Swagelok Northern California makes a group effort to support ALS research
Challenge Accepted!! You can watch our ALS Ice Bucket Challenge video below »
All across the country this summer, people have been taking the Ice Bucket Challenge. The challenge is to get doused with a bucket of ice water on video, or donate money to charity, or both. Those who accept the challenge then challenge three others.
The Ice Bucket Challenge caught on earlier this summer and quickly became associated with raising awareness and money for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig's Disease.
This past month my son Jaxon accepted the challenge, and decided to nominate Swagelok Northern California.
A lot of us wanted to be involved, but we were also mindful of California's drought. You can see how we came to a good compromise by watching our video.
Rod Fallow, our company president, took the lead by volunteering to get the full-bucket treatment. Then came the question: Who would get the honor of dumping a bucket of freezing water on their boss? We had a lot of volunteers, so we held an auction and added that money to our donation.
The challenge has really caught on in the past month or so. As recently as Aug. 6, the ALS Association was asking "Have You Heard about the Ice Bucket Challenge?" Ten days later, donations to the association had passed the $10 million mark. A week after that, the total had topped $62 million. As of Tuesday this week, the total stood at $88.5 million.
For us, taking the challenge was more personal than just participating in a social phenomenon. Jaxon's grandfather has had ALS for 23 years. Life expectancy of a person with ALS is two to five years, and only 5 percent of people with ALS live more than 20 years after diagnosis. Jaxon knows firsthand that a long-term illness is hard both on the person with the disease and on their family who are often their primary caregivers.
We also know that the ALS Association is not the only organization working to fight the disease and help families of people living with ALS. Some local organizations include the Family Caregiver Alliance, the UCSF ALS Center and the Forbes Norris MDA/ALS Research & Treatment Center.
If you have received The Ice Bucket Challenge, the ALS Association asks you to use common sense. Think before dumping a bucket of ice and freezing cold water on small children, the elderly, anyone in poor health, or animals of any kind.
Now that we have been soaked, we are challenging our friends at Swagelok Edmonton, Swagelok Denver, and Swagelok San Diego. After all, Swagelok is all about fluid systems. Show us what you've got.
These are the principles we live by, and how we deliver value to our customers
Read more about how our values have been practiced and championed, as well as how others have benefited from them here »
Swagelok Sales and Service Centers span the globe. In one sense we are independent, each one tailoring its services to its local clientele. Yet we are united as one with Swagelok Company by a set of core values. As the representative of Swagelok in Northern California, we are committed to:
Create value for the customer to create value for Swagelok
Provide high value and high performance in our products, processes, and services
Choose to do the right thing with courage and character
Commit to the success of each associate through an environment where people are trusted, respected, and treated fairly
Systematically and consistently do things better
Challenge conventional wisdom to create new value for the customer
Our core values are the pillars upon which our company was built. And they fuel where we are going. Everything we do, everything we make, everything we have to offer comes from these core values.
Take another look at the list. Customers can depend on the Swagelok brand to consistently provide extraordinary quality in all our products and services. For us, integrity means choosing to do the right thing with courage and character. We respect the individual, so we foster an environment where people are trusted and treated fairly. Our focus on innovation has expanded our offering to include new services and new products. As a result of our continuous improvement, we continually strive for improvements each day and for greater efficiencies in our operations, allowing us to invest more in our people and operations.
Notice that our values are not reactive, but are the underlying threads woven into the fabric of our 60-plus-year culture. Our values are not just words on paper. They’re who we are.
The value of our values
The value of our values is that they don't just benefit our company. They benefit our customers and our customer’s customers, too. The more we can embody and share our values, the stronger we all become.
In future posts, we'll take an in-depth look at each of these values, and show how we put them to work at Swagelok Northern California. We are confident that, with a better understanding of how we operate and experiencing our values in your interactions with us, you'll see the value of our values and look to us for all your fluid system needs.
Swagelok's engineered combinations can offer special properties for unusual installations
This data sheet contains suggested allowable working pressures for assemblies of Swagelok tube fittings with tubing of diverse materials get more info »
We usually discourage mixing materials when it comes to tubing and Swagelok tube fittings. There are exceptions, however, when using our 316 stainless steel tube fittings. They actually offer several advantages in mixed material combinations, even in severe environments. These advantages include:
■ Higher chromium and nickel concentrations than standard 316 stainless steel for enhanced corrosion resistance.
