esthetics and reflect on the quality of the product. Watch our latest Swagelok Tech Clip, then sign up for one or both of the seminars for only $99 each here »
A fast visual resource for must know info about Swagelok Northern California
Take a Quick Look at our updated company Infographic here »
Back at the start of 2014 we introduced an infographic that we called the Quick Look. As the name implies, it was a way to quickly tell you a few important things about the size and scope of Swagelok Northern California. Now, after only a year and a half, it's already time to update our Quick Look.
We have more inventory, more associates, a few more awards to hang on the wall, and more web resources to help you find what you need.
Even some of our longtime customers might not know a few of the facts that make Swagelok Northern California unique. For instance, do you have any idea how many downloads are available at our site? Can you name all of the services available from Swagelok Northern California? Even if you recall that our previous Quick Look showed an inventory worth $8 million, what do you think the value is today?
So take a quick look at our infographic and see some of the ways we measure our company and learn web resources and comprehensive services that you may not know we offer. Remember, we strive for continuous improvement, so it probably won't be long before we have to update our Quick Look again. Take a Quick Look at our company infographic »
Flash steam recovery for non-modulating applications, a flash tank
We've written previously about flash steam recovery in modulating applications. Today we tackle the same general topic of steam recovery, but for non-modulating applications.
"Non-modulating" means there is no control valve modulating steam flow to the process. The system provides a constant steam pressure, thus providing a constant pressure differential across the steam traps or condensate discharge control valve.
Examples of non-modulating steam processes include steam tracing, drip leg steam traps, unit heaters, process heaters, reboilers and corrugators.
The non-modulating steam system’s operational design allows the condensate and flash steam to be recovered in a flash tank system. The flash tank is used to:
• Separate condensate and flash steam
• Control the flashing process
• Allow enough space for flash steam to be released
• Reduce the velocities of the flash steam to ensure no condensate carryover with the flash steam
Now come the crucial decisions. How big should the flash tank be for a particular system?
Should the tank be mounted vertically or horizontally? What outlet velocities are within an acceptable range? Can your particular setup use a cascade steam system for recovery, or does it need a thermocompressing system?
To reach those answers, you'll need to make some calculations. The first one is to figure out the amount of condensate entering the flash tank. That will be the sum of the steam-consuming capacity of all equipment discharging into the condensate return line that is going to the flash tank. This could be only one component or multiple components.
Next determine the process pressure and flash tank pressure.
Then calculate the condensate that flashes to steam. From there you can size the steam space.
Where can you find the formulas for those calculations? Click here to read the steam system best practice: Flash Steam Recovery from Non-Modulating Steam Applications and download a free, illustrated, five-page PDF of best practices related to flash steam recovery from non-modulating applications with steps to designing a flash tank and detailed examples.
Markisha Greggs is always looking for ways to make improvements
Our Customer Service Manager, Markisha Greggs makes sure we are serving our customers with the same high quality and integrity as our products. Let her know how we are doing through our two question customer survey.
After 13 years with our company, our Customer Service Manager, Markisha Greggs knows that we're always making improvements to the way we do business. In fact, she's one of the ones who helps initiate change.
"When we hire people we talk a lot about change," she says. "We let them know right off the bat that if change is something they are uncomfortable with, this might not be the best environment."
A typical day for Greggs includes internal audits, checking our processes and procedures to make sure everyone is doing what we tell our customers we're doing. If something isn't clicking just right, she's not shy about making adjustments.
"We are constantly evolving and changing and improving. One of our core values and a big focus is continuous improvement," she says. Last year, for instance, we set up a way to automatically e-mail invoices to customers. This has several benefits, the customer always gets an invoice via email and since it automatically done, we don't have to do it manually which saves time and prevents errors. A couple of years ago we changed our phone system in an effort to keep calls from going to voice mail. If the customer service staff is tied up, we have two more layers of people designated to grab the phone in time. At the very least they can get the conversation started, and sometimes know the answers the customers need.
The Manager? You're talking to her
As a manager, Greggs has plenty to do. As her title implies, she manages our customer service staff and has been interviewing candidates for a new position. But she still interacts with customers every day.
"Sometimes it is as simple as picking up the phone or helping out at the Will Call desk. Sometimes it is more complicated, like helping to expedite something," she says. And despite everyone's best efforts, sometimes her job involves dealing with a customer disappointment.
"I see customer disappointments as opportunities to improve," Greggs says. "We are all human, and humans make mistakes. The only way we are going to get better and reduce errors is to learn from them."
Greggs will even call customers to get their feedback, which she can share with her group and with senior management. When asked how she prioritizes all the things she needs to get done each day, Greggs says, "I always deal with customer-facing issues first."
As good as our customers say
Greggs sends out customer surveys so we can track how well we're doing. After all, we are only as good as our customers say we are. We use a system called the Net Promoter Score. The customer simply rates us on a scale of 0 to 10, and is invited to write anything they want to explain the score. Keeping it simple makes it easy for the customers to tell us what's most important to them.
The score itself tells us a lot about our customer service. We tally the customers who give us nines and tens. Those are known as "promoters." Anyone who scores us at a six or less is a "detractor." The higher ratio of promoters to detractors, the better we are doing. We already know the average ratio that companies our size get, and we're proud to say that Swagelok Northern California is running ahead of the averages by many percentage points. Let us know how we are doing
Way back in 2001 when Greggs joined us, she went through two or three months of training in both customer service and on the technical side of the business. Later, when she was on the job, she came back to her trainer with a question. Instead of simply telling her the answer, he told her to look in her notes.
