Edmonton Valve & Fitting Blog

Protect Your Operations and Team with Swagelok Essential Training

Thu, Nov 15, 2018 @ 11:11 AM / by Katie Reid posted in Events, Training, Fittings, Tubing

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Comprehensive training in tube fitting installation with Swagelok's Total Support Training Seminar


Goggles

To learn more about our Swagelok training classes, download a copy of our free training catalogue and find the class that suits your team's development.

Training & Education


In 2018 we trained approx. 249 students in our Swagelok Total Support Training (STS) full-day course, and the year isn't over yet! Plus that doesn't include all of the students that participated in our "mini" training sessions held off-site at customer locations. 

This STS seminar emphasizes the importance of choosing the correct tubing and fittings for your specific job, along with training on the proper handling, preparing, and installation of those components. 

Theoretical vs. practical 

The ISO certified class is broken down into two sections, first theoretical and then practical. In the theoretical portion there are seven lessons that breakdown the history of the tube fitting, installation procedures, leakage, the dangers of intermixing and interchanging parts, installation tools, and more. 

The practical portion allows the students to get hands-on with a tubing system where they demonstrate bending and proper tube fitting installation techniques. One of the more exciting parts of this section is where students install both an end cap and reducing union on a piece of stainless steel tubing and put it in our 'burst chamber' to test how well it performs under pressure. 

What's included

The full-day course comes complete with a comprehensive work book, installer pocket guide, tube bender manual, inspection gauge, gripper pad, and marking device. Morning snacks and lunch will also be provided. After successful completion of the course the attendee will receive a certificate of completion (valid for 36 months).

2019 Training Dates

Below are the dates for the 2019 class offering for Swagelok's Total Support Training:

  • January 10, 2019
  • February 5, 2019
  • March 7, 2019
  • April 2, 2019
  • May 2, 2019
  • June 6, 2019
  • September 6, 2019
  • October 1, 2019
  • November 7, 2019
  • December 3, 2019

Don't see a class time that works for you? Do you have have a large number of employees looking to take the class? We can accommodate on-site training courses if you meet the requirements. Contact us today to get the process started. 

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Start 2019 off Right with Swagelok’s Sample System Maintenance Course

Tue, Oct 30, 2018 @ 10:10 AM / by Katie Reid posted in Events, Sample Systems, Training

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Back by popular demand, this two-day course will help you maintain your sampling systems peak performance


StethoScope

The two-day training course, held in Edmonton Valve's training centre, will cover aspects of a sample system, from process line and tap through transport lines, steam switching, sample conditioning, analyzer and disposal.

SSM Registration


We are excited to be once-again hosting the Sample System Problem Solving and Maintenance Training (SSM) in the new year, on January 29th and 30th here in Edmonton, Alberta. This course is designed for Sampling System Technicians and Maintenance Personnel to gain knowledge in troubleshooting inaccuracies and inefficiencies in your fluid systems.

Experienced Swagelok instructor

This year we are bringing in a new face to teach the course, Mr. Phil Harris. Harris has worked in research & development, product development, and online analytical instrumentation for over 30 years. Along with teaching the SSM two-day course, he currently teaches internationally a five-day course on Process Analyzer Sample Systems (PASS) with Swagelok and Tony Waters. So, if you have any questions on sample systems, Harris is 'the' guy to answer them!

What to expect

Over the two-day period, you will be learning both the basics of sampling systems and getting that hands-on experience with the equipment. This includes:

Day 1 - Fundamentals: classwork and basic exercises
  • Performance review of sample systems
  • Diagnosing and fixing time delay problems
  • In-depth look at system components
Day 2 - Sample conditioning techniques
  • Design of field stations and fast loop systems
  • Troubleshoot systems
  • Group projects
  • And more!

Included in the course fee covers all provided course materials, snacks, lunch, and beverages. 

Swagelok’s Sampling System Training (SSM) teaches both the fundamental and advanced practices in analytical instrumentation operation and maintenance. Register for the two-day course today to be empowered in your job for maintaining your sampling system with minimal error and with greater system integrity. Registration deadline is December 31st, 2018.

Have a question before you register, send us a message!

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Whacky Alberta Weather Calls for Wise Winterizing

Thu, Oct 25, 2018 @ 15:10 PM / by Katie Reid posted in winterization, Steam, Downloads

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Low temperatures can mean ruptured tubing and other problems. Here are four free resources to help you winterize... and avoid crises.


winterization group

We have tips to help you prep your facility for cold weather, including three videos (described and linked to below) and a new PDF flyer.