■ Superior tube grip with Swagelok’s patented hinging-colleting back ferrule design that translates axial motion into radial swaging action on the tube, yet needs only a low assembly torque.
Combine 316 stainless steel Swagelok tube fittings with alloy 254 tubing, for example, and you'll have an economical, corrosion-resistant solution for installations that might be exposed to seawater.
Note the ratings
When mixing materials, it's vital to keep a few things in mind. First, the tubing must be softer
than the fitting material. Also, different alloys have different pressure ratings. With any assembly that mixes materials, it's the lower material rating that matters most.
We have a free download with tables that show the suggested allowable working pressure ratings of special alloy tubing in a wide range of wall thicknesses. Allowable pressure ratings are calculated from S values for the lower-strength material as specified by ASME B31.3, Process Piping, or based on repeated pressure testing of the Swagelok tube fitting with a 4:1 design factor based on hydraulic fluid leakage. Swagelok tube fittings have been repeatedly tested in both the minimum and maximum wall thicknesses shown. The fittings are not recommended for tube wall thicknesses outside the ranges shown in the accompanying tables for each size.
As always, the suggested allowable working pressure tables are for reference only. No implication is made that these values can be used for design work. Applicable codes and practices in industry should be considered. ASME Codes are the successor to and replacement of ASA Piping Codes. Also, no allowance is made for corrosion or erosion.
Gases (air, hydrogen, helium, nitrogen, etc.) have very small molecules that can escape through even the most minute leak path. Some surface defects on the tubing can provide such a leak path. As tube outside diameter increases, so does the likelihood of a scratch or other surface defect interfering with proper sealing. Carefully follow Swagelok's tubing handing and tube fitting installation instructions to get the best results and select one of the heavier wall thicknesses of tubing listed in the tables. A heavy-wall tube resists ferrule action more than a thin-wall tube, allowing the ferrules to coin out minor surface imperfections such as scratches.
Our eDTR™, P&D, and iAssemble apps make it easier for us to serve you
The Swagelok electronic catalog (eDTR™
), is now available as an iPad app in the Apple iTunes app store get more info »
We recently posted the story of the development of Swagelok's Electronic Desktop Technical Reference (eDTR™) software and its beginnings right here in Northern California. It was a big breakthrough in giving our customers a tool that would make it easier to do business with us. Swagelok recently released the eDTR™ as an iPad app in the Apple app store. From desktop to iPad, we now have you covered. But we knew we could push the idea even further. We wanted to make applications like mobile tools that would help our account managers and customer service reps be more productive and make it even easier for our customers to do business with us.
Once again we turned to Logical Labs, the Folsom company that helped develop the eDTR™ desktop and iPad app. Working with us and our counterparts at Edmonton Valve & Fitting, John Pataki and the Logical Labs team has begun creating a series of mobile applications to increase our speed and productivity.
Logical Labs recently created the Price & Delivery app, which they simply call P&D. We started using it this past March. P&D is a mobile app that shows our inventory for current in-stock items, plus pricing, with near real time accuracy. It has a simple, intuitive interface for searching for and viewing items by part number. We can use it to immediately obtain up-to-date pricing and availability on any part at Swagelok Northern California.
Speed and ease
"When an account manager is working with an engineer on a fluid system design, the engineer loves it when the account manager can answer all their technical questions, plus then let him know of the various options they have identified, which ones are standard, in stock, and which is the lowest cost," said Rod Fallow, president of Swagelok Northern California. This provides fast answers for engineers and operations people without the need to call the office. While the account manager assists the customer with the technical details and price and availability, at the same time they are creating the quote that can instantly be emailed to the customer.
The customer gets the quote in writing, with hypertext links to the product detail on the website where they can place an order, download a CAD drawing, or get all the technical details for use in their design.
Account managers often get after hours calls from customers. With the P&D app they can instantly determine what is in stock and the price. And, if they need to open the office to get the part for the customer, the app even gives them the stock location in our warehouse.
In the past, when an account manager needed a quick answer as part of a technical discussion, it involved a call back to the customer service representative. This made the customer wait, and tied up both the account manager and customer service representative. Now the P&D app does the work.
