How can Swagelok Northern California offer the most value for your company?
This 20 page PDF shows the best ways to use our custom solutions team to quickly and economically solve problems, and helps get you started. Get our Custom Solutions Handbook here »
It was not easy to limit ourselves to only ten, but here is our best effort.
10 We save you time by reducing your work load
9 Increase your labor utilization efficiency
8 We can reduce your purchasing cost, and overall costs
7 Reduce leakage and costly rework
6 Our professional engineering team is brilliant at deciphering and understanding napkin sketches
5 Cut down on your design and engineering time
4 Increase the safety and reliability of your system
3 Everything you need in a one-stop shop
2 We have deep application expertise across a wide range of industries
1 Swagelok limited lifetime warranty
Complete Swagelok Manufacturing support
Optional special cleaning and leak testing
Improve your start up and production time
We use only the highest quality components
We’ll burn the midnight oil to get the job done
We have 3D CAD capabilities to meet the unique needs of your application
Your assembly is built by people you trust - our Swagelok certified technicians
Save time by not having to source parts
Professional documentation and certification
Reduce the number of purchase orders and decrease your overall transaction costs
An Entertaining look at Swagelok Custom Solutions
For an entertaining and enlightening introduction to our Custom Solutions team, we've created a new animated video explaining how it all works. It stars a mustachioed fellow named William who runs a commercial operation here in Northern California, and who relies on a smooth-running fluid system.
Our video looks at how William used to experiment with in-house assembly solutions, and some of the problems he ran into. That includes getting stuck with wrong parts that got ordered, and scrap when the components weren't assembled right the first time.
Then you'll see how much better life gets for William once he decides to have Swagelok Northern California assemble his components from A to Z. They arrive at his door completed, tested, and put together in a high-quality fashion.
When you are done watching William, learn more about what our Custom Solutions team can do for you.
This major new edition now available in softcover and as a free download
Request a copy of the definitive book on tube fittings written by the company that invented the tube fitting get more info »
Since its debut in 1963, the Swagelok Tube Fitter's Manual has been the industry standard. It's the result of extensive field research and laboratory studies conducted by Swagelok's research and development engineers, plus feedback we've received over the years from our customers. And the original author, Joe Callahan Jr., went on to become the president of Swagelok.
As technology has progressed, Swagelok updated the manual in the '70s, '80s and '90s. Now a new revision is being made available, both in a softcover edition and as a free internet download.
The latest edition now includes information on metallurgy, innovations in product design, advanced manufacturing processes, and selecting tube fittings for severe service requirements.
More than fittings
The Swagelok Tube Fitter’s Manual is intended to provide a quick reference to technically accurate design and installation information so the user can avoid many of the problems encountered on tubing installation projects.
While the manual is primarily about Swagelok tube fittings, it also covers important aspects of tubing, valves, troubleshooting and pressure ratings. To take just one example, a tube fitting can do its job properly only if the tubing material is softer than the fitting material. So you wouldn't want to put stainless steel tubing in a brass fitting. Tubing wall thickness, proper handling, and proper layout are all covered in the manual as well.
There's also an entire chapter on the hidden cost of leakage.
The new edition maintains the manual’s respected, iconic status as “the Tube Fitter’s Bible” while positioning it as the premier multimedia reference source on tube fittings for Swagelok customers in the 21st century. To expand on the wealth of information in the manual, we added a QR code that links to important supplemental information, such as catalogs, publications or videos. If you'd like to request a complimentary softcover version to have handy in the field, click this link.
Revised and updated
Swagelok Company has updated and revised the content five times in the past 51 years, and now the entire 321 page 6th edition is available online in PDF format. The 10 chapters (and 3 appendices) cover the Swagelok® tube fitting itself, plus tubing specification and ordering, tubing and tube fitting handling and installation, severe service, troubleshooting, special purpose fittings, testing and evaluation of tube fitting performance, pipe threads, pressure ratings, the hidden costs of leakage, valves, and more.
As Callahan wrote in the original preface, "The well-known Swagelok two-ferrule fitting is the best tube fitting we know how to manufacture; however, proper installation and use of high quality tubing will go far to ensure leak-free connections."
Any complex system will have its share of challenges. The manual has a whole chapter on troubleshooting to keep frustrations to a minimum.
If the tube will not go into the fitting, for instance, there could be any of a half-dozen causes from burrs on the end to simply using the wrong size tubing. If the system leaks, there is a good chance the fitting was not installed properly. The manual explains what to look for when the leak happens after initial installation, after reassembly following maintenance, and under high temperatures.
So take some time to request a copy and read a classic. You will get a better understanding of how Swagelok tube fittings work, and how to get the best performance out of them.
Our survey results are in, and our follow up survey is now live
For those of you that provided feedback on our last customer survey – Thank You. Your help on this project proved to be very helpful and insightful. We value and appreciate your time and input!
We listened to you and learned from you. Our team pored over the data, analyzing the information and reading every comment that you made.
We would like to share with you what you told us and also show you how we’re going to take action on your valuable input, so we can serve you even more effectively.
Here’s what we learned from you:
First, you showed us areas in which we excel. We are humbled by the fact that 98.73% of you said you were satisfied with Swagelok Northern California, overall (Figure 1).
Additionally, 98% of you would recommend us to your peers or other users of critical fluid system components (Figure 2). Our team is extremely proud of these statistics.
When we delved more deeply into your experiences with us, we found that nearly 98% of you believe we provide products of the highest quality. We also found out that over 96% of you indicated that it is easy to do business with Swagelok Northern California (Figure 3).
As great as those numbers are, we promise to do everything in our power to ensure we honor that sentiment by continuing to serve you at the highest level.
