Swagelok University is your digital portal to fluid system training
No matter how much you know about scientific fundamentals, plant operations, safety, industry or fluid systems, there's always something new to learn. Swagelok makes it easier to top off your education with more than 130 interactive industrial online training courses with audio. We call it Swagelok University.
We've recently put together the video below to give you the "campus tour," so to speak. Of course one of the great advantages of Swagelok University is that you are already on campus as you read this.
While you can take the classes right at your own desk, you never have to feel like you are on your own at Swagelok University. Administrators can track learner progress, assign due dates and create reports. Each course also has an assessment, so you can gauge your understanding of the course content.
Here are just a few brief video samples of what it's like to take a course:
• Analytical Instrumentation
• Needle Valve Basics
• Types of Pressure
Mix and match
We also make it easy to find the best combination of courses for your needs. We offer 17 Swagelok University pre-made course bundles or you can create custom bundles in groups of 10, 20 or 30 courses. You can also choose courses a la carte. And, we'll even give you a free 30-day trial with unlimited access to 12 pre-selected online training courses. Simply complete this Swagelok University 30-day free trial request form. And one of our customer service associates will be in touch to set it up for you.
Every Swagelok University course and bundle now has a Continuing Education Unit value, making the courses a convenient way to meet continuing education requirements.
Ready to see where you can expand your knowledge? Sign up now for a 30 day free trial »
An on-site visit from a Swagelok Steam Systems Engineer can uncover ways to trim costs
A day with one of our steam systems engineers has saved many companies $1000s per year by reducing production downtime and maintenance costs, lowering fuel and energy costs, and optimizing production quality get more info »
If you can’t afford to pull a field engineer for up to a week to do a ground-up inspection of your steam system, consider a one-day, on-site visit from Swagelok Energy Advisors, experts in steam and condensate systems.
We send out a steam specialist to look at a specific problem, such as a valve that keeps failing for unknown reasons or water hammer, and you get a report on how to fix the specific problem and suggestions about what else to look for in your system, as well as a roadmap for how to implement the recommendations. It is a chance to open a window into your steam system and uncover cost savings, explore opportunities for improvement and gain from the experience and capabilities that our engineers bring to the table.
While the engineer is on-site, you will also have a chance to pick their brain without having to worry about getting a sales pitch for a specific brand of product. That's because, as enthusiastic as we are about Swagelok products, most steam system requirements go beyond the typical scope of Swagelok products. Swagelok does not manufacture boilers, steam traps, desuperheaters, heat exchangers or pumps, so you can be confident that our steam systems engineer will recommend only what’s best for your specific application without regard to manufacturer.
It is natural, then, to ask how Swagelok got into the business of inspecting steam systems. Back in 2008, the Swagelok acquired Plant Support and Evaluations Inc., a Naples, Florida-based training firm with extensive experience specializing in the evaluation of steam systems. It is now known as Swagelok Energy Advisors, or SEA. This acquisition has proven invaluable in helping customers achieve the highest level of performance and reliability of their steam systems.
What kind of things does a SEA field engineer get called in to look at? You might want an inspection of your system's condensate recovery, pressure reducing stations, desuperheaters or steam traps. You also might be having temperature control issues in a heat exchanger or a dryer. The plant could also be venting excess steam, which is wasting significant money and energy.
We will give you a questionnaire so that you can provide basic information on your steam system prior to our visit. That could include the kind of equipment you use, the size of your system and whatever is causing trouble now.
"There are a lot of things I’m called in to look at," says Casey Rivera, steam systems engineer. "Before I go on site, I print out a scope outline and bring it with me that covers which area we’ll look at, and how long that will take. While it’s a rough schedule that's flexible, it helps makes clear what three or four topics we have time for in a day on site."
Rivera has even gone on site to check out a brand new steam system that a customer was installing and wanted an expert eye involved. Rivera was able to recommend some improvements right at the outset.
Within a week after the inspection, the SEA engineer will write up and send you a report outlining the findings and recommendations. It is a good starting point for further discussion, perhaps leading to that full system inspection you may have been thinking about.
The one-day visit from a local engineer comes at a substantial discount from SEA's normal rates. What kind of savings you will net from implementing the recommendations are unique to each steam system, however, it is common that improvements from our recommendations will pay for the site visit in a few months.
