We posted a customer question not long ago concerning some shrink tubing. In my conversation with the customer, I realized he was not using the tubing for its typical application. We love that we supply material to people who aren’t afraid to try new things. But sometimes that means that we simply don’t have the answer. Sometimes it just has to be tested. Sometimes it just isn’t going to work. Like, at all.

We have a hashtag that we use on social media when sharing the new ideas we’ve been working on with customers. #ItDidntBreak. We laugh because it’s not uncommon to hear the words “Well, that broke” or “I guess that was bad idea” coming out of our shop. In the case of the shrink tubing customer, I had to tell him that he was just going to have to test it and see what happens. While we want everyone to be safe while they are working, we still want to encourage people to keep testing, researching and developing. Keep asking us questions and we will keep trying to find answers for you.  Or, at least, keep breaking things in the process.

Change the World

headshot1bwWhen we say “change the world,” we really mean it. It’s not just some inspirational cliché to us. Our customers develop products and technologies that save or improve the lives of people every day. Hundreds of patients are alive today, and thousands have a better life, because of the work we do to advance a technology, device or apparatus. In most cases, we don’t get to meet the patients. They go through a surgery or some medical procedure, and they never know that what we did made their recovery faster or less painful or even possible in the first place. They will never know that we played a role – as small as it was – in what changed their life. And they shouldn’t. They have more pressing things to consider than the work researchers and developers went through to make