Like pro ball players, we all need good coaching to help sharpen our skills
Thursday, May 7th, a recognized world authority on steam systems, Kelly Paffel, will be at Swagelok Northern California conducting steam system training get more info »
This spring, Swagelok Northern California is offering several opportunities for you and your team to brush up on your skills and learn something new. In May, we are offering our Tube Fitting Safety Seminar, Tube Bending Seminar, and a full day of training on Steam System reliability, safety and optimization.
We have written previously about our training, and how it is known for being as good as the components we manufacture. Our trainers are Swagelok certified with industry experience ranging from 15 to 40+ years. Past attendees have commented on how knowledgeable our trainers are, how they weave real world examples into the training, and how the hands on nature of the training helps them apply it immediately to their jobs.
Steam system training
Our May 7th Steam System Training is geared towards the Pharmaceutical and Biopharm industries. If you are in those industries, you do not want to miss this opportunity to be trained by Kelly Paffel, Technical Manager, Swagelok Energy Advisors, Inc. Paffel is a recognized worldwide authority in industrial steam systems with 41 years of experience in steam, compressed air systems and power operations. He is an experienced lecturer who has published many technical papers on the topics of steam and compressed air system design and operation. He is known throughout the world for writing “Steam System Best Practices” that are used by plants and engineers to insure proper operation of steam and condensate systems. The course is coming soon and filling up quick.
You can learn more about the upcoming steam system training course here »
If you are not in one of those industries, you can check out our other steam system training courses here » If we get enough inquiries, we can bring Paffel back for another steam system training course.
Tube fitting safety
Why do offer our tube fitting safety seminar? Because people seldom think much about tube fittings until there is a failure in the system. For most customers a failure is normally defined as a leak. In some cases a leak may be only a minor inconvenience, but there are times when a leak can be a safety problem. We know from experience that by employing the techniques provided in the Tube Fitting Safety Seminar most of this leakage can be prevented. In May, we are offering the Tube Fitting Safety Seminar for 1/2 price. You can learn more here »
Bend it like Swagelok
Tube bending is a skill that is normally passed from a craftsman to an apprentice. As a supplier of high quality tube benders and tube preparation tools, we offer this class to provide a training resource that demystifies one aspect of fluid system fabrication. Knowledgeable, skilled technicians help increase productivity and reduce waste and scrap. Some customers have reported throwing away tens of thousands of dollars in tubing scrap which can be avoided by learning calculating bends in advance.
Mike Carrier, who attended a Tube Bending seminar, said he came because "I wanted to learn the proper techniques of bending and measuring so I can apply what I learned directly to my job." He said he appreciated learning the math to determine where to mark the tubing for bends, eliminate guesswork, and reduce the amount of tubing scrap. You can learn more here »
Get the right tools
They say a craftsman is only as good as his tools. If you are going to invest in the right tools for the job, it only makes sense to take care of your investment. Yet far too many people simply toss their tools into a big box on the back of their truck. The tools rattle around and get lost under other tools or even worse damaged. So, we’re offering a nice incentive to take care of your tools. Buy the Swagelok Tube Fitter's Toolbox for $1,699 and get free admittance to two Swagelok training seminars (up to a $258 value). Learn how the Swagelok Tube Fitter's Toolbox is engineered to get the job done here »
Swagelok Northern California announced as a finalist in the small companies category of the 2015 Bay Area Best Places to Work
You can read the full San Francisco Business Times article here »
We were thrilled that Swagelok Northern California was honored this past Tuesday night during a gala event at the Hilton San Francisco Union Square. In front of a sell-out crowd, the San Francisco Business Times and Silicon Valley Business Journal revealed our company as one of the Bay Area Best Places to Work 2015 winners.
The companies on the list were being recognized for having exceptional workplaces that their employees value highly. Best Places to Work companies prioritize practices, culture and values that drive engagement.
Our President, Rod Fallow, his wife and our Director of Philanthropy, Rebecca Fallow, along with our Director of Sales and Marketing, Tony De Luca and his wife, Shannon De Luca, were in attendance to find out where our company ranked on the list. In the small companies category, 25 companies rose to the top and were revealed as winners, with Swagelok Northern California earning a place in the top 5. Representatives from each of the top ten companies in each business size category were invited on stage to accept the award and give a ten word acceptance speech. Rod Fallow accepted the award on behalf of Swagelok Northern California, saying, "Humbled, grateful, and fortunate to work with an incredible team." Ten words exactly!