So for a healthy discount on one-day of service, and the possibility of saving money and energy in the long term, schedule a brief phone consultation with our local steam systems engineer, Casey Rivera. He can answer any questions you have about the SEA one day site visit and help you take control of your steam system get more info »
His hands-on experience gives him invaluable insight on what customers need
If you visit our Will Call in Fremont, you will probably meet Peter Fraser, and if you meet Fraser, he will suggest you attend our training get more info »
You naturally expect Swagelok Northern California associates to be familiar with our catalog of products and how they work. That's only the baseline, however. Some of our associates bring a lot more expertise to bear. Take Peter Fraser, who mans the counter at our Will Call in Fremont. Before he joined us about eight years ago, he worked for a large compressed gas company. As a result, he has years of hands-on experience using Swagelok components in the field.
Seeing beyond the parts list
Just by listening to a customer, asking questions, and looking at the list of parts on an order, Fraser often can tell the intended use. That's good news for the customer. For instance, a check valve is designed to keep fluid moving in a single direction, much like the valves in your heart keep your blood flowing in one direction. But people sometimes try to use them in applications where they really need a proportional relief valve instead. When Fraser suspects that's the case, he speaks up.
"There are a lot of little things I pick up on," he says. "I'll share any concerns. I help customers through these conversations because I don't want them to come back disappointed."
Sometimes Fraser's knowledge can save a lot of money for a customer. One time a customer came in to order Swagelok's CT Series Convoluted Metal Tubing.
"The customer explained the application in which he intended to use the convoluted metal tubing. I suggested he take a look at Swagelok's flexible metal hose, specifically the FJ Series all-metal hose instead," Fraser says. "The FJ hose was more durable for their application which required repeated installation and removal. The customer ended up buying more than 30 hoses, saving about $120 apiece."
Fraser doesn't always have a suggestion that will save the customer money on the initial purchase. Depending on the application's pressure, temperature, media, and other factors, he may suggest a product that is more expensive, but only when it is more appropriate for the job. "In the long run, the right part will save our customer money, even if the initial price is higher because it will last longer and require less maintenance," Fraser says.
In one case, Fraser noticed that a customer had a vice mounted on the back of his truck. So he asked whether the customer ever used a Swagelok preswaging tool. Before long the conversation expanded to cover a wide range of Swagelok tools: T wrenches, cutters, reamers, and preswaging tools in several sizes.
"This guy was ecstatic with the tools I showed him. He was grateful he was asked a simple question," Fraser says.
Whether the customer is new to Swagelok or a mechanical contractor with several decades of experience, they end up learning from Fraser. For example, he always asks if they are aware of the proper way to install a Swagelok tube fitting. And if they are not, he explains it to them and suggests they attend one of our tube fitting safety seminars.
"If they are over-tightening, it lowers the life span of our tube fitting," Fraser explains. "And if they are under-tightening, the tube fitting may leak which can cause all sorts of problems. If they don't know how to use our tube fitting, we probably won't get them back for any of our other products."
He still gets calls from the company where he used to work, new employees ask about the right way to tackle certain jobs. Even at the large semiconductor companies, each new generation comes in with lots of knowledge about calculations, but little hands-on experience. They discover Fraser is a fountain of knowledge.
That part of his job is likely to get bigger now that the Will Call area has tools on display. That makes it easier to bring them to everyone's attention and make sure they know how to use them.
"We recently installed a vice at the Will Call. I have some pre-cut tubing, so I can have customers deburr it and install a tube fitting right there," Fraser says. Giving the customer a chance to practice, especially if it's been a while since they've handled a particular tool, helps them leave the Will Call with more confidence.
Fraser isn't boastful about his expertise, and he is still furthering his own education. "Learning Swagelok's inventory is a marathon, not a sprint," he says. "I never used pipe fittings, so I still make double sure to look up the part number so I don't get too overconfident."
