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Each week a member of our local team posts a tip or update for northern California & northwestern Nevada fluid system pros.

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Here is a Quick Look at Swagelok Northern California


A fast visual resource for must know info about Swagelok Northern California

Swagelok Northern California Quick Look
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. 

Pop quiz

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 »

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Swagelok Pressure Regulator Assemblies Swagelok Hose Assembly Services

Steam Systems Best Practice: Flash Steam Recovery, Part 2


Flash steam recovery for non-modulating applications, a flash tank

Flash Steam Recovery from Non Modulating Applications
Non-modulating steam condition means there is no control valve modulating steam flow to the process. To learn more, read the entire best practice and download the PDF »

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

Decisions, decisions

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.

Additional Resources

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Plan Your Steam System Success eBook Steam Systems Engineer Site Visit  

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Meet the Customer Service Manager of Swagelok Northern California


Markisha Greggs is always looking for ways to make improvements 

Markisha Greggs
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.
Swagelok Northern California 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

Lifelong learning

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."


 Additional Resources

Swagelok Services  Rod Fallow  Greg Wittkopf
Swagelok Northern California Services Meet our President Meet our Director of Operations 

Here is a Quick Tour of the Swagelok Booth at SEMICON West 2015


Here's what you will see when you come by and visit us at the Swagelok booth

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
Source Gas-Box
                     Source Gas Box
  • 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 Exhaust
Point of Use               Exhaust

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.

Latest innovations

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.

extreme-temperature-hose zero-emission-&-replaceable-seat-valves
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

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Preview What Will Be on Display at the Swagelok Booth at SEMICON West


We're bringing some new items to show off at Moscone Center in San Francisco

Swagelok Semicon Booth 2014
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.

And more

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 

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Swagelok Northern California Is Going for a Ride with SuperSonic Car


Bloodhound's tail fin will sport names of all Swagelok Northern California associates

This 30 second video debuted in Northeast Ohio during the 2015 Super Bowl. It features Swagelok's support of the Bloodhound SuperSonic car's pursuit of the land speed record.

We thought we'd post a progress report on the supersonic car we first mentioned back in February. The British-designed Bloodhound is destined to become the world's fastest car when it takes to the road later this year and in 2016, attempting a new land speed record of 1,000 mph.

Swagelok fittings, hoses, pressure regulators and valves will help driver Andy Green get up to speed quickly and stop safely. As the holder of the current record of 736 mph, the Royal Air Force wing commander is ideally suited for the job.

So far this year the project has almost reached the end of the component design phase. Several key parts have already been fitted, including the titanium nose cone. Green’s seat has arrived and been trial fitted into the car. (The last thing he needs to worry about is an uncomfortable seat when the car's rockets and jet engine fire up.)

Group participation

One of the most prominent features, the car's tall tail fin, has been riveted together. The tail fin will get some extra decoration when it comes time for final assembly. The names of every Swagelok Northern California associate will be written on the fin. So in our own small way, we'll be on board for the historic event.

Swagelok Northern California made a donation on behalf of each associate in support of the Bloodhound team's quest to break the land speed record. In return, the team in Bristol has been kind enough to provide a certificate to each associate, signed by Green and project director Richard Noble. You, too, can support and be a part of the adventure to 1000 mph. If you would like to contribute to the quest, here is a link to the Bloodhound SuperSonic Car's donation page.

Bloodhound Certificate

We can't guarantee that our names will help the car go any faster, but thinking about our contribution sure gets our hearts racing.

In the video below, you can see how Swagelok products and associates are supporting the Bloodhound team leading up to test runs in 2015 and the record attempt in 2016. You may not be trying to break the land speed record, but that does not mean your fluid systems are any less important to you or us.

Let us know how we can provide support to your applications. We are here to help.