For details on what makes Swagelok Northern California a great place to work, read the full San Francisco Business Times article here »
We are excited about SNC Drones — a future delivery system from Swagelok Northern California designed to safely get packages into customers' hands in 24 hours or less using large unmanned honey bees.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Is this science fiction or is this real?
A: It looks like science fiction, but it's unreal. One day, seeing SNC drones will be as normal as seeing delivery trucks on the road.
Q: When will I be able to choose SNC Drone as a delivery option?
A: We will deploy when we have the regulatory support and the number of trained drones needed to realize our vision. We’re excited about this delivery system and one day using it to deliver packages to customers around Northern California in 24 hours or less (our current drones have a range of 360 miles in 24 hours due to their average flight speed of 15 miles per hour).
Q: How are you going to ensure safety?
A: Safety is our top priority, and our drones, like all drones, will be stinger free.
Q: Where are you training and testing?
A: We have SNC Drone apiaries in Fremont and Fresno, and we are testing in multiple climates throughout Northern California and northwestern Nevada.
Okay, obviously we don't have drones in training, but we do have a 99% Ship to Promise Track Record.
Our vision is to be our customer's favorite story. Please click here and let us know how we are doing.
(No honey bees were harmed in the writing of this article)
Additional Resources (No Foolin' Here)
On April 15th, we're offering our two-hour Tube Fitting Safety Seminar for only $15 each instead of $149
Join us Wednesday, April 15th at our Tax day special $15 Tube Fitting Safety Seminar. Space is limited. Sign up now! »
As you sweat over your taxes this month, Swagelok Northern California wants to give your company a break: Two solid hours of professional training, plus lunch, for only $15. We figured that since we can't give you a tax deduction directly, we'd do it by lopping $134 off the standard cost.
Think about it: Corporate tax rates vary from 15 to 35 percent. To cut your company's taxes by $134 you'd have to come up with anywhere from $383 to $893 worth of deductions. We give you the same result without having to fill out any IRS forms.
Such a deal
Even if you don't like to think about taxes (neither do we), think about how far $15 would normally stretch. You'd be lucky to get four lattes or a pair of movie tickets. It won't even cover an oil change.
But during April, that same $15 will get something of real value for your company.
Tube fitting class
First, there's our Swagelok Tube Fitting Safety Seminar. We call it a safety seminar because failure to properly install a tube fitting can pose real hazards. Our fittings are sometimes used in lines supplying toxic gasses to machinery. A bad seal exposes people to dangerous fumes. Some of our fittings are used in lines that run caustic chemicals. A leak can damage other equipment and cost thousands of dollars for repair. Even a simple water leak could lead someone to slip and fall.
While it's not difficult to properly install a Swagelok tube fitting, not everyone gets the message or remembers it. When we ask people in our training class to describe the right way to do it, we often get a lot of different answers. Maybe they were taught the wrong technique years ago, or maybe after years of doing the job the installation instructions have been forgotten. One of the biggest temptations is to tighten the fitting "by feel." Our April 15 class includes hands-on demonstrations showing why that's the wrong approach. (By the way, can you name all the components in a Swagelok tube fitting?)
We offer the training seminar monthly, but we've never offered it at $15 each. Sign up now, and then you can get back to those IRS forms.
Tube bending class
One day later, on April 16, we'll hold our Tube Bending Seminar. Good tube fabrication techniques can improve system performance and enhance the quality of a system. This skill often is passed on from craftsman to apprentice. That's great if you are learning from someone who really knows what he's doing. But how can you be sure he does?
With Swagelok's two-hour class, there's no guesswork. Again, the basics of tube bending are not difficult to grasp. But there's a lot more to learn than just bending a tube. For instance, it's important to be able to calculate the exact length of tubing you need for the job. Some companies have to scrap thousands of dollars of tubing each year because somebody couldn't get it right on the first try.
Since it is no longer tax day, you won’t get a tax break on this class, but at only $149 each (lunch included), you will quickly recoup the cost in productivity and scrap reduction. Sign up now!
With the help of our Application Support team, SEEO is saving time and money
Need help solving a fluid system problem. Our Application Support team is here to help Learn more »
For its new generation of high-tech batteries, SEEO Inc. in Hayward demands a lot from its research and manufacturing equipment. SEEO's DryLyte electric storage devices are nothing like the AA batteries that run so many of our tech tools and toys. The DryLyte products deliver 160 volts to 320 volts, and are designed for applications such as telephone backup power, or running electric vehicles.
