November is for Epilepsy Awareness

We talk a lot about growing at Component Supply. Growing inventory. Growing our team. Growing capabilities. But, no matter how much Component Supply grows, ensuring its position as a resource for research and development will always be a priority to me. I’ve been fascinated by medical research since I was a young girl and working alongside it is truly a dream come true. But, it’s not just my job — it’s my passion. And as you know, most passions stem from personal experience.

For me, that personal experience was losing my cousin Gregory during my freshman year of college. Gregory suffered from epileptic seizures, but his family did everything they could to make sure he lived as normal a life as possible. He played sports, loved to surf, and had an awesome group of friends.

Gregory was also my favorite buddy during our summer family reunions together. We rode rides at amusement parks, bodysurfed and boogie-boarded in the ocean, and played on the beach for hours on end. He died doing what he loved most – surfing, and even years later, I’m always looking for ways to honor and remember him. He was an inspiring overcomer, and we could all use a little more of that in our lives.

According to the American Epilepsy Society, “epilepsy is the second leading cause of death from a neurological condition and affects more people in the U.S. than multiple sclerosis, cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy and Parkinson’s combined, yet receives fewer federal dollars per patient than each of these.”

So in honor of my cousin, Gregory, and with the research statistics in mind, Component Supply has chosen epilepsy as the focus of our REAP program for the month of November. All throughout this month, we will support labs and promote research in this field. If you’re a researcher seeking advancements for epilepsy, contact us about how we can support your lab by discounting standard supply items (hypodermic tubing, 304 stainless steel wire, fittings, etc.), waiving our prototype minimums for fabricated parts, and promoting your research.

We want to see patients nationwide REAP the benefits of advancements in research and development for the diseases affecting them. Let us support you as you change the world for epilepsy patients. | | 931-761-4000

For more information about Epilepsy visit these resources:

The American Epilepsy Society

The Epilepsy Foundation

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Breast Cancer Awareness Month

Mother. Sister. Wife. Daughter. Niece. Grandmother. Friend.

Everyone knows someone whose life has been turned upside down by breast cancer. We learn more every day about the risks, the signs, and early detection, but it still pervades the lives of women all over the world.

Thankfully, there are researchers who have dedicated their lives to understanding, preventing, and curing breast cancer so that someday, our daughters – and their daughters – will not face the same threats we face today.

As the R&D resource, Component Supply has always believed that we are more than a supplier and fabricator of metal and plastic tubing and wire. We promote and support research every day by supplying quality, affordable components faster than anyone, and this month we want to offer special support to researchers of breast cancer through REAP – our Research Engagement and Awareness Program.

To facilitate research engagement, Component Supply will offer 25% off catalog pricing* for standard supply items to breast cancer research. Also, for customers requiring custom fabrication, we will waive our $150 prototyping minimum. All you have to do is send us a link to your research lab website or a 3-5 sentence summary of the work you are doing in the field, and we will apply the requested discounts.**

Throughout the month of October, we hope that our efforts will allow patients to REAP the benefits of the life-changing advancements we see from our R&D customers every day. Let’s Change The World together.

*Discounts cannot be applied to volume price breaks. 

**Research website and research summary must highlight breast cancer to be eligible for the October discount. 

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REAP: Research Engagement and Awareness Program

As the R&D resource, Component Supply has always believed that we are more than a supplier and fabricator of metal and plastic tubing and wire. We promote and support research every day by supplying quality, affordable components faster than anyone.

But, for us, it’s not enough.

That’s why we’ve launched REAP – our Research Engagement and Awareness Program. We want to see patients nationwide REAP the benefits of advancement in research and development for the diseases affecting them. As you may know, every month in the United States there are national awareness campaigns launched for various diseases. Component Supply is using these national campaigns as a catalyst for our efforts to support the research occurring in these fields. In line with national awareness efforts, we will select at least one disease per month on which to focus our REAP efforts of engagement and awareness.