Additional Resources

Swagelok Regulator Assemblies  Swagelok services  swagelok hose solutions
Swagelok Regulator Assemblies Swagelok Northern California Services Swagelok Hose Assemblies

Our Swagelok Regulator Assembly Program Speeds Up Delivery


With so many configurations, more than one can often handle the job

Swagelok Regulator Assemblies
Learn more about our quick-turn regulator assemblies and get the catalog here »

Swagelok regulators come in an amazing variety of configurations. The K Series regulator can be configured about 10 million ways. We're not kidding. With all the different combinations of control ranges, body materials, inlet pressures, seat materials, sensing mechanisms and other factors, you literally can build millions of K Series valves without making two that are identical. Even our KPR Series, which is our general purpose regulator, could be built in about 2 million configurations.

That's fantastic when you need a very specific configuration to fit a very specific need. But what if some of the specifics don't matter all that much? What if you just need a general purpose regulator and you need it fast?

Neil Ide recently considered that challenge. He's our product manager for custom solutions, but in an earlier part of his career he was one of our customers. He remembered the days when, as a customer, he would ask for a specific configuration of regulator, which rarely seemed to be in stock, since even Swagelok Northern California can't keep millions of different regulators on the shelves.

Cutting through the clutter

The more he got to thinking about it, the more Ide realized that not every customer needs a highly individual combination of features. It seemed logical that most people are looking for a small range of parameters.

Ide had a team dig through Swagelok Northern California's business management software and pull up five years of data on customer requests for quotes on K Series regulators. He built an algorithm to decode the 16-digit part number that indicates the specific configuration of each regulator, and sorted out the parameters that most people were looking for.

"From there I took that data and used a histogram analysis to count the number of times that each parameter popped up," Ide says. "What came out was a very distinctive pattern that showed most people want around six different variations for what they are trying to do with pressure regulators."

Armed with that knowledge, we put regulator inventory on the shelves that would allow us to rapidly deliver that small cluster of popular features.

But wait, there's more

Had we stopped there, we would have made a lot of progress in better serving our customers.
Corey Gould, Customer Support Representative, put his budding software design skills to work on turning Ide’s standardized regulator configurations into an easy to use computer program that Swagelok Northern California customer support personnel could use to quickly configure and quote a regulator assembly.

By combining Ide's regulator configurations with Gould's newly created Regulator Configurator, we can now offer 24-hour turnaround on regulators that would fit about 80 percent of the requests we have had in the past five years. The beautiful part is that we haven't lost any of the variety that Swagelok offers. You can still order the exact configuration you need, even if no one else has ever ordered it before.

It's easy to take advantage of both the simplicity and the wide range of possibilities. Just click here to download our product literature on regulator assemblies.


Additional Resources

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Quick-Turn Custom Hose Assemblies  Swagelok Pressure Regulator Catalogs Monthly Training Seminars

SEMI Americas President Karen Savala Previews SEMICON West 2015


Exploring what's new and examining the impact on Semiconductor Manufacturing

Find out more about SEMICON West and register to attend the show free courtesy of Swagelok here » 

When you come to SEMICON West to keep up with the news of the industry, we hope you'll stop by the Swagelok Company SEMI booth (#1329) in the South Hall. We'll be there through the entire event, July 14-16 at Moscone Center in San Francisco.

Catching Up with Industry Progress: Priceless

By Karen Savala, president, SEMI Americas

Each year, we implement improvements at SEMICON West to ensure that it best serves the needs of the industry. Our goal is to continuously improve the exposition and bring fresh, relevant content to our exhibitors and visitors.

One of the transitions we’ve initiated is to focus more on our conference programs. We’ve increased the level of technical and business content to enable attendees to leverage their SEMICON West experience as an opportunity for learning. The focus of our programs is to explore what is new and to assess the impact on semiconductor manufacturing. We invite you to join us to converge with industry leaders and discuss strategic issues.