SEEO's R&D processes include filtering a viscous polymer solution before supplying it to the rest of the system. The company had been using syringe pumps and disposable membrane filters, but the syringe pump could not handle the high viscosity of the polymer. Membrane filters were clogging every 10 minutes, which sometimes resulted in a safety shutdown. To keep the downtime to a minimum, someone had to sit right next to the pumps, monitor the process and replace filters.
The company was spending hundreds of dollars a day replacing clogged filters, and tens of thousands of dollars in manpower that could be put to better use elsewhere.
Cleaner and faster
Scott Mullin, senior scientist at SEEO, came to Swagelok Northern California for help. We connected him with Neil Ide, product manager for Custom Solutions, and Annamarie Armstrong from our inside sales team, to discuss the details of the application. Ide suggested a new design that did away with syringe pumps, and used components that included a Swagelok filter and pressurized gas.
The new solution was in place in a matter of months. A process that used to take two to six hours now takes only 15 to 30 minutes, with perhaps one filter change. It does not have to be monitored as closely as the old system, and the filter clogs much less frequently. SEEO is saving money on filters, and has recaptured lost productivity by taking one of its people off monitoring duty.
"We are very happy with our setup," Mullin says. "It's saved us a lot of time and probably a lot of money as well, both in having less consumables, and because we had a filter pump die that we no longer need to replace. They run about $2,000."
As SEEO perfects its R&D process, the company hopes to create a large-scale version that will involve gallons of polymer at a time. Mullin already expects to seek out more advice from Swagelok when he reaches that point.
"I can't thank Annamarie and Neil enough," Mullin says. "The help and persistence was very valuable to us. I don't think we would have found such a clean and quick solution without Swagelok Northern California."
Standing by to help
Whether your business involves semiconductors, biopharmaceuticals, metallurgy or fluoropolymers, we have engineers and scientists that can support you. They can help you get the best systems for manufacturing, maintenance, repair and operation.
Not only can we suggest designs, we can save you hours of development, design, and drawing time with downloadable 2D and 3D CAD template drawings.
You may have been using a component that's no longer made, or one that was manufactured by a company that no longer exists. Swagelok Northern California’s can help you find viable alternatives. Or we can team up with your organization to prototype and develop components that will get the job done.
It's easy to explore your options. Contact our application support team online. Ask us a question, and we'll respond by phone or email.
"Blowing off a little steam" may be good for people, but it's bad for steam systems
Steam follows certain rules of temperature and volume. For instance, consider what happens when high-pressure condensate is discharged into a lower pressure area such as a condensate return line, a flash tank, or some other system. The steam travels from one environment to another through a steam trap, a control valve or some other device. As it enters the lower pressure environment, heat energy is released, causing some of the condensate to re-evaporate into steam. This release is called “flashing,” and the resulting steam is called “flash steam.”
Flash steam can cause a wide range of headaches. It wastes energy, and requires more make-up water. That inefficiency can slice tens of thousands of dollars off the company's bottom line, maybe even hundreds of thousands of dollars. Even if you didn't lose a dime on flash steam, it can cause water hammer if not properly piped.
There are ways to recover flash steam. A lot depends on whether you have a modulating or non-modulating steam system. We'll cover each set of circumstances in future posts in this series. In the meantime, it pays to understand flash steam.
Click here to read the complete steam system best practice: Flash Steam: Are You Venting (Flash) Steam to Atmosphere? and download a free, illustrated, three-page PDF of this best practice on flash steam. It includes the mathematical formulas to help you figure out what flash steam is costing you.
Lam Research rewards outstanding performance, commitment, and collaboration
Swagelok has won a Supplier Excellence Award from Lam Research Corporation, a major global provider of innovative wafer fabrication equipment and services to the semiconductor industry. Swagelok was one of only six companies around the world to achieve the award.
These awards were based on pre-defined standards, including on-time delivery, quality, cost reduction, and several areas of flexibility and support. More than that, though, the winners stood out for their willingness to exceed performance requirements, according to Lam.
Swagelok has been supplying parts to Lam since 1980, the year Lam was founded. We currently supply Lam with a wide range of valves, fittings, tubing, hoses, pressure gauges and custom solutions assemblies.
"Earning Lam’s Supplier Excellence Award is a wonderful accomplishment," said Rod Fallow, president of Swagelok Northern California.
The award was not just for Swagelok Northern California, it is actually for Swagelok Company in Ohio and all the sales and service centers that work with Lam. Supporting Lam is a team effort.