In addition to providing feedback on the areas in which we excel, you also showed us where we can improve. We plan to address those issues right away. For example, 87% of you felt that we provide premium service and 81% of you said that you get the information you need instantly (Figure 3). Although most companies would celebrate these high numbers and may “rest on their laurels”, we will use this information as an impetus to improve in each of these areas.
Also, the majority (68%) of you reported that you would, in fact, utilize a “live chat” feature on our website (Figure 4).
Given that finding, we’re excited to announce that we will implement that feature as soon as possible, hopefully by the beginning of next year. We believe that this convenient tool can be used to make it even easier to get the quick technical support you need and answer other questions you may have.
Lastly, we realize that having instant access to the information you need is important to you and with an 81% score we need to improve. The “live chat” feature mentioned above will help but you also asked us to look at our website.
In order to make sure that we understand what features of the website are most important to you along with how you are currently using our site and other supplier sites, we have developed a follow up survey that focuses on your needs from our website. Your input on how we can make that tool more effective is critical.
Here is the link to our follow up survey: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/XWXNPV9
The response to our last survey was outstanding, and we hope to get even better participation in this follow up survey.
Again, we want to thank you for your valuable feedback. The data you have provided and will provide will help us to improve our service to you as we strive to “Be Your Favorite Story”.
Our video series took a quick look at our uniquely flexible PTFE hose
In this burst from the past video, we demonstrate how Swagelok is setting new standards in hose flexibility with its newer line of PTFE hoses that feature Swagelok’s unique non-metallic fiber braiding technology that gives the PTFE core greater resistance to collapsing and kinking when being bent.
Then, we install Swagelok F Series PTFE Hose into our burst chamber and ask viewers to guess When Will It Burst?
The video also includes a few tips on how to get the best performance from hose without it collapsing or kinking on the job.
Learn about Swagelok's uniquely flexible PTFE hose in this fun video and then download resources on hose selection or the Swagelok hose catalog and selection quick-look guides.
Swagelok PTFE Hose
Swagelok has four series of PTFE hoses manufactured with non-metallic fiber braiding reinforcement bonded to the PTFE core. This unique braiding technology creates a more flexible hose with greater resistance to collapsing and kinking when being bent.
Choose the one that's right for your application
Choose from Swagelok F, X, S, or W Series PTFE Hose.
The F Series hose is a PTFE hose constructed with Swagelok's unique braiding process that bonds a nonconductive fiber braid to the smooth bore PTFE core to support the core and resist kinking. It is commonly used where flexibility, chemical compatibility, and a nonconductive braid are desired.
The X Series hose is a PTFE hose is the F Series PTFE hose with a 304 stainless steel over-braid that protects the core from abrasion and enhances the hose's pressure rating and flexibility. It is commonly used where chemical compatibility and ultra-flexibility are desired.
The S Series PTFE hose is the X Series with a Silicone cover that provides smooth, non-contaminating, easy-to-clean surface and insulation from internal system fluid temperature extremes.
The W Series PTFE hose is the S Series with an internal insulating wrap that eliminates the need for external insulation in many applications. The W Series comes standard with smooth-bore, carbon black-filled PTFE core for applications that require static dissipation, and your choice of a red, black, blue or white silicone cover. Product Test Reports for W Series Hose »
Local custom fabrication
All of these hoses are available from Swagelok Northern California custom fabricated to the lengths your system requires with a wide variety of end connections to choose from. If one of these four hoses will not work for your application, take a look at Swagelok's sixteen other hose series to find one that will in the Swagelok Hose Catalog. Swagelok Northern California is here to help you find the right hose for your application.
But how does that reinforcement help the hose perform?
Specifically, in this video, we asked viewers to guess at what pressure a half-inch Swagelok F Series PTFE hose will burst.
Watch the video to find out the working pressure and minimum burst pressure, jot down your guess, then watch the next video to find out how close you are to the correct burst pressure.
Have a little fun while you learn about Swagelok PTFE hose and how to prevent hoses from kinking.
You can watch all the latest When Will It Burst? videos starting with the contest intro video here »
Take another look at last year's When Will It Burst? video on hose selection
Last year, we created a series of videos and burst contests called When Will It Burst? Here is a burst from the past from our When Will It Burst? video, Four Steps to Choosing a Hose. In the video, you will learn about the four main components to consider when choosing a hose. After you watch the video, you can download the hose selection resources that inspired the video here »
Quick-turn hose assembly
Over ten years ago, we installed a hose fabrication cell at our original Sunnyvale location, so we could locally and quickly make several of our hoses for our customers. Since that first hose assembly cell, Swagelok has doubled the number of hoses in our product offering, and we have expanded our local hose fabrication capabilities as well. We have a dedicated team of full-time technicians certified by Swagelok manufacturing engineers. To get Swagelok certified, they have to produce three samples of every kind of hose we build, and each one is put through destructive testing.
We have also increased our knowledge of hose and helped develop custom hose solutions for customers here in Northern California. Here are two examples, one in the pharmaceutical industry and the other in the semiconductor industry.
The right hose
So while we were having fun bursting things in our When Will It Burst? video contest, we also know that the right hose keeps your process performing safely and cost effectively. The wrong hose could undermine your operations, put personnel at risk and compromise your bottom-line — sometimes without you being aware of it. For example, an improperly chosen hose may kink. This permanent buckling disrupts system media flow and creates a rupture threat. However, kinked hoses aren't easily detected, so prevention through proper hose selection is essential.
So, we hold seminars from time to time about the proper selection and use of hose. We also blog about hose and hose selection regularly, and we have even been known to do free lunch and learns about hose at customer sites.
Which brings us right back to "When Will It Burst?" In this edition, we talk about the four components to consider when choosing a hose, and then we burst some hose. Have fun watching, and don't forget, we can help you choose the right hose and quickly build it for you to your exact specifications.
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 »