As our industry matures, our vision is that SEMICON West continues to serve as a forum where customers and suppliers meet together to explore new solutions. We’ll be taking a leading role in providing information to enable industry leaders to assess the business, identify new opportunities and to develop strategic plans. Our increased emphasis on programs reflects this transition.

We are pleased to feature several new programs this year that serve to inform our attendees.


We’re partnering with IEEE Electron Devices Society and Semiconductor Research Corporation (SRC) to bring you a program on interconnect challenges. Our session speakers will describe the nature of challenges in materials and processing of advanced interconnects. They will also assess the impact on circuit and system requirements and provide a glimpse of potential new approaches.

Dr. Mehul Naik of Applied Materials and Dr. James Clarke of Intel will present “Interconnect Performance and Yield Challenges for 7nm and Beyond”. This will be followed by a presentation on interconnect reliability challenges by Dr. Larry Zhao of Lam Research. The session will also cover “CMOS Circuit Impact of Interconnects – CU and Beyond” by Dr. Azan Naeemi of the Georgia Institute of Technology and “3DIC Technology Past, Present and Future by Dr. Ramakanth Alapati of Global Foundries.

The afternoon session will include presentations on “Silicon Photonic Interconnection Networks for Energy Efficient Scalable Data Movement in High-Performance Computing”, “Interconnects for Emerging Beyond CMOS Devices and Circuits” and “Interconnects for Flexible/Stretchable Circuits”.

To close the program, we’ll be exploring revolutionary new approaches to interconnects in a session titled “Interconnect Lessons from the Brain” by Dr. John Rabaey of UC Berkeley.

We’re looking forward to bringing this exciting program on interconnects to SEMICON West.

Photolithography and Transistor Scaling

Another great program will focus on photolithography and device scaling issues. Each year, our industry makes progress on EUV. Join us as we examine what has changed, and what new approaches have been developed to extend the lifetime of existing technologies. Our photolithography session features industry thought leaders from Nikon, ASML, GLOBALFOUNDRIES, Canon Nanotechnologies, Photronics, SEMATECH and CEA Leti.

The afternoon session will explore transistor scaling. Industry leaders will discuss high volume manufacturing solutions. Speakers include An Steegen of imec, Christophe Maleville of Soitec, Raj Jammy of Intermolecular, Harmeet Singh of Lam Research, Ofer Adan of Applied Materials and Juan Rey of Mentor Graphics.

Supply Chain Strategy

Our programs will also examine strategic business issues. One of our most popular programs with show registrants to date focuses on “Semiconductor Manufacturing: Current Challenges and Future Opportunities for the Semiconductor Supply Chain” and “Adjacent Spaces: Strategies for Executing Expansion into Adjacent Markets from the Semiconductor Supply Chain.

Co-sponsored by SEMATECH, this program will address the technological and financial challenges in semiconductor process technology and manufacturing, and explore strategies used by semiconductor OEMs to grow their businesses.


We’re pleased to offer several outstanding Back End programs. In our Tuesday, July 14, program on Packaging, we’ll start the morning looking at Packaging from a big picture standpoint. After an introduction by Sesh Ramaswami of Applied Materials, we’ll start with an ITRS 2.0 update from Bill Bottoms of 3MTS. This will be followed by presentations on “Development at the Chip Level” by Bryan Black of AMD, “Development at the System Level” by Sridhar Vajapey of Oracle, a presentation on “Big Picture Systems Managing Big Data, and a panel discussion on “Value vs. Cost”

The afternoon session on packaging will cover “Digital Health and Semiconductor Technology.” Topics will include semiconductor and packaging technologies for medical health devices and systems, technologies for wearable devices, technologies for sensors and actuators, and applications in drug delivery. Speakers will include Dr. Jonathan Tong of Medicustek, Dr. Shawn Shi of Medtronic, Jonathan Short of GE and Dr. Ilyas Mohammed of Jawbone.