"The team back there has performed miracles on numerous occasions to manufacture and expedite products to make sure Lam was able to meet their commitments to their customers," Fallow said. "In addition, they have on numerous occasions shared their knowledge and collaborated with Lam vice presidents, engineers, scientists, quality teams, and supply chain managers to provide even more value."
Locally, Josh Herndon and Mike Valentine manage the overall relationship with Lam and work to uncover opportunities where we can help them improve their business in some way. But Fallow was quick to emphasize that working with Lam is a team effort: Christine Anderson acting as our primary point of contact for customer service to Lam, Gabe Barron and the Custom Solutions team managing the quoting, Neil Ide working work with Lam engineers to help solve a problem or simplify an assembly. It seems unfair not to give credit to each individual who is involved, but the list would take an entire blog post by itself. Even the finance and accounting team is crucial to our success supporting Lam.
In evaluating its suppliers, Lam uses some objective criteria such as cost, delivery and quality. But there are subjective measures too, such as flexibility and support. Swagelok beats Lam's requirement of getting 95 percent of shipments to their destination by the promised date. With Lam working three shifts, that's vital to maintaining capacity.
Lam invests a lot of money into research and development to stay competitive. Thus, it needs suppliers that likewise care about R&D and look at the relationship as a collaboration, not just a series of transactions.
March promo: Buy the tube fitting and tube bending tools and toolbox, and get free admittance to two Swagelok training seminars!
Get the ultimate set of fabrication tools in the Swagelok®
Tube Fitter's Toolbox, and get free admittance to two Swagelok training seminars Now »
They say a craftsman is only as good as his tools. If you are going to invest in the right tools for the job, it only makes sense to take care of your investment. Yet far too many people simply toss their tools into a big box on the back of their truck. The tools rattle around and get lost under other tools. So, we’re offering a nice incentive to take care of your tools. Buy the Swagelok Tube Fitter's Toolbox for $1,699 and get free admittance to two Swagelok training seminars ($258 value). That way, you can brush up on how to use the tools at our Swagelok Tube Fitting Safety Seminar and Swagelok Tube Bending Seminar. Our next two seminars are next week, Tuesday, March 10th and Wednesday, March 11th. Get more details here »
Finding the right tool for your next tubing job will not be an issue when you have the Swagelok Tube Fitter’s Toolbox on the jobsite. The toolbox contains a complete set of Swagelok hand tools designed specifically for fabricating tubing systems. The set is designed for use with the three most common tube sizes: 1/4, 3/8 and 1/2 inch (outside diameter) tubing. All of the tools are securely contained in a lockable, water resistant case.
The Swagelok Tube Fitter’s Toolbox (part number MS-FSTOOLS-KIT) contains the following hand tools:
• Hand tube benders in three sizes
• Tube cutter
• Tube deburring tool
• Gap inspection gauges in three sizes
• Tee wrenches in three sizes
• Ratchet wrenches in three sizes
• Pre-swaging tools in three sizes
• Swagelok's Tube Fitter's Manual
Time saving tools
We always tell our customer base that you don't need any specialized tools to install our tube fittings, and that's true. But our tee wrenches and ratchet wrenches do make the job easier and speed up the work. For instance, one advantage of Swagelok tube fittings is that they can be disassembled and reassembled. We offer the pre-swaging tools so you can do some work on the bench and then take the assemblies to the field and put it all together. That can be very helpful if you are working in tight spaces, over your head or down by your feet.
Compact case, compact price
So start March off right, by organizing and caring for your tools. Buy the Swagelok Tube Fitter's Toolbox for $1,699 (carrying case is made by Pelican, one of the best tool case brands in the nation) and then register to attend your two free Swagelok training seminars. The case is lockable for security, and is equipped with wheels for easy transport. Inside, the foam lining gives each tool its own space, and protects it from dirt and debris. That's important, because a damaged roller wheel on a bender could cause scoring and result in bends getting rejected by an inspector.
The case is our own design from Swagelok Northern California. The tools and case are such a useful combination that other Swagelok Sales and Service Centers have asked us to make some for them and their customers.
We build out Tube Fitter's Toolboxes as needed, so how fast we fill your order depends on which tools we have in stock. Usually a few weeks of lead time is plenty.
If you already own the tools, you can still buy the case separately. Even if you aren't ready to buy the whole package, you can buy the case now and fill it with only the tools you need.
No matter how you approach it, the Tube Fitter's Tool Box has you covered. Order one now »
The Bloodhound Supersonic Car is designed to go faster than a speeding bullet
This 30 second video debuted in Northeast Ohio during the 2015 Super Bowl. It features the Bloodhound Supersonic car's pursuit of the land speed record.
