We take a closer look at the dangers of “interchanging” Swagelok components and how it can impact the performance of the parts.
Swagelok fittings should never be interchanged or intermixed with parts from a different manufacturer as this will lead to voiding of the Swagelok warranty and other major risks to the components themselves..
With a seemingly endless number of tube fitting manufacturers on the market, we are often asked about the practice of “Interchange” or “Inter-mixing”. This practice is summarized as removing at least 1 component from a Swagelok tube fitting, and replacing the component(s) with those from a different manufacturer.
Is this a safe practice? Will the fittings perform to satisfactory standards? Who is liable if something goes wrong? What are you trying to achieve by ‘inter-mixing’ components?
These are all great questions! Let’s look at some of the issues involved:
- CRN (Canadian Registration Number) deemed VOID if intermixing components
- There is NO Commercial Design Standard for tube fittings
- Swagelok has over 200 active patents for our proprietary design
- Swagelok Warranty applies to Swagelok fittings only – intermixing voids any and all warranty
- End Users absorb full liability if inter-mixing fittings
- Field data clearly shows inter-mixed fittings carry the highest leak %
Over the years, we have become aware of many manufacturers with products, which purport to be interchangeable and intermixable with Swagelok-designed products. We do not believe that any manufacturer can reliably, repeatedly and uniformly replicate the products of another manufacturer. For this reason, we believe that interchanging and intermixing component parts made by different manufacturers can result in unpredictable performance and increased costs. We believe also that this is an unsound practice and can be dangerous in critical applications.
3rd-party opinion statements
- “It is certainly not ABSA’s position to suggest that it is alright to inter-mix components from different manufacturers….. The user of such a hybrid would be assuming a significant safety liability, in addition to contravening the (Safety Codes) Act.” TSSA (Canada) memo ABSA (Alberta Boiler Safety Authority), a branch of TSSA (Technical Standards & Safety Authority)
- “Experimental tests and finite element analysis has shown that the swaging and sealing mechanisms of fittings are different despite seeing geometric similarities. It was evident that no two companies produced components to the same dimensional or metallurgical specification and that pressure testing alone should not be used as the only means of validation." Intermixing Twin Ferrule Tube Fittings-Is it Safe? Journal of Engineering Design, Mihsein and Seymour Vol. 10, No. 4, 1999
Not worth the risk
With the information above, an inter-mixed ‘hybrid’ fitting does not retain a CRN#, possesses a high likelihood of leaking or catastrophic failure, and does not carry a warranty. In other words, inter-change opens up users to high levels of risk in various aspects. Keep your Swagelok fittings in-tact and experience the benefit of our over 70 years of manufacturing the highest quality tube fitting components in the industry.
If you have questions or concerns, don't hesitate to call one of our experienced reps for further advice. Please click here to get in touch.