Our Test sessions will run Wednesday and Thursday, July 15 and 16. The keynote speaker, Kaivan Karimi, Vice President and General Manager of Wireless Solutions at Atmel, will present “How the Era of IoT will Impact the Semiconductor and Cloud Markets”

Other speakers will include Brad Shaffer of IHS Technology, who will present “The LTE Era: Innovation Through Evolution – The Wireless Transformation from Smart to Genius and Beyond, and Thomas Burger of AMS, who will present “Sensor Test Challenges and Outlook”.

The Test program will cover three sessions: Wireless Test in the IoT Era, Unique Test Flows for New Cost Challenges and Advanced Packaging, Advanced Test Challenges.

The program also brings industry thought leaders together for two panel sessions. The first panel will focus wireless test in the IoT Era, and will feature Paul Berndt of Cypress, Gerard John of Amkor, John Luke of LitePoint and John Shelley of Xcerra.

The second panel will discuss “How Secure is YOUR Test Data, Really?” This panel will feature Gerard John of Amkor, Gil Levy of Optimal+, Mark Roos of Roos Instruments and other industry leaders.

SEMICON West - Enabling Industry Success

Our vision is that SEMICON West continues to serve as an enabler, helping our industry stakeholders to be successful. The transition to stronger programming, with less emphasis on large, on site display of capital equipment, reflects the changing needs of the industry.

We’re quite pleased to offer such an exciting set of technical and business programs and hope that you can join us in exploring strategic issues, discovering new technologies and discussing new solutions at SEMICON West 2015.


Meet Our Swagelok® Custom Solutions Product Manager, Neil Ide


When customers have an idea for custom equipment, Ide helps make it a reality

How to Conduct a Successful Compressed Air System Analysis
Learn what Neil Ide and our Custom Solutions team can do for you in our Custom Solutions Handbook here » 

Visitors to our Will-Call desk have the opportunity to see displays that are the work of one of our team members: Neil Ide. As our product manager, Custom Solutions, he's designed and built a showcase for our products and how they work. It's not the biggest part of his job, but will be one of the most visible to visitors.

"It has been an interesting challenge because up to now most of my engineering focus has been on process piping systems, electricity distribution and controls, and pneumatics," he says.

Though he joined us only a little over a year ago, we've known Ide for years as a Swagelok customer. He had been equipment manager for Bloom Energy, a startup that makes power generation systems based on fuel cells. It was Ide's job to work with the R&D science teams to develop and build test equipment.

"I really liked the high quality products that Swagelok made, and I liked the caliber of the people I worked with in the organization," Ide says.

Tony De Luca, our director of sales and marketing, had very similar thoughts. When we decided to add the role of product manager, Custom Solutions to take our custom solutions program to a higher level, he gave Ide a call.

Ide liked working for Bloom, but was looking for new opportunities. Here was a chance to work for an organization that was small enough that he could make an impact, yet backed by the global resources of Swagelok.

"I really wanted to get involved in growing a department," Ide says.

Early inclinations

Ide has always been fascinated by the technical side of things. Yes, he was one of those kids who always took things apart to see what made them go. Fortunately, his family made sure he was well supplied with items that had already outlived their usefulness. From there he went on to build things in the garage with his father, and with his Boy Scout troop. When he grew up, Ide went into the Navy, where he served on submarines as a nuclear plant operator.

Having that kind of experience behind him, Ide felt no intimidation coming to Swagelok Northern California. He's building up our custom solutions program to handle more complex assemblies. As for the display in the Will-Call area, it's more than just decoration.

"When customers come into Will-Call, they may not always be aware of the wide range of products and services that Swagelok Northern California can offer," Ide says. "Nothing helps show the product like a nice display."

But there will be a functional element as well. The display will help educate the customers on the different types of fittings available to them and how they are deployed in the industry. Ide intends to include a touchscreen interface so that customers can get specific information on various Swagelok products.

