Edmonton Valve & Fitting Blog

Weekly posts for northern and central Alberta engineers, plant operators, and buyers.

Swagelok Energy Advisors: Full Steam Ahead

by Keith Johns, on Thu, Aug 02, 2012 @ 14:08 PM

swagelok partsTeam helps a new generation of maintenance staff get up to speed

Set up properly, a steam system can be easy to deal with for a decade or more. Oddly enough, that longevity can sometimes pose a challenge for the newer members of maintenance crews.

New hires used to have more overlap with the older hands. The veterans had time to pass along years of acquired knowledge before they retired. In today’s tight economy, companies are running with leaner crews. By the time a steam system needs a serious going-over, the senior people who knew it best may have been retired for a couple of years. The people now in charge might hesitate when it comes to tasks outside the normal routine – like condensate removal, or how to eliminate water hammer.

More and more, they are turning to Swagelok Energy Advisors for help. Swagelok Energy Advisors has a core team of four full-time field engineers in North America. They’re on the road three out of every four weeks. In 2011 they conducted 62 steam system reviews, held 26 training events and worked on two large implementations. When needed, they can call on local specialists like Tristian McCallion, here at Edmonton Valve & Fitting.

Most of these experts are mechanical engineers with 15 to 20 years of working with steam systems in a variety of industries. Altogether they have about a century of hands-on experience. Not only do they know steam, they know how it is applied in various processes. They understand pulp and paper mill equipment, food processing, refineries and more. So even if it is a new process, they understand what is going on inside the system. Swagelok Energy Advisors won’t just tell you that you need a valve in a particular spot, they’ll explain why.

Customized Training

Recently, Swagelok Energy Advisors have begun offering a lot of customized training. “Swagelok Energy Advisors will come out and do anything from Ten Action Points training to a three-day seminar with five or six different levels,” McCallion said.

Unlike general training that is conducted in conference centres, customized training involves coming out to your site. Often the advisors will come out the day before to discuss specific issues, then tailor the next day’s training to address them.

In addition, the field engineers’ recommendations won’t try to squeeze a Swagelok component into a steam configuration if it’s not the best part for the job. In fact, Swagelok Energy Advisors like it best when they can be in on the ground floor, helping customers design systems properly right from the start.

Steam is a stable technology with a lot of history behind it. Swagelok Energy Advisors help keep up that tradition. Just go to the Best Practices page and begin expanding your knowledge.


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