To facilitate research engagement, Component Supply will offer 25% off catalog pricing* for standard supply items to researchers in the selected field that month. Also, for customers requiring custom fabrication, we will waive our $150 prototyping minimum. All you have to do is send us a link to your research lab website or a 3-5 sentence summary of the work you are doing in the field, and we will apply the requested discounts.** To promote research awareness for work being done for the selected diseases, we will highlight research news on our website, blog, Facebook pages, and customer communication. We hope that our monthly efforts will allow patients to REAP the benefits of the life-changing advancements we see from our R&D customers every day.

This month, our goal is to see SARCOMA patients REAP the benefits of R&D advancements for their disease. Send your RFQ, orders, and links to your research website to with the subject “REAP2019.” We look forward to working with you!

*Discounts cannot be applied to volume price breaks. 

**Research website and research summary must highlight SARCOMA to be eligible for the July discount. 

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Component Supply Celebrates 10 Years of Business

Component Supply has always been a small business located in a small town. But when it moved from Central Florida to Middle Tennessee two years ago, the business finally had room to grow beyond the storage container where it began 10 years ago.

Father-son partners, Phil and Mark Maffett, spent five years on the management team for Small Parts, Inc., an industrial and scientific supplier in South Florida, before the company was sold to in 2005. Phil moved to Central Florida after the sale, but Mark continued to work for Amazon for two years before leaving. Then in 2009, Mark and Phil received a call with the opportunity to buy back the Small Parts equipment.

“We had a contracting business digging ditches and cutting grass. We were trying to figure out what to do with our lives while we were in the middle of a non-compete agreement,” Mark said. “Then God gave us the business back.”

But, he was hesitant at first.

“I didn’t know if I wanted to do it again. I had already done it once. I didn’t know how we’d get our customers back. Small Parts was a 40-year-old company with an amazing reputation. Duplicating that from the ground up was just too big.”

But with Phil’s persuading, the two decided it was something they could do on a small scale. So, without a company name, they made the deal. They brought the equipment, tables and fixtures to their family farm in Central Florida and parked it under a barn while they tried to decide what to do with it.

“The salesman in Mark pointed out to me that we had no customers,” Phil said. “But we rented an air-conditioned shipping container and stored the equipment there anyway.”

Shortly after they made the purchase, they were contacted by a company in South America who wanted them to supply nylon tubing. Then another customer needed hypodermic tubing. The material was processed in the 40-foot-long container, which had an air conditioner on one end and both doors kept open on the other end to keep the temperature manageable.

“It was hot during the fall in Florida, but we worked in there for a couple of months because we had so many orders that were coming in. We processed everything in that building,” Mark said. “Customers sent purchase orders to our names because there was no company name. We didn’t have any certifications or vendors set up. No power to run equipment. Nothing. Everything was just stored in the container.”

But Mark felt like there was a future for Component Supply beyond the shipping container. So, he and Phil bought two 400-square-foot buildings. At first, one building held a computer, a table for processing material, a saw for cutting tubing and a one-leg desk with one side nailed into the wall. The other building sat empty for a while. Eventually, operations were in one building and receiving, shipping and accounts receivable moved into the other. Three part-time employees were added, and one small rack stored all the material.

Then, more opportunities came as Mark and Phil contacted their former vendors, who were happy the pair was getting back into the business.

“Even though we hadn’t talked to them in years, our vendors remembered us and how we conducted business at Small Parts and issued us credit,” Mark said.

After the first two invoices were shipped, it was time to name the company. “National Component Supply” was the first business name idea, but because the first order was international, Component Supply Company was chosen instead.

“Then about a year later in 2010, I remember sitting at my desk, working on our website and thinking, ‘We have employees. This is actually a place of employment’,” Mark said. “But, I never expected it to be what it is now.”

In 2011, another building was added, allowing room for a small machine shop and for larger volumes of material to be processed. But it wasn’t long before it was time to expand again. While the initial vision was for the company to be an industrial supplier for standard tubing products like hypodermic tubing, nylon and silicone tubing, there was a significant void in the scientific and engineering supply market. Customers were looking for someone to fill the void.

“Our customers found us,” Mark said. “It’s so fulfilling to work with people who are working in those fields, whether medical or aerospace, because they further technology in research and development or in production. As a result, so much of what we do changes quality of life.”

As former customers continued to find Component Supply, the need for even more space became obvious. An additional 1000-square-foot warehouse was built.

