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Inside Swagelok as they commit to next generation of manufacturing: Growing STEM

Swagelok, a fluid system product maker based in Solon, invited 3News on the factory floor to highlight STEM careers.

SOLON, Ohio — Northeast Ohio has no shortage of STEM career opportunities. 

And one local company is committed to growing the next generation of manufacturers. 

We'd like to introduce you to our Growing STEM Sponsor - Swagelok - a fluid system product maker based in Solon. 

Getting high risk fluids from point A to point B means tubes, fittings, valves, regulators and some serious engineering.

“Swagelok makes industrial fluid system components that solve some of the toughest applications in the world,” said Cory Cottrill, Swagelok’s technical solutions manager.

For 76 years, Northeast Ohio-based Swagelok has been piecing together solutions. That includes everything from getting gas in your car, to beer in a bottle, to the semiconductor in your cell phone. Take it a step further and the company's reach also includes clean energy, medical laboratories and from the deepest depths of the ocean to the furthest reaches of space. 

“As we go through and design a system, customers might say, ‘Oh, that's an interesting idea’, or ‘we didn't think of that’ or we may find, ‘Hey, have you thought of something like automation?’” said Jana Rossman, manager of custom solutions for Swagelok.

“Many of these solutions applications come back here to Swagelok in Solon, where we've got a huge team of technical experts who help bring it to life,” said Cottrill.

 Automation Manufacturing Strategies Manager Bryan Bradford and Director of Advance Manufacturing and Continuous Improvement Asha Montante took our crew, including Betsy Kling, on a tour of the factory.

“We're going to show you some of the latest and greatest technology in order to make Swagelok product today,” stated Bradford.

“I cannot believe how massive this place is. This is huge. And it is packed with your thousand people,” remarked Kling.

“Three shifts. All making parts. And this is one of 20 manufacturing facilities in northeast Ohio,” replied Montante.

And so it’s the workforce, the technicians and their expertise with technology, that is behind Swagelok’s success.

Thousands of products, both stock and custom pieces, are cut, individually inspected and tested to ensure they are exactly what was ordered. Precision adjustments of tenths to thousandths of an inch can be made, thinner than a human hair. 

So how long does it take to go from a solid piece of metal to finished product?

“It could be 20 seconds if the part is coming out complete, all the way up to a few days,” Bradford told us.

Parts that are critical components of fluid systems that connect perfectly. It's fitting that the company is named after a way to secure parts together. Once a fitting is figure tight, you tighten it with an additional full rotation, then another quarter turn. That quarter turn is swaging, making the connection leak-proof by locking it in place. 

Hence the name Swagelok.

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