Putting it all together
Another new app developed by Logical Labs with the help of Edmonton Valve & Fitting and Swagelok Northern California, was made available just this month. iAssemble is a tool that can help our account managers create a layout for a customer with all of the individual components identified. The first release is very basic. The next version will leverage the database of information created for the P&D app to provide part numbers, part names and descriptions, pricing, and numerous other product details such as fulfillment strategy code, stock location, weight and more.
Our account managers will be able to quickly layout a customer’s assembly requirement, take a picture of the existing layout (if applicable), create a priced bill of materials, attach all of that to a detailed quote, and email it to the customer as soon as they confirm the layout.
The idea for the iAssemble app actually came first, though the P&D app took top priority. Logical Labs has built the apps with multiple potential industries in mind, but kept the focus on making sure they first met the needs of Swagelok Northern California and Edmonton Valve & Fitting.
The original Swagelok VCR metal gasket face seal fitting is the go to fitting in ultra-high purity gas systems, learn why, how it works, and how to correctly install it
Join us Tuesday, August 12th from 12pm-2pm at our hands-on, practical VCR®
metal gasket face seal fitting installation seminar get more info »
Swagelok's VCR® Metal Gasket Face Seal Fitting is the preferred fitting in the semiconductor industry for high-purity gas delivery systems. It offers the high purity of a metal-to-metal seal, providing leak-tight service from vacuum to positive pressure. The seal on a VCR assembly is made when the gasket is compressed by two beads during the engagement of a male nut or body hex and a female nut. This makes it a terrific make or break point due to its near zero clearance requirements and high vacuum capabilities. The VCR fitting design has been helium leak tested to a maximum leak rate of 4x10–9 std cm3/s with silver-plated and copper gaskets and to a maximum leak rate of 4x10–11 std cm3/s with unplated gaskets.
The VCR fitting is designed for some of the most demanding applications in the industry. It must maintain a leak-tight seal on the most highly toxic, corrosive and flammable fluids ever developed.
It's crucial, then, to understand the sealing principles behind the VCR fitting install it properly. We have seen skilled contractors assemble systems that pass initial leak tests with flying colors, then develop leakage months after the installation. Small leaks in a gas system may go undetected for years. Undetected fugitive emissions from fitting connections waste money and have the potential to hurt people and the environment.
Learn from the experts
On Aug. 12 we'll present a two-hour training session in our Fremont facility that will cover all the critical elements of installing VCR fittings. We cover 6 main topics including key design elements of face seal fittings, proper installation techniques, proper welding procedures and precautions, and troubleshooting exercises.
This is a hands-on training session so you will practice correctly assembling VCR Metal Gasket Face Seal fittings. The session is designed for fabricators, contractors, technicians, engineers, procurement personnel, anyone who is involved in the design, installation and use of a VCR fitting.
The seminar is Tuesday, August 12th from 12pm-2pm. The cost of training is $149 per person, and we'll furnish lunch. But space is limited, so click here and sign up now.
We will also be offering our tube fittings safety and tube bending seminars that week as well. Quantity discounts available for attendance to multiple training seminars or for three or more people from the same company that attend the same training seminar.
Tech tip video
This video gives you a taste of what we'll cover, though it's no substitute for hands-on instruction.
The Electronic Desktop Technical Reference (eDTR™) was born here at Swagelok Northern California
All Swagelok catalogs on your desktop and always up to date get more info »
Readers who have worked with fluid system components for more than a few years might remember having no choice but to wade through page after page of printed parts catalogs. It was a great breakthrough when Swagelok was able to put catalogs on CD-ROMs. But we knew that technology had given us the opportunity to make life even easier on our customers. That's why we came up with Swagelok's Electronic Desktop Technical Reference software, known to most of us as the eDTR™.
The free eDTR™ software makes sure your desktop always has the freshest version of Swagelok's catalogs. Updates are downloaded to your computer via the Internet through a “one-click” update process – no more waiting for literature deliveries or quarterly CD-ROM revisions. It installs quickly onto your hard drive from a flash drive that's pre-loaded with the eDTR™ software.