“It took us about 8 months to move into it, and by the time we were moved in, we were already maxed out. But we were stuck. We couldn’t add more space. So, we started to look for places to move or rent. Plus, we just wanted to live near the mountains, and when many of our employees wanted to move too, and all those doors were open, we pursued it,” Mark said.

To provide the best services to its customers, Component Supply needed to find a new home closer to the UPS and FedEx hubs and at least one time zone over so the west coast customers could benefit from same-day shipping. After several months of searching for a new building, Phil finally came across the perfect property just outside of Cookeville, Tennessee. In the fall of 2016, renovations began and by June 2017, all operations had fully transitioned into a 10,000-square-foot section of the new facility.

“This building has easy access without feeling like you’re in an industrial park, but it has all the infrastructure that an industrial park would give you,” Mark said. “It gives us a nice working environment for our amazing team with a tremendous amount of room to expand.”

And Mark has big plans for all that space.

“We’re excited about adding new capabilities for custom fabrication because it builds stronger relationships with our customers. We’re ready to test the boundaries of small quantities and short lead times. We want to be the resource that other people can’t be or are unwilling to be. I’m excited that Component Supply has the same reputation that Small Parts had for so many years.”

This summer, as Component Supply celebrates its tenth year of business, it will continue to pursue the mission it has always had: “to be a resource for researchers and product designers by connecting them with the components and knowledge they need to change the world.”



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Shipping Costs Realities: FedEx One Rate Program

The shipping advice we provided in the last posts is relevant to all shipping providers. However, we want to separately address one program that has stood out among the rest and encourage any customers using FedEx services to utilize it: FedEx One Rate.

Through FedEx’s One Rate program, we can ship many of our orders 2nd day for roughly the same price as, and sometimes even less than, ground shipping. It only applies to shipments that can fit inside the FedEx envelopes and express boxes, but we are able to package large amounts of product in them. One trick we were taught was to use a small box, say 6x6x4, and put that inside the FedEx envelope. This method ships packages valued at less than $100 2nd day air anywhere in the U.S, including Alaska and Hawaii, for less than $9.50.

We have customers that are requesting ground shipping on their account, but they are not able to take advantage of the cost savings because they have not signed up for it. This is a great program that we would like to see our customers take advantage of so we can use it when they want to ship orders using their own FedEx accounts. We would urge you to talk to your FedEx representative about this program. Even though it only applies to smaller shipments, we can ship products like our blunt needles, fittings, and PTFE tubing with this method and save customers some shipping costs while providing the benefit of shipping 2nd day. Unfortunately, due to their length, hypodermic tubing and wire cannot be shipped this way unless precision cutting has been performed.

We hope some of these ideas have been helpful. If you want to talk to us about how we can work with you and your organization to be more efficient with some of these costs, please contact us. This is just another way we can be a resource to our customers.


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Shipping Cost Realities: Three More Tips and Custom Fab

In our last post, we shared tips 1-3 for cutting shipping costs. Here are three more tips to consider for future orders:

4) Be flexible with your shipping carrier. Shipping costs depend on size, shape, and weight of the package, along with transit route, time frame, and negotiated rates of your company, and your supplier. When you are ordering from Component Supply, if you do not have your own account with UPS or FedEx, we are willing to determine the most cost-efficient rate depending on when you expect your delivery. So, simply indicate “ground” or “overnight” or “two-day” and leave the research to us to help connect you with the best rate.

5) Ask suppliers to ship from one warehouse when possible. We often purchase from suppliers who have multiple locations. Don’t be afraid to call and ask your supplier to ship from one warehouse if it is possible. We ship everything from our Sparta, TN facility, so this is not something you need to consider with us. But, every one of our suppliers that we request this of has been very helpful and willing.

6) Order shorter if the larger length is not necessary.  Keep in mind that everything over 48” long has a $14 special handling charge from the larger carrier companies. So, if you can accept the product (like hypodermic tubing or straightened wire) in lengths shorter than 48” then you can cut out that fee from the carrier. Remember, any of our 72” wire is also available in 36” lengths and our 60” hypodermic tubing can be sent in 30” lengths.

