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May Special - $75 Training (1/2 Price)

Tube Fitting Safety - May 13th, 12-2pm - Space limited.

Swagelok Northern California Blog

fluid systems

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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Hose vs Tubing: Which one is best for an application?


Hose can be easier to install and flex on the job

Swagelok Hose Solutions Poster SM
Get the Swagelok Hose Catalog, Quick Look, and Hose Selection Poster Here »  

In a previous post, we looked at the advantages of tubing over pipe. Sometimes a third option makes the most sense: hose, specifically Swagleok PTFE hose. 

Look around, and you'll see hose in a wide variety of applications where flexibility and longevity are needed. You'll find them in steam sterilization equipment, injection systems, steam platen presses, anywhere that the machinery goes through a repeated movement while delivering gases or liquids. On motorcycles, PTFE brake lines and cable covers prevents any moisture or road debris from getting in. For drag racers, all the nitrous oxide systems are PTFE.

Flex time

The big advantage with hose is its flexibility.  When you need tubing to change direction, you have to bend it or put an adapter elbow on it. That can affect flow rates and increase pressure drop. The added components add to the overall cost. A PTFE tube with a similar pressure capability may eliminate the need for joints and elbows. In a jet airliner, PTFE is likely to be the major fuel line. In the event of an accident, the fuel line won't crack and cause a fire hazard. The flexibility of hose means that you can easily deal with an offset between any two elements of your system. As caulk is to a carpenter, hoses are to designers and installers of fluid systems.

PTFE is also tough. It's corrosion resistant and easily cleaned. If you don't physically abuse it, it can last for decades. It also doesn't conduct heat as readily as stainless steel tubing, giving you an extra measure of insulation.

End connections

When we talk about Swagelok hoses, it's also important to talk about end connections. Swagelok can put almost any type of connection on the end of our flagship PTFE hose. We use a crimping process rather than swaging, which used to be the standard. We use a circumference compression die with eight segments. The die compresses the ferrule to the end connection, preventing pull-off and allowing the hose to maintain its pressure rating. It results in much less deformation of the hose compared to swaging.

At Swagelok, each hose has its own crimp specification. We test them, making sure that we maintain the proper inside diameter.

Check out our hose page and see which ones may be right for your system. And tell us what else you'd like to know about hose. We are preparing a pocket guide to hoses, and we'd like to make sure it answers your most important questions.


Additional Resources

Swagelok Hose Selection  Swagelok Hose Selection Tutorial  
Hose Selection Tutorials Hose Assembly Services  

Introducing The Swagelok Tech Clips Video Series


Got a minute or two? That's all it takes to learn fluid systems best practices

We have another new tool for improving the performance of your fluid systems: a video series we call Swagelok Tech Clips. Each short presentation is a way to get bite-size training that you can put to use right away.   

For instance, can you name all the components in the installation of a Swagelok tube fitting? Watch our first clip and see if you had the right answer.  

Swagelok seminars

Of course there is a lot more to learn about tube fittings, and we can teach you those details too. We hold monthly tube fitting safety seminars and tube bending seminars. It's hard to believe, but a majority of technicians responsible for installing and maintaining tubing systems have never had an opportunity to learn the correct assembly procedure from the company that invented tube fitting. We cover the basics with hands-on demonstrations, plus comparison of tubing and pipe systems, the proper application of thread sealants and lubricants, troubleshooting, and the pressure-holding capacity of tubing. Next week we are offering the Swagelok Tube Fitting Safety Seminar for 1/2 price. Only $75 for two hours of training by Swagelok Certified trainers and lunch is included.  Register now »

Just the beginning

The format for upcoming Tech Clips is similar to our first one. We'll give you a quick look at some element of fluid systems, then let you know how you can learn more. The clips are also great for those moments when you suddenly aren't quite sure about something and would like to get a professional demonstration or illustration.

Starting with the first Tech Clip, the series will cover:

1. Components of a Swagelok Tube Fitting
2. Swagelok Tube Fitting Installation
3. Tubing Selection
4. Tubing De-Rating Factors
5. Using Swagelok inserts with soft plastic tubing
6. Rubber Hose
7. PTFE Hose
8. Four Steps to Choosing a Hose
9. More to come...

Additional Resources

Swagelok tube fittings  Swagelok Hose Selection  
Swagelok Tube Fitting Catalog and Pocket Guide Swagelok Hose Catalog and Quick Look  

Find the Hose You Need Faster with the Swagelok Hose Quick Look


With over 20 series of hose and even more end connections to choose from, this overview will help you find the right Swagelok hose quicker

Swagelok Hose Quick Look Image
Download the Swagelok Hose Quick Look and Swagelok Hose Catalog here » 

The right hose keeps your process performing safely and cost effectively. The wrong hose could undermine your process, put people at risk, and compromise your bottom line – sometimes
without you being aware of it. These are the opening sentences from one of our most popular downloads, "Choose the Right Hose: A Practical Guide to Hose Selection". We have blogged many times previously about hose and hose selection, hosted the technical webinar "5 Steps to Selecting the Right Hose for your Fluid System", and created several short videos about hose and hose selection. We know the importance of having the correct hose in your application, so we are always thinking of ways to help you do just that. After all, Swagelok has over 20 series of hose and flexible tubing, including metal, PTFE, PFA, rubber, nylon, polyethylene, and vinyl, conductive and nonconductive hose, static dissipative hose, almost 40 different hose end connections, and multiple hose cover and tag options. A typical hose part number has at least 13 digits. There are nearly endless combinations of hose, end connections, and options to choose from.