Another one of Ide's projects has been our new Customer Briefing Center, an entire room full of process piping equipment, all to serve an imitation nuclear reactor. (Don't worry, ours runs on compressed air and water.) For each step in the process, Swagelok has a line of products that support the operation: gas panels, water distribution, utility supply and more. The CBC really gets to the heart of our custom solutions capabilities.

Ideas become reality

"The biggest long-range goal I have is to help us aggressively expand our custom solutions business," Ide says. "Being a former customer, part of the perspective I bring is that I didn't even realize Swagelok was getting into this business, to build more integrated assemblies that use Swagelok components. My account manager said, 'We can build a distribution panel for you,' and I was amazed at the pricing that was quoted to me. It was one of the best prices I had ever been given for a panel."

When a customer has an idea of what they want a piece of equipment to do, Ide leads the team that will turn that idea into reality. Sometimes that basic idea can be as simple as a drawing on a napkin. But Ide has a "yes we can" attitude. He will not only figure out how to make it work, he'll do it the most cost-effective way possible using the best components for the job. And he'll constantly think of ways to improve it.

"Engineering is an iterative process. Anybody who thinks they are going to get it right on the first try hasn't been at it for very long," Ide says. "You start with Good and take it to Great.”

Learn what Neil and our Custom Solutions team can do for you in our Custom Solutions Handbook here » 


Additional Resources

swagelok custom solutions  swagelok hose solutions  
Swagelok Custom Solutions Video          Swagelok Hose Solutions  

Steam Systems Best Practice: Flash Steam Recovery, Part 1


Vent condensers save steam - and money - on modulating applications

industrial steam system
Depending on the installation costs, plants will typically recover the cost of a flash steam vent condenser within ten operational months. Download this best practice to learn more »  

In our last Steam Systems Best Practice blog, we discussed how anytime flash steam is venting to the atmosphere, money is escaping right along with it. It's not much different than turning up the furnace and opening a window. Even if a company is willing to waste resources in this way, tighter emissions regulations still add pressure to fix the problem. 

In a modulating steam system, a control valve modulates steam flow to the process. The steam control valve always maintains a steam pressure to the process above the pressure in the condensate recovery system. Thus, the design requires recovery of condensate by a gravity system (0 psig). The venting of the flash steam ensures that the condensate receiver is never pressurized. To prevent the flash steam loss to the atmosphere, plants install devices such as “flash steam vent condensers” in the flash steam vent line.

It's an added cost, of course, but it results in even greater added savings as the boilers aren't using energy to heat replacement fluid. For most plants the payback time is only about 10 months.

Step by step

As with any other part of a steam system, there are best practices surrounding the addition of vent condensers. The basic road map is: 

1. Find and document the different flash steam vent lines that are discharging into the atmosphere. 

2. Determine the flash steam loss to the atmosphere. 

3. Calculate the projected energy loss and emissions reduction. 

4. Determine what types of cooling fluids are available. 

5. Install a condensate tank with a vent condenser. 

Within that general outline, however, there are a lot of details to consider. Let's take just one area: the fluid for the condenser. As a general consideration, it must have a temperature of less than 160°F (71°C). The fluid may be a liquid or vapor, depending on the application. If there isn't enough cooling fluid for the flash steam in a liquid cooling system, then the plant should consider using a flash steam bypass or some other method to prevent the cooling liquid from absorbing too much energy and changing from a liquid to a vapor and causing water hammer. 

Then there is the pressure in the condensate tank to consider, plus the flow rates of the condensate, flash steam and cooling fluid. 

In other words, there are many parts to fit together. Fortunately, the consultants at Swagelok Energy Advisors are experts in steam systems and are glad to come to your site to help you navigate the best route to a more efficient and economical steam system.

Click here to read the complete steam system best practice: Vent Condensers for Flash Steam on Modulating Steam Systems and download a free, illustrated, three-page PDF of best practices related to flash steam recovery in modulating applications.


Additional Resources

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