If you would be performing precision cutting of the material, like most end-users do, consider submitting a request for quote and letting us perform that operation for you to save you production time and shipping costs.

The mission of Component Supply is to connect researchers and product designers with the knowledge and components they need to change the world. 

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Shipping Cost Realities and 3 Tips

At Component Supply, we pour time and effort into affirming our role as a resource from the perspective of our product offering: comprehensiveness, no/low minimum order quantity, and competitive pricing. However, what often gets overlooked is our effort to understand shipping processes and how they affect our customers’ pricing.

This week, we are dedicating three blog posts to shipping processes because costs associated with shipping is one of our customers’ biggest frustrations. Thanks to Amazon Prime and Walmart, we all tend to get a little antsy when shipping isn’t free. But, FedEx and UPS cannot do their job for free any more than we can. Furthermore, this is industry – business to business, and the expectations are different. But, because we do work closely with our shipping carriers and are constantly looking to make improvements that will impact the pricing and security of delivery, we want to pass along some advice:

1) Purchase for multiple departments, projects, or production lines at once. This may not always work with limitations on how purchase orders are placed and need to be received, but if you can bundle multiple orders into one shipment, you can often greatly reduce shipping costs.

2) Purchase larger volumes less often. Much of the product we supply does not take up much space. If your demand can justify purchasing in larger quantities but fewer times a year, then take advantage of it. We work with numerous customers to lower their shipping costs this way and, in some cases, we can even lower the product costs themselves with discounts for larger volumes.

3) Order more items of similar size or structure at once. If you are buying coils of plastic tubing and also long lengths of straightened wire, you can’t take advantage of efficient, consolidated shipments because those items ship in very different sizes and types of boxes to arrive securely. However, if you can plan further in advance and order larger volumes of similar products at once then more efficient packaging, and therefore lower shipping costs, are available.

Check back tomorrow for three more tips and how to take advantage of capabilities that can reduce your production resources once you’ve brought material in house.

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Demand for PTFE Coated Wire Causes Quality Problems

In our decades of experience in the tubing and wire industry, we have never seen the quality issues with PTFE coated wire that we have seen over the past eight months. Combining the strength and durability of stainless steel wire with the lubricity of PTFE, this material has become highly desirable in the medical device industry. Unfortunately, that demand took its toll on the quality of the product in 2018. From a multitude of suppliers, we began seeing inconsistent coating thicknesses, delamination of the PTFE coating, and scratched or scraped sections of the coating throughout the length of the wire. We were failing lot after lot of material at incoming inspection from sources we’ve used and trusted for years. New coating suppliers, who were entering the business after seeing the sudden and explosive growth in the industry, were releasing the product while their coating methods and techniques had not yet been perfected. Inferior products were released, and it didn’t take long for distributors to realize these new releases were not the quality of product they had received in the past.

Unfortunately, we have not seen this problem completely remedied in the first part of 2019. We have worked hard with our coaters to ensure the consistency of coating as well as manageable lead times, but quality and supply issues are still surfacing. At Component Supply, we want to put material on the shelf that eliminates these potential issues, but it has taken a huge investment in time and resources to work through the coating process, find the right supplier, and get the quantities we need in our inventory.

As the industry continues to grow and adjust to the demand of this product, we suggest you plan even further ahead, keeping longer lead times in mind. If you need a supplier or would like the opportunity to speak with someone about the lead times for PTFE coated wire, we would be happy to help you plan your buying for the year and ensure you are going to get the quality of product you expect.


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End of the Year Update 2018: Our Best Year Yet!

Another year is coming to an end, and Component Supply would like to thank our faithful customers for making 2018 our best year yet. We are excited about the partnerships we have built this year and the role you have allowed us to play in changing lives for people all over the world. We’ve seen tremendous growth not only in our company, but also throughout the industries we serve. In 2018, this growth allowed Component Supply to:

  • Expand our inventory with an additional 1.5 million feet of tubing and wire.
  • Acquire new equipment to perform laser cutting of mesh for custom filtration applications.
  • Add 10 times our 2017 capacity for custom cutting of PTFE tubing.
  • Double our precision cutting capacity for metal tubing and wire.
  • Increase our number of employees by 20%.
  • Obtain our ISO 9001:2015 certification.