Quick Look

With this in mind, we have created a two page hose and flexible tubing Quick Look to give you an overview of Swagelok hose and to help you quickly find the hose you are looking for. After looking at the Quick Look, you can dive into our 88 page hose catalog and find the hose you need quicker because you will know which hoses you need to look at more closely. Download the Swagelok Hose Quick Look and Swagelok Hose Catalog here »

Assembled to order

After you find the hose you are looking for, have us put it together for you. We have a team of full-time technicians along with support staff managing the front end of the operation who focus on building hose in a facility dedicated for just that job. Together, these Swagelok Northern California associates help customers by supplying thousands of custom hose assemblies each year. Within our assembly process we maintain tight tolerances and certified testing. We can do hydrostatic tests, helium leak tests, and pressure decay testing. Some hoses require that we provide a test certificate, and some don't. But we can provide testing and documentation with any hose if requested. If the need ever arises, we can trace each individual hose back to the original technician and manufacturing process run. You can learn more about our hose assembly capabilities here »

Hose selection help

In addition to hose selection self-help resources and hose assembly services, we also have a dedicated staff of customer support specialists and account managers ready to help you choose the right hose. For example, this case study describes how we helped a Biopharm customer save money, get better performance, and increase efficiency with Swagelok U Series hose. Let us know how we can help you here »


Additional Resources

describe the image  Swagelok Hose Selection  
Swagelok Hose Assembly Swagelok Hose Selection Tutorial  

Swagelok Northern California Invites You to Swagelok Spring Training


Like pro ball players, we all need good coaching to help sharpen our skills

steam system training
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 » 

Additional Resources

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Swagelok Electronic Desktop Technical Reference Swagelok Hose Solutions  
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SF Business Times: Swagelok Northern California Among Top 5 Best Places to Work


Swagelok Northern California announced as a finalist in the small companies category of the 2015 Bay Area Best Places to Work 

BPTW Finalist
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!

Rod Accepts Award

For details on what makes Swagelok Northern California a great place to work, read the full San Francisco Business Times article here »


Additional Articles

Lam Supplier Excellence Award  Application Support Swagelok-Value-Wheel 
Swagelok awarded Lam Supplier Excellence Award Case Study: Energizing a high tech battery maker's fluid system  Swagelok Northern California knows the value of our values

Swagelok Northern California Announces Future Drone Delivery System


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.

SNC Drone Delivery

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.

April Fools'!

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)

swagelok training  Swagelok tools  
Tax Day Special $15 Tube Fitting Training Swagelok Tube Fitter's Toolbox Promotion Extended  

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We can't change the tax laws, but we can give you a break on training


On April 15th, we're offering our two-hour Tube Fitting Safety Seminar for only $15 each instead of $149

Swagelok training
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!

Additional Resources

Pharmaceutical Steam Training  Swagelok tube fitter's toolbox  
Steam Training - Pharmaceutical Focus Swagelok Tube Fitter's Toolbox  

Case Study: Energizing A High Tech Battery Maker's Fluid System


With the help of our Application Support team, SEEO is saving time and money

Application Support
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.

Additional Resources

Hose Selection Resources  Swagelok hose catalog  
Hose Assembly Services Energy Management Services  

Swagelok Energy Advisor Best Practice: Get A Handle On Flash Steam


"Blowing off a little steam" may be good for people, but it's bad for steam systems

steam systems best practices

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.

Additional Resources

steam systems eBook  steam system training  
Plan Your Steam System Success eBook Upcoming Steam Training  

Swagelok Receives Lam Research's Supplier Excellence Award


Lam Research rewards outstanding performance, commitment, and collaboration

Lam Supplier Excellence Award 2
Experience Swagelok's award winning service for yourself. Learn more about our services »

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.

Team effort

"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. 

Strict standards

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.

Additional Resources

Hose Selection Resources  Swagelok Tube Fitter's Toolbox  
Swagelok Hose Assembly Service Swagelok Tube Fitter's Toolbox  
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Swagelok Northern California serves the California counties of Alameda, Madera, San Mateo, Alpine, Marin, Santa Clara, Amador, Mariposa, Santa Cruz, Butte, Mendocino, Shasta, Calaveras, Merced, Sierra, Colusa, Modoc, Siskiyou, Contra Costa, Mono, Solano, Del Norte, Monterey, Sonoma, El Dorado, Napa, Stanislaus, Fresno, Nevada, Sutter, Glenn, Placer, Tehama, Humboldt, Plumas, Trinity, Inyo, Sacramento, Tulare, Kings, San Benito, Tuolumne, Lake, San Francisco, Yolo, Lassen, San Joaquin, and Yuba; and the northwestern Nevada counties of Carson City, Humboldt, Storey, Churchill, Lyon, Washoe, Douglas, Mineral, Esmeralda, and Pershing.

Find other Sales and Service Centers at swagelok.com

Updates for Northern CA & Northwestern NV Businesses

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