But how did the eDTR™ come about? While Swagelok Northern California knows plenty about fluid systems, we don't pretend to be software experts. For that specialized knowledge, we turned to John Pataki of Logical Labs in Folsom. He was recommended to us by one of our staff members whom had worked with Pataki and stayed in touch. Pataki's background is not in pure computer science, but rather from engineering jobs that gradually concentrated on task automation.
"John has a unique background that makes him an ideal developer of tools to be used by technical people. He is a degreed engineer with engineering experience and was familiar with Swagelok products," said Rod Fallow, president of Swagelok of Northern California.
When we met John seven years ago, he was working as a consultant at Lockheed Martin helping the engineers maximize their use of engineering software tools like Finite Element Analysis and Computational Fluid Dynamics. He had also started to help them automate complex processes with software that he developed. With that background, he is able to quickly understand what we are trying to accomplish for ourselves and for our customers and in the process make intelligent suggestions that further improve the tools we are developing.
Pataki started talking with us in 2008, and had figured out a working system by 2009. The eDTR™ software was such a big hit with customers, that by 2010 many other Swagelok Sales and Service locations were also using it. The software became so popular that in 2011 Swagelok Company brought the eDTR™ software into the worldwide Swagelok organization.
Pataki has grown Logical Labs over the years into a viable team able handle a variety of projects and solutions. So in the same way that Swagelok Northern California can create custom solutions for our customers, Pataki and his team at Logical Labs created a custom software solution for us.
"What the account managers and customers like best about the eDTR™ is the instant access to all the available technical information in an easy to search format," Fallow said. "The eDTR™ has become the go-to tool for fast access to all of Swagelok's technical information."
Customers love the ease with which they can find the solutions they are looking for. Customers also value the speed - no waiting time to download a 5 MB catalog, only to find out that what you were looking for was in a different catalog. The ability to quickly flip from one catalog to another is also valuable.
"Rod is very much on the leading edge of innovative ideas and willing to take the risk and try something new," Pataki said. "I think that keeps him ahead of the curve."
You can stay ahead of the curve to by requesting a free copy of the eDTR™ from our website.
As they say on the late night television infomercials, "But that's not all! There's more!" In an upcoming blog post, we'll introduce you to the next step in making life easier for our customers: Mobile applications.
Improve reliability with our five-day PASS class August 25 though 29 in Fremont
Five-day (August 25-29) hands on course taught by seasoned sampling system expert, Tony Waters, digs deep into designing, building, maintaining, and trouble-shooting process analyzer sampling systems get more info and register here »
It takes a good fluid sampling system to make a process analyzer reliable. That's why it's so important to properly design and build the sampling system. Our five-day course in Fremont next month is an ideal way to improve your skills. This is a great program for chemists, engineers, technicians, and any pro involved in the design or operation of process analyzer sampling systems.
Once again we're bringing Tony Waters to Fremont to show how it's done. Waters has more than 50 years of experience with process analyzers and their sampling systems, having worked in engineering and marketing roles for an analyzer manufacturer, an end-user, and a systems integrator. He also founded three companies to provide specialized analyzer services to the process industries.
His five-day course will show common design flaws that produce inaccurate results. It also will cover stream switching, sample conditioning and more.
The first day will cover the fundamentals, including basic performance criteria and how to diagnose and fix time delay problems. Day 2 will put the class to work with a group project to design a complete sampling system. Day 3 will move on to advanced design concepts such as phase preservation, with another group project. Day 4 will go through advanced calculation and more group work. Day 5 covers stream and calibration selection, techniques of stream switching and a chance for the groups to present their work.
Attendees will get a certificate of completion and can go home with all the course materials. They'll also get meals and a copy of Waters' 744-page book titled "Industrial Sampling Systems: Reliable Design and Maintenance for Process Analyzers."
Come to the class and get the book
The book is designed to teach, not be a reference.
"We tried to make it accessible for anybody with a high school education. There are some parts that require a little extra science, basic physics mainly. But it was designed for an analyzer technician in a plant to pick up and read," Waters says. "The language is not hard and boring. I'm surprised Swagelok allowed me to make it so light."
For attendees it’s like taking home a refresher course. It's hard to memorize and recall everything Waters covers in the five days. The book will bring it all back. On top of that, it has chapters on the fundamental measurements of temperature, pressure and flow. It's especially helpful in understanding the metric SI system of measurement which will come in handy. It's the system most of the world uses, and the language that Waters will use in the class. (So brush up on your meters and Pascals.)