In 2019, you can expect to see continued growth as well as even more attention to our R&D friends. We still work to better understand your needs for low minimums, fast lead times and affordable pricing, and as always, we encourage you to send us your drawings as we collaborate to find solutions. As you transition to production, you can rest assured that we will continue to improve our quality management system, expand our capabilities and increase our capacities to the standards required for production. As always, it is our goal to put the best components in the hands of the brightest researchers and product designers, so they can change the world.

Thank you for partnering with us in 2018. We can’t wait to work with you again in the new year!

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Researcher Spotlight: Sarah Suda Petters, Ph.D., NSF Postdoctoral Fellow, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Meet Sarah Suda Petters, NSF Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.


B.S., Physics 2008
M.S., Atmospheric Science 2011
Ph.D., Atmospheric Science 2015


When Petters entered graduate school, the aerosol research group offered her a stipend for her work, which led her to her current field of study. For over eight years, Petters has been studying atmospheric aerosol particles, which are suspensions of nano-scale particles with diameters of roughly 10 to 1000 nanometers. These ubiquitous particles can exceed concentrations of 10,000 particles per cubic centimeter and impact air quality, visibility of remote landmarks, regional climate systems and human health.

The effect of aerosols on large-scale phenomena depends in part on the physical properties of the particles themselves including solubility in water, their volatility, or the time it takes for them to equilibrate under environmental changes.

Petters’ work specifically addresses the question of aerosol volatility.

“I am generating particles by feeding an aqueous solution of dissolved organic compounds (via tubing and fittings from Component Supply Company) through a 20-micrometer orifice. A jet forms as the liquid is ejected at about 0.2 mL/min through the orifice, and the surface tension around the liquid jet pinches off droplets at a uniform rate. As these droplets evaporate, the organic compound remains in the condensed phase.”

However, Petters’ dissolved samples are slightly volatile and will evaporate with the water. Residual particle size shows how volatile the sample is. Petters hopes to link the volatility and hygroscopic character of aerosol particles to some of the chemical pathways that result in particle formation in the atmosphere. But, as with any research, it is challenging to control the conditions of the experiment.

“Aerosol measurements are made using suspended particles that must be either generated in the lab or captured from the environment and measured in an airstream without impacting them on anything. Thus, conditioning the airstream during all stages of the measurement is critically important. It is also challenging to verify the chemical reaction pathways for even the simplest of reactions. For example, if you oxidize a common atmospheric gas, pinene (it evaporates from pine needles), using ozone, you will end up with over 1000 products. There are a handful of different schools of thought on how to understand the complexity of atmospheric chemical reactions. Some people simplify these into categories of reactions. Others view this process only through the formed chemicals and bypass the complexity of the entire reaction, others study simple systems and make inferences extending to more complex systems.”

Fun Facts Q&A: 

What’s your favorite food? Pasta Primavera

What’s your favorite song or music group? Einsturzende Neubauten

What book do you recommend? Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World. I do love flying…

What’s the coolest gadget you’ve ever seen?  I don’t like gadgets. The coolest thing is a DMA (differential mobility analyzer), which is a set of shiny steel concentric cylinders that size-segregates particles using an electric field of several thousand volts.

What’s on your bucket list? To create a famous graph.

Who is a person throughout history you’d most like to meet? The trouble is that most famous people throughout history would not be great candidates for a nice friendly chat with a random fan. It would be interesting to talk with my ancestors, scientific or literal.

What is the best trip or vacation you’ve ever taken? I’ve enjoyed my various trips to sample aerosols. Maybe one of the best places was Boulder, Colorado.

What do you enjoy doing when you are not in your lab? Aikido

What is one research discovery you’d like to see? I’d like to know where the extra (unpaired) electrons go on the Criegee radical molecule. What do the bonds look like? How are the energy levels structured? This is likely already discovered but I’d like to know.

Learn More:

Read more details about Petters’ work here:

For products that have been useful to Petters’ and other researchers around the world, visit

To share your research story, email Kristin at

Visit the blog for more Researcher Spotlights:


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