Winterization Checklist


Record heat, record cold, record precipitation, and more

Headlines about unusual weather are common these days, as record after record is broken for heat, cold, snow, and other meteorological events. And while we can't predict weather, we can help you cut risk by taking proven steps to winterize your operation.

"People understand they have to winterize, but most of the time it becomes a reactive procedure rather than proactive," says Tristian McCallion, local field service advisor for Edmonton Valve & Fitting. "People just sort of forget about it, then all of a sudden October hits and they say, 'Oh yes, we meant to do that.' But really, you should already have the work done by the time you start thinking about bringing your winter jacket out."

New PDF provides winterization tips at a glance

If you aren't sure where to start when you are beginning your winterization process at your plant, look no further than our "Fluid Systems Winterization Checklist." This document will help you with your initial sweep of your facility and what you key indicators you should be looking for in determining your needs. Download your free copy here and get started!

Winterization tips by and for pros

Three videos feature McCallion discussing winterization best-practices: The first one, "Tracing," covers the basics of using heat tracing systems to keep pipes from freezing. The second one, "Steam Tracing Trap Stations & Trap Testing," looks at steam trap stations for tracing. And the third one, "Unit Heaters," addresses unit heaters and different applications. 

Which is better, jacketing or tracing?

Tracing is based on a simple principal: The amount of heat energy that needs to be added to process fluids must equal to the amount of heat energy that is being lost due to low surrounding temperatures. That can be accomplished in a couple of ways. Process valves and other components can be jacketed. That gives a large heat-transfer area, and they are relatively easy to install. But the installation costs are relatively high and the jacket makes it harder to see failure points.

One alternative is to use a bare tube attached to the line. They are easy to install and maintain, and they are reliable. What you sacrifice is the amount of heat transfer surface area.

In the "Tracing" video we cover material selection and design. For instance, condensate is drained from steam tracer systems by gravity. A good design will be free of low spots in the tracer run, and not wrap around the tubing.

We also will cover system startups. Even with the best steam system design, starting it up improperly can create water hammer.

What is best way to test steam traps?

Steam systems need to trap any condensate. Most industrial plants have some type of steam traps, but they get caught in a dilemma: The technology is so reliable that companies don't think much about it. As older workers retire, they may not pass along their knowledge to younger workers. Then when a problem does arise, the staff is stumped. In the "Steam Tracing Trap Stations & Trap Testing" video you'll get a look at the essentials, such as the best way to test steam traps.

How do we maximize a unit heaters' efficiency?

The third video, "Unit Heaters," covers unit heaters. While they are simple devices, people sometimes have misconceptions about how to get the best performance from them. For instance, a higher temperature setting doesn't actually mean you'll get warmer, McCallion says. He explains how to maximize efficiency and goes into their component parts, such as whether propeller fans or blower fans are better for a particular application. (Blowers are generally quieter, by the way.)


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Swagelok Company Launches Their New Blog Hub - "Swagelok Reference Point"

Thu, Oct 18, 2018 @ 10:10 AM / by Katie Reid posted in Value Added Services, Online Services

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Additional Swagelok expertise and resources for fluid system experts


Blog- social media- Facebook

You can find the newest blog posts at https://www.swagelok.com/en/blog


What's new?

Swagelok Company recently launched their newest 'hotspot' for all things fluid system related with their blog, "Swagelok Reference Point."

You can expect to see two to three new blogs post per month, so there will always be fresh content and relate-able blogs to your applications and industries. 

You can find topics such as:

  • Analytical Instrumentation
  • Fluid System Training
  • Fluid System Safety
  • Fluid System Evaluation

We at Edmonton Valve will be cross-referencing the blogs in our blog space too, so we will be keeping you up-to-date on the newest posts and relevant topics to our customers. 

We hope you enjoy this new online space - check out the Swagelok Reference Point blog today!

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Have questions about this post, send us a quick email and we will be happy to assist.

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Industry Veterans Name the Most Common Challenges with Process Analyzer Sampling Systems

Mon, Oct 01, 2018 @ 09:10 AM / by Katie Reid posted in Sample Systems, People

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After a combined 80 years working with sampling systems, industry experts Tony Waters and Phil Harris reflect on the problems they've seen most


In this video Tony Waters and Phil Harris discuss recurring maintenance problems, fundamental design issues, and hidden issues that hamstring customer operations. Get in touch for a collaborative, expert evaluation of your system by our team.