Comments from last year's attendees
"Outstanding! Hard concepts made easy to understand. Very valuable class exercises. Good practice to help learn the concepts."
"Lectures were very valuable and relevant. Great exercises with real life examples. Great deal of information that might not be attained anyplace else in industry in one class."
"I'll use what I learned every time we have a new installation at our site."
"The lectures were very valuable especially the trouble shooting and verification. The group project helped us to think and actually look at the way things truly work."
"The group project allowed us to see real challenges and real solutions. The class covered real world refinery applications."
"The lectures put the concepts and calculations into real life situations and the class exercises put the calculations and formulas into action."
"Tony has a wealth of knowledge and kept things lively even when the topic was dry"
Sign up now
We have a limited number of seats, you can get more details and register here »
By the way, bring a good pen or a sharp pencil for making calculations in class. It's simple division, rather than calculus or trigonometry, but there will be a lot of them.
This week our products are on display at SEMICON and next week our training will be on display in Fremont
Swagelok products are known world-wide for their quality and reliability. We offer quality training, too get more info »
Each July, SEMICON West comes to San Francisco, and this year it is bigger and better than ever. We previewed SEMICON West 2014 in our June 16th blog article that featured Karen Savala, President of SEMI Americas, titled: SEMI President Karen Savala Previews SEMICON West 2014.
SEMICON West began Tuesday, July 8th and runs until Thursday, July 10th at 4pm. You can visit us at booth #1329. We are featuring Swagelok® ALD valves, Swagelok hose, Swagelok tools and equipment including our M200 orbital weld system. Visitors to our booth will be the first to see two pre-release valve innovations on display for the first time:
1. New actuator technology for our Swagelok Thermal-Immersion Diaphragm Valves
2. New valve seat technology for our Swagelok DP series high performance springless diaphragm valve
You can still get free registration courtesy of Swagelok here.
Swagelok tube fitting safety seminar
Join us at our Fremont facility Wednesday, July 16th, from 12pm-2pm for our tube fitting safety seminar. Get tube fitting safety and installation training from the company that invented the tube fitting. The hands-on lecture/lab seminar is conducted by Swagelok certified trainers. It covers the basics of tubing systems including tube fitting design and function, tubing versus pipe systems, proper tube fitting installation procedures, troubleshooting exercises, and more. Attendees will not only get instruction on how to install a tube fitting, but will also install a few themselves. Lunch is included in the registration fee.
You can find out more and register here »
Swagelok tube bending seminar
Join us at our Fremont facility Thursday, July 17th, from 12pm-2pm for our tube bending seminar. The hands-on lecture/lab seminar is conducted by Swagelok certified trainers. It covers the basics of tube bending including tube preparation, care, and handling, familiarization with the tools used in tubing system fabrication, exercises that teach techniques to determine the "exact" length of tubing needed to complete a system, exercises that demonstrate time saving fabrication techniques, and more. Lunch is included in the registration fee.
You can find out more and register here »
Join us Thursday, July 17th from 12pm-2pm at our hands-on, practical tube bending seminar get more info »
There's art as well as math behind getting the most from a length of tubing
Ever see the printed instructions that come with a new tube bending tool? Most people haven't. They learn to use the tool either through trial and error, or they find someone willing to pass along their expertise. We make it easy to gain that expert knowledge with our tube bending classes.
We have created a Tech Tip video to show you the very basics of tube bending. But there's more to skilled tube bending than merely bending a tube. Good layout and execution can enhance the esthetics of a system and reflect on the quality of the product. Skilled technicians know how to properly plan and measure a job so that they have the minimum of scrap pieces left over.
Most of the classes are for people who have only limited knowledge about tube bending, according to Jason Burns, our technical service manager. But if we get a class of experienced benders, we can still show them some tips that they might not necessarily know.
The class is designed for anyone who works with tubing, including the fabricators, contractors and technicians who assemble the systems. Engineers and draftsmen who design tubing systems have taken the class to get a better understanding of the capabilities and limitations of bent tubing systems.