Rivera has been championing energy efficiency since he was a teenager
Industry focused steam system training courses with practical ideas and action points to immediately improve your steam system get more info »
Joining Swagelok Northern California in October of last year, Casey Rivera is Swagelok’s newest steam systems engineer, and he is currently the product manager of services for Swagelok Northern California. Rivera has hit the ground running by helping to pioneer two new industry focused steam system training courses this November in Northern California. Each course focuses on steam system topics most relevant to your industry with practical ideas and action points to immediately improve your steam system. The Food, Beverage, Dairy, Pharmaceutical steam system training course focuses on steam system topics like process hot water and CIP systems. The Refinery and Petrochemical steam system training course targets topics like steam turbines and reboilers.
For more details about the courses, including more complete lists of topics, dates of the training courses, and registration information, click here »
Since he was a teenager, Rivera has been interested in the way the world works, and helping it work better. His first job was working for the water treatment facility in his hometown of Keene, N.H., at age 15.
“My main responsibilities were to conduct daily lab tests on water clarity, turbidity, and chemistry. It really kick started my passion for the sciences at a relatively young age,” Rivera said.
His interests got more complex when he went off to Worcester Polytechnic Institute in Worcester, MA, where he earned a Bachelor of Science degree in chemical engineering. There, he became a member of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers.
“One of the projects I helped to start and lead at my time there was the ‘ChemE Car.’ The idea behind the project was to develop and build a small car that could run completely on a chemical reaction,” Rivera said.
“Throughout the year, we designed a car run on a small fuel cell and started fabrication. The group had strong participation, and continued on after I graduated.”
“Throughout my college career I knew I wanted to work to promote energy efficiency. I had researched alternative energy production measures, particularly fuel cells,” Rivera said.
Prior to graduation, he got a job for a company that packaged steam turbine generator sets, and promoted the efficient use of steam to generate on-site power.
“During my time there, I realized that there is a lot of potential in steam, and I knew that I wanted to focus my career in that field,” Rivera said. When he learned there was an opening at Swagelok Northern California, he determined that the position was a good match to his experience, interests, and career goals.
Full steam ahead
It may seem like a big jump from chemical engineering, but it was really a natural progression.
As a steam systems engineer, Rivera will recommend improvements to existing systems, helping customers get the full potential from equipment that has been performing inefficiently. He finished seven months of advanced training under the experts at Swagelok Energy Advisors around the country.
“Some of the best advice I have ever received was to ask questions,” Rivera said. “I have learned that when you ask the right questions at the right time, you can open up a lot of doors and opportunities. Simply stated, you never know if you don’t ask.”
Rivera plans to continue to promote energy efficiency, safety and reliability, and high performance in steam systems all throughout Northern California and northwestern Nevada with the hope of becoming a trusted resource for Swagelok’s customers.
Attendees learn a lot more than just the proper way to bend tubing
Watch our Using a hand tube bender video
below to get an introduction to our popular Swagelok Tube Bending Training course, and then learn more and register for next week's training course here »
There's a lot more to tube bending than simply bending a tube. In fact, the basic bending instructions are not that complex. Swagelok has a short video that covers the basics in only six minutes. But our tube bending seminars go much further. Here are some of the major takeaways.
Good tubing isn't cheap. Some companies end up throwing out thousands of dollars of scrap tubing each year because it wasn't cut to the proper length before bending. Someone willing to take a little extra time and do a little basic math will end up with the right length for the job. We'll show you how it's done.
It's easy to make up the extra time on measuring if you use efficient fabrication techniques. We cover them in our hands-on seminar.
Works of art
A good design gets the tubing from point A to point B with elegance and a minimum of bends. Done right, the design not only helps improve system performance but pleases the eye. Our seminar includes exercises that explain the use of expansion loops and offsets.
Handling with care
Scratches, dents and dings all hurt the performance of tubing. When tubing is handled properly, it is more likely to go into service unscathed. We'll explain how to care for your supplies.
It's one thing to listen to an instructor. It's a completely different experience to get your hands on the tools and put theory into practice. Past participants have singled this out as one of the best parts of the training, saying:
"Very hands on, lots of real practice, well done!"
"Room and materials were well prepared. Didn’t waste time sharing tools."
"Extremely well presented, the training actually exceeded my expectations."
Now that we've raised your expectations, give us a call to talk about how we can help your team improve their skills. Our next tube bending seminar is Thursday, September 11th from noon to 2 p.m. We only have 10 spaces available, it costs only $149 per person, and we'll serve lunch, so register online now.
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.