"What that taught me is that I can find the answer myself. In the long run it helps me," she says. "I've learned a lot of things that way, just looking up information out of curiosity instead of involving others."
Over the years, Greggs has seen a lot of the same customers over the counter, at events outside our offices, sometimes even at the grocery store.
"You end up having a relationship with them. It is one of the things that I value in being here so long," she says. "When I started, I was pretty young. Some of the customers at the time saw me as a kid. Now I have kids."
Here's what you will see when you come by and visit us at the Swagelok booth
Get complimentary registration to the SEMICON West Expo courtesy of Swagelok (Priority Code is SEMI11052e) here »
SEMICON West 2015 has started, and we are here. We have a lot of Swagelok fluid system components for you to look at, but more importantly, Swagelok fluid system experts are on hand ready to collaborate with you on process optimization and fluid system solutions. You can find us at Booth 1329, almost in the center of the South Hall at Moscone Center. We'll be here from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. today, Wednesday, July 15, and from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. tomorrow, Thursday, July 16.
From source to exhaust
Swagelok fluid system components and solutions are used throughout the semiconductor manufacturing process, so we have set up our booth to walk you through our areas of expertise.
- At the Source - Gain greater thermal control, prevent contamination, and promote safe containment
- In the Gas Box - Short purge time, long service life, switch chemical delivery with optimal control
- At Point of Use - Achieve precision high temperature chemical delivery, greater dosing accuracy, and cleanliness
- At Exhaust - Purge excess chemistries, maintain optimum pressure, and command efficiency in the final stage of the process
|Point of Use
Each display in our booth is an opportunity to discuss your fluid system and the challenges you are encountering at each stage of your process.
Also, we have two displays that demonstrate our latest advancements in fluid system technology. From insulated hose for extreme temperatures to zero emission diaphragm valves, our newest products are designed with your advanced semiconductor processes in mind.
|Insulated hose for extreme temperatures
||Zero Emission and Replaceable Seat Valves
Electronic desktop technical reference
While we can't bring along every item in the Swagelok catalog, we'll do the next best thing by bringing along access to our Swagelok Electronic Desktop Technical Reference software. The Swagelok eDTR™ software can put the freshest version of Swagelok's catalogs on any Microsoft Windows computer, and can be updated over the Internet with a single click. Or you can put it on your iPad with our Swagelok eDTR™ app. Learn more about the eDTR here »
Best of all, you'll have the full attention of our booth staff to talk about any of your applications and how Swagelok can help solve your company's fluid system challenges.
Whatever programs you plan to attend at SEMICON West 2015, please leave extra time to stop by our booth. We'll be looking for you. If you have not registered yet, here is a link to complimentary registration courtesy of Swagelok.
We're bringing some new items to show off at Moscone Center in San Francisco
Get complimentary registration to the SEMICON West Expo courtesy of Swagelok (Priority Code is SEMI11052e) here »
In case you have not heard, SEMICON West, the big event of the year for the semiconductor industry, comes back to San Francisco this week. We'll be there, and we're bringing a lot of items for you to check out. You can find us at Booth 1329, almost in the center of the South Hall at Moscone Center. We'll be waiting for you from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Tuesday, July 14, and Wednesday, July 15, and from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Thursday, July 16.
New offerings and familiar favorites
We were very honored that Karen Savala, president of SEMI Americas, chose our blog as the place to preview SEMICON West this year, then linked her own article to the top of the SEMICON West weekly newsletter.
She notes that each year, SEMI tries to "continuously improve the exposition and bring fresh, relevant content to our exhibitors and visitors."
We feel the same way at Swagelok Northern California, so we are bringing fresh content to our booth. This is a great opportunity to see a demonstration of our new DPX and DFX series replaceable-seat diaphragm valves. Swagelok engineers have come up with a tight-fitting replaceable seat that offers minimal entrapment areas and a short height to limit chemical and thermal expansion. With the use of a special tool, customers can put in new seats right at the job site.
We're also bringing back our atomic layer deposition valves, which take less than 5 milliseconds to open or close, work in temperatures up to 200 degrees Celsius, and are ready to go for tens of millions of cycles.
Are you familiar with Swagelok's PTFE hose? We have hose that can handle the heat up to 300 degrees C, and down to minus 20 degrees C. Need hose to go to even higher or lower temperatures? We can work with you to achieve it. We can fill your order quickly because we build the hoses right here in Northern California. Our Swagelok-certified technicians can create the combination of hose type, length and end connections that are just right for your application.
You can see and discuss all of those, plus multi-valve block manifolds, Swagelok fittings and more.
While we can't bring along every item in the Swagelok catalog, we'll do the next best thing by bringing along access to our Electronic Desktop Technical Reference software. The eDTR software can put the freshest version of Swagelok's catalogs on any desktop computer, and can be updated over the Internet with a single click. Or you can put it on you iPad with our eDTR app. Learn more about the eDTR here
Best of all, you'll have the full attention of our booth staff to talk about any of our products and how they can solve your company's challenges.
Whatever programs you plan to attend at SEMICON West this year, leave plenty of extra time to stop by our booth. We'll be looking for you. If you have not registered yet, here is a link to complimentary registration courtesy of Swagelok