A team in Bristol, England, is rolling out an amazing vehicle that will attempt to set a new land speed record of 1,000 mph in 2016: The Bloodhound Supersonic Car. Behind the wheel will sit Andy Green, a wing commander in the Royal Air Force and the man who already holds the land speed record of 736 mph.
Helping him achieve his goal is Swagelok.
Swagelok components play a few key roles in the car's rocket engine oxidizer system, which uses concentrated hydrogen peroxide known as High Test Peroxide (HTP). These include Swagelok fittings, hoses, pressure regulators, and valves. And several Swagelok components are found in the car's hydraulic lines that connect the brake pedal to the air brakes – Andy’s primary means of slowing down. These include Swagelok fittings, quick connects, and a hose.
The solid aluminum wheels will spin at over 10,000 RPM at top speed. It's not enough for Green to zoom across the land faster than the speed of sound. Swagelok is helping him get into the record books safely. The video below describes how Swagelok is helping to make engineering history.
Long, lean and powerful
The Bloodhound looks so low and sleek that it's easy to miss how gigantic it is. The car is 44 feet long and weighs 17,000 pounds. To get a monster like that moving at 1,000 mph takes a lot of muscle, and the Bloodhound has it: three engines with a combined 135,000 horsepower.
First there's a Rolls-Royce EJ200 jet engine, originally designed to sit in a Eurofighter Typhoon fighter plane. For extra thrust, the Bloodhound also has a Nammo hybrid rocket. Then, as an auxiliary power unit, a Jaguar supercharged V8 engine drives a pump to supply high-test peroxide at a rate of more than 9 gallons per second to the rocket.
The rest of the car is a mix of car and aircraft technology, with the front half made of carbon fiber and the back half made of metal panels. Altogether it has 3,500 components. One hundred and ten man-years have been invested in the design, build and manufacture of the Bloodhound.
Land, sea, air and space
It is a tribute to the integrity, quality and innovation of Swagelok parts that they were selected to help this record be achieved safely. From the ocean floor to the surface of Mars and everywhere in between, Swagelok is a part of missions around the world. Swagelok has field engineers, technology and service centers with the purpose of collaborating on specialty custom designs – or supplying top quality fluid components – whatever our customers need.
The Bloodhound has one more role in addition to setting a land speed record. The project is intended to inspire the next generation of scientists and engineers by showcasing this car’s unique design and accomplishments. That is something we all feel really proud of here at Swagelok Northern California.
After all, at Swagelok we’ve been growing and serving customers for 60 years. Isn’t it nice to know we’re still racing to stay ahead of your needs?
From record breaking applications to basic water lines, Swagelok is there. We would enjoy hearing how you are using Swagelok to propel your applications into the future. Please tell us about it and we will send you a Swagelok koozie. Tell us about your application here »
Stop by the Swagelok booth at the annual "Vacuum Show" in San Jose on Feb. 19
Visit us next Thursday at this year's "Vacuum Show", enjoy a free lunch, and learn more about Swagelok® Hose Solutions More info »
Vacuum systems have become an essential part of many industries, which naturally means that Swagelok takes a keen interest. That's why we're once again heading to San Jose for the annual Vacuum Equipment Exhibition sponsored by The Northern California Chapter of the American Vacuum Society. This year the "Vacuum Show" falls on Feb. 19. The free event is once again to be held at the Holiday Inn, San Jose Airport, (1350 North First St.) from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.
The event is free, lunch is provided, and there will be an evening hospitality session with food and drinks. We hope you'll hang out with us at Booth 34, where we will be displaying Swagelok products for vacuum-related industries.
But there also will be a full day of speakers at the official symposium, which starts a bit earlier, at 9 a.m. Topics include nanotechnology, oxitronics and magnetron sputtering.
A different world
When the pressure is negative instead of positive, fluid systems enter a whole new world. Familiar terms take on different meanings. For one thing, high vacuum is a lower pressure than low vacuum. There are very few absolutes, and even some common terms can cause confusion because of conflicting definitions. We can provide guidance for customers in the semiconductor industry or any business using vacuum systems.
On display we’ll have products such as fittings and valves used in vacuum service, along with our tube fittings guide. We'll have different types of hose and flexible tubing for vacuum service too.
Assembled to order
This year, we will highlight our hose solutions capabilities. Our team of certified assembly technicians can build hose assemblies to your specifications. All are pressure or leak tested before delivery, and they are backed by the Swagelok limited lifetime warranty. Learn more »