Even the labor unions covering the tube fitting trades turn to us to teach apprentices who hope to become journeymen, as well as journeymen wanting to increase their skills. Each year, we provide tube bending training at one or more of the local pipe trades training centers.
Plain and fancy
In fact, there are several methods of tube bending. When people need to know the basics, we teach them a simple technique that will produce satisfactory results. For people with advanced skills, we teach Swagelok's own method, which is more involved and more accurate. For companies that go through a lot of tubing in a year, the more involved method can mean big savings. One customer came to us when the company realized it was tossing out about $50,000 worth of scrap tubing each year.
"If you are willing to do more math, you will have more exact lengths," Burns explains.
Like most other skills, the longer a person does it, the better they usually get. That's very important in the field, where the crew may not have a set of drawings to work from. All they are told is to run the tubing from Point A to Point B, and to avoid various objects along the way.
"Some guys have gotten so good at it, it's like a work of art when they are done," Burns says. "When you see the complexity of the bends in the systems these guys are putting together, it is awesome."
We also have several different tools that bend tubing. Our classes focus on our hand tube benders, but we also have bench-top models, plus a heavy-duty tool for bending tubes with an outside diameter of up to 2 inches.
Burns has an appreciation of good tube bending because he went through the training himself. Like many people who work at Swagelok Northern California, Burns worked his way up from an entry level job in our warehouse. He took the certification course, and then attended more classes to learn the details of our training methods.
"It didn't seem terribly difficult at first," Burns said. "But once you start to look at all the aspects of bending and trying to duplicate a drawing to spec, that's where it can become kind of daunting."
There's always something new to learn. Even some veteran tube benders have remarked that they thought they already had learned all the markings on the tools, but after our classes they realized there were some they hadn't known about.
Are there aspects of tube bending you wish you knew about? Join us Thursday, July 17th from 12pm-2pm for our hands-on practical tube bending seminar get more info »
Learn more about our Swagelok Tube Fitting Safety Seminar and register for the one taking place Wednesday, July 16th get more info »
The Swagelok® tube fitting takes the guesswork out of installation and adds reliability
When you’ve done a job over and over, you start to develop a feel for it. You just know the right time to shift gears, or the right amount of backspin to put on a ball. It’s a mistake to take the same approach to valves and fittings, however.
Swagelok tube fittings take the guesswork out of installation. There’s a right way to pull up the fitting, and it’s the only right way regardless of how it feels: Fully insert the tube into the fitting and against the shoulder, rotate the nut finger-tight, mark the nut at the 6 o'clock position so you know your starting point, and while holding the fitting body steady, tighten the nut one and a quarter turns to the 9 o'clock postion (3/4 turn for 1/16" - 3/16").
Even though the instructions are easy to follow, not everyone gets the message or remembers it. Earlier this year we had a training class for about a dozen people from the same company. We asked them a simple question: What are the proper installation instructions for a Swagelok fitting?
“I think we got five different answers,” says Jason Burns, one of our trainers. Some of them may have been thinking of the pull-up instruction to another company’s fittings. Maybe they were taught the wrong technique years ago by someone who didn’t really know what he was doing. Or maybe years of doing the job have made some people overconfident in their ability to know when they’ve done the job right.
Learning by doing
Working by feel also is a problem because our fittings come in a variety of materials, depending on the intended use. We drive this point home during our training classes by having the attendees assemble fittings made from different materials.
“We have them do the easy one first and the harder one second,” says Mike Valentine, asenior account manager who is also our training manager. “If they can go by the feel of the easy one, they would be significantly under-tightening the harder one.”
Working by feel means you can never know for sure that you have a good seal. That can lead to some real safety issues, according to Valentine. Some of our fittings are 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 if you are running something as basic as air or water through your system, poorly installed fittings can mean lost production time and lost profitability.
There’s no need to work by feel. Swagelok Northern California can train your new hires to do the job right from the start, and remind the experienced staff. We can even present a train-the-trainer program so that you can maintain your own culture of high-quality work.
You’ll end up with the right kind of feeling: Confidence that the installation will be as good as the Swagelok tube fittings themselves.
Tube Fitting Safety Seminar
We are offering a tube fitting safety seminar on Wednesday, July 16th from 12pm - 2pm at our Fremont facility. Lunch is included. Your can learn more about it and register here »