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Fluid system operators use grab sampling—aka spot sampling or lab sampling—to validate process conditions, check whether end products meet quality specifications, see if online analyzers are fit for use, and ensure product quality during custody transfers. It can also provide verification of environmental emissions. 

In all of these uses, capturing a representative sample is essential. But at some plants, recurring maintenance issues hamstring operations.

“Some of the installations, the customer’s been experiencing problems that require maintenance technicians to go and work on the device frequently, over and over, perhaps called out in the middle of the night or later on a weekend, because there’s been an issue with the analyzer,” says Phil Harris, an ISA Analysis Division Fellow and industry veteran who's authored numerous papers on analyzer systems, routinely presents at industry conferences and technical seminars, and brings extensive experience in nuclear energy, oil refining and alternative fuels applications.

Fundamental design issues are remarkably common, too. Those can lead to fluids being where they shouldn't be, or vice versa.

“[A design flaw] that comes to mind that we see all the time is that a line is supposed to be heated... but we find that it’s only half heated or not heated at all or the heating’s turned off," says Tony Waters, "or sometimes just the opposite: the thing is so hot that it’s causing the samples to polymerize or decompose in some way.”

Waters, who like Harris is an ISA Analysis Division Fellow, brings over 50 years of experience with process analyzers and sampling systems to his numerous training programs, which have been presented in many countries. He has also founded three companies and has worked in engineering and marketing roles for an analyzer manufacturer, end-user and a systems integrator. He periodically leads the Process Analyzer Sampling System (PASS) Course here in Edmonton.

Then there are cases of onsite pros not knowing that a process analyzer isn't doing its job—which might be the riskiest scenario.

“A process analyzer can actually look like it’s working but actually be doing nothing that’s valuable to anybody," Waters adds. "For instance, the time delay that we see on systems is quite enormous sometimes. Sometimes we’re talking about hours or even days of delay before they actually get the measurement.”

Three ways we can help you with sampling systems today


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Video: Animation Shows How to Use Swagelok's Standard Gas Panel

Tue, Sep 18, 2018 @ 11:09 AM / by Katie Reid posted in Sample Systems, Custom Solutions

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Swagelok grab sampling panels are simple to operate. This 90-second animation shows an example.



Our customers need a reliable grab sample system that can be available across multiple sites and between site locations and still support specific application needs. That's why Swagelok has developed a number of standard grab sample panel designs for use in all types of plants and facilities where fluids are being processed.

Two system types allow for capture into one of two types of containers — pressure‑containing metal cylinders as found in the Grab Sample Module (GSM) or non-pressure‑containing glass or polyethylene bottles as found in the Liquid Only Sampling Module (GSL).

Standard panel designs

Part of the value of a Swagelok grab sample solution is that you're getting a standardized offering available in just about any location. That adds tremendous value for those with multiple sites. Plus, no need to worry about adjusting your sample because of a system limitation. We get it correctly configured from the start.

Easy operation

Another part of the value is Swagelok grab sampling panels are simple to operate (that's not the case with a number of other options we've seen). For example, to operate our Standard Gas Panel:

  • Turn sample valve to VENT
  • Release the quick connect (at the top of the cylinder)
  • Connect your sample cylinder to the quick connect and close the clamp
  • Connect the hose the cylinder’s bottom
  • Open the cylinder valves and turn the sample valve to SAMPLE
  • When the cylinder is full, reverse the process (watch the animation for details)

Three ways we can help you with grab sampling today

  1. Click to schedule an assessment—Improve your sampling systems reliability with an expert, in-depth evaluation of your sampling systems, from tap to grab sample station
  2. Click to use our Grab Sample Product Selection MatrixSee a summary of common system criteria and the grab sample system recommended for each combination
  3. Click to view our Grab Sampling Systems Application Guide—Browse the available Swagelok grab sample system configurations

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Inboard, Outboard, Internal Leaks... and Tips on How to Stop Them

Thu, Sep 06, 2018 @ 15:09 PM / by Katie Reid posted in Value Added Services, Cost Savings

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Any energy management program should include efforts to prevent and repair leaks


Engineer

Leaks can be costly in more ways than one. Download our Hidden Costs of Leakage PDF to explore how a leak in your system could be impacting your business and budget. 
Download: Cost of Leakage


Leak breakdown

In any fluid system, there could be one or more kinds of leaks:

  • Inboard leakage, where something is flowing into the system from outside
  • Outboard leakage, where something is flowing out of containment into the environment, or
  • Internal leakage, where something is flowing across internal seals within containment, such as a leaky valve seat

There can even be virtual leaks, where nothing is breaching the containment, but internally trapped fluid gets released into the system due to material out-gassing, absorbed or adsorbed fluids, entrapment in cracks or dead-legs, etc.

Leakage can take many forms, like:

  • Compressed air leaking out of a pneumatic system
  • Steam escaping from a processing line
  • Hydraulic fluid seeping out of machinery

Common causes 

Bad installation techniques are frequent causes of leaks. Common mistakes include failing to fully insert tubing into the tube fitting body, under-tightening, over-tightening, putting bends in the tubing too close to the end of the tube, and poorly preparing the tube. Surface defects such as dents and scratches can lead to leaks too.

Another cause of leakage is using components outside their rated temperature and pressure ratings or with incompatible materials. Also, low quality fluid system components also contribute to leaks. Proper selection of high quality fluid system components are an integral part of creating leak tight fluid systems.

(Recommended: Get local help with product selection.)

Isn't some leakage normal?

It's true that whether it's an inboard, outboard, or virtual leak, no man-made system will always be leak-free. But consider the following:

A group of 1,304 different process installations leak checked more than 600,000 fittings for a five-year period ending in September 2013, and reported the results to Swagelok Company. Almost 10% of the fittings that had been interchanged or intermixed with another manufacturer's components were found leaking, and pipe fittings had a leak rate of about 7 percent. In contrast, Swagelok tube fittings had a leak rate of about 1%. (This data is not offered as test results that are scientifically valid or statistically significant.)

While the 1% leak rate for Swagelok fittings is 7-10 times better than pipe fittings and intermixed/interchanged fittings, we believe that one leak is one too many. So, we strive to get to the root cause of every leak. We find that many Swagelok tube fittings are not installed according to our installation instructions. Poor installation practices, low quality tubing, improper tubing or fitting selection - all these contribute to leak rates. We have found that customer leak rates can approach zero when Swagelok tube fittings are used in concert with high quality tubing, a robust Swagelok safety and installation training program, and energy management services.

Isn't tracking down and stopping all the leaks expensive?

Possibly -- but not stopping them is likely to be expensive too.

The leak data noted above correlates well with a study performed by Dr. Arthur Sterling of the Chemical The-Hidden-Costs-of-Leakage.png Engineering Department at Louisiana State University in 1999. Dr. Sterling surveyed eleven industrial plants in the Louisiana area and determined that leaks were present in many areas of the plant. The average instrument air leak was 494 milliliters per minute. Using a cost of $0.40 per 1000 cubic feet of instrument air, the average fitting leak costs $0.31 per month.

Leaks can damage equipment, hurt production, cause product contamination, and create unsafe working conditions and other health hazards. All it takes is a small puddle of hydraulic fluid or a jet of steam to put someone in the hospital.

If that is not motivation enough to engage in proactive leak detection and prevention programs, fluid loss is also expensive. According to a study conducted by the Energy Department's Office of Industrial Technologies, even something as simple as a ¼” diameter leak of compressed air can cost as much as $8,382 a year using a rate of five cents per kWh and assuming constant operation and an efficient compressor.

How to find leaks

We have a few ways to spot leaks. One is to put the suspect parts under water in a chamber made of transparent polycarbonate and look for bubbles. Another is to apply one of our Snoop® liquid leak detectors. When the parts are pressurized, the leak will produce bubbles. Leaks are usually expressed as a flow — a volume per unit of time. Anyone using Snoop will get the basic idea instantly: the bigger the bubbles, the worse the leak.

Leaks can also be detected by measuring losses in pressure, and of course by simply looking to see if any fluid is escaping. Technology has added to the arsenal of tools. The list now includes thermal imaging cameras and ultrasonic (acoustic) leak detectors.

Leak detection + leak prevention = better safety and lower costs

Any good energy management program should include efforts to prevent and repair leaks. If you don't have such a program, start one. If you already are making the effort, make sure you document any resulting energy savings. You may be surprised at how fast leak prevention and repair can pay for itself. You'll have lower maintenance costs, less downtime, higher production, and safer workers. Lower overall system costs add up to more profitability.

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Talk with our team about finding, assessing, and addressing leaks at your facility:

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Swagelok: Helping Provide That Extra Source of Brainpower

Thu, Aug 30, 2018 @ 13:08 PM / by Katie Reid posted in Q&A, People, Resources, Training, Value Added Services

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Up to 50% of skilled workers could retire withing the next 10 years - we can help relieve that pressure


Brain

Building an effective training program can help maintain the skills of your experienced workforce and assist your new staff in getting up to speed. Let us help with our free resource, “Three Steps to Building an Effective Plant Training Program."

Download: Effective Training Program


Did you know last year alone Swagelok helped train approximately 40,000 individuals on their plant’s fluid systems? If you weren't one of them, we can assist you today. 

Building an effective training program

Not sure on where to start in building an effective training program for your plant and operations? Here is a quick overview on our free download:

  • How to meet the varied needs of your labour force
    (Step 1: "Don't leave anyone out")
  • Questions to ask when looking for a training provider 
    (Step 2: "Look for experienced instructors")
  • The proper follow-up for your people after training
    (Step 3: "Manage the 'forgetting curve' ")
  • Bonus tips for each step

Learn more about our training offerings, get in touch today. 

Additional resources:

 

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Video: How Swagelok's Grab Sampling Systems Compare

Thu, Aug 23, 2018 @ 15:08 PM / by Katie Reid posted in Sample Systems, People, local expert

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Straight talk from pros, including Swagelok Field Engineer Stacey Phillips, on the difference between Swagelok Grab Sampling Systems and other options on the market.


"Every customer has a different set up in their refinery or their their area that they're working in. We have that localized capability to customize and we can go out to their site and see exactly where they're putting them. In that sense we have a little bit of an advantage."

- Stacey Phillips, Field Engineer, Swagelok Edmonton


Grab sample systems should be tailored to exactly meet your needs and simple to operate. Achieving that means having local, on-the-ground support.

Key advantages discussed in this video include:

  1. Swagelok grab sampling panels are simple and easy to operate; that's not the case with a number of other options we've seen.
  2. A lot of our competitors work through distribution networks that don't have a lot of experience with fittings and valves; here, we are fittings and valves experts and we are adding another component to them.
  3. Some of our competitors really seem to operate as parts suppliers; we think in terms of fulfilling customers' exact requirements through design optimization, customization, fabrication, assembly, and ongoing support.
  4. Our forensic capabilities are unmatched; if, for example, an analyzer cannot get the kinds of readings needed or is getting faulty readings, an operator will come and take a physical sample and bring it back to the lab to either confirm or diagnose an issue with the actual processing unit.
  5. With Swagelok, customers know they are getting a standardized offering available in just about any location, that adds tremendous value for those with multiple sites.
  6. Our customers can actually view prototypes and handle modification and tweaks to their design on-site with our engineers.

Three ways we can help you with grab sampling today


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Q&A: Swagelok Tube Fitting Pressure Ratings

Tue, Aug 07, 2018 @ 09:08 AM / by Katie Reid posted in Fittings, Q&A

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Customers often ask us about how to find out the pressure rating of a particular Swagelok tube fitting. Here's how our team provides the answer.

 Q1: What is the lowest-rated component in the system?

The pressure rating of a Swagelok tube fitting depends on the lowest rated component in the system in which it is installed.

Sometimes the lowest pressure rated component is a pipe thread, a pressure gauge, or a valve. Other times it will be the pressure rating of the tubing itself, and that will vary depending on the tubing's size, wall thickness and material of construction.  

Q2: Is the tubing softer than the fitting material?

Swagelok provides tables with the suggested allowable working pressure and suggested ordering information for tubing to be used with Swagelok tube fittings.

The key to selecting proper tubing for use with metal Swagelok tube fittings is that the tubing must be softer than the fitting material. Swagelok tube fittings are designed to work properly with the tubing that is suggested in the ordering instructions.

The tables show working pressure ratings of tubing in a wide range of tube wall thicknesses and outside diameters. Swagelok tube fittings have been repeatedly tested in both the minimum and maximum wall thicknesses shown in the tubing data tables. Swagelok tube fittings are not recommended for tube wall thicknesses outside the ranges shown in the tables for each size.

3. How will it be installed?

System performance also depends on correctly installing your Swagelok tube fitting. Check out this clip to see the kind of tube fitting installation training available in our seminars:

Brush up on fabricating, choosing tubing vs. pipe, applying thread sealants and lubricants, and more with experienced, Swagelok-certified trainers, and earn a signed Swagelok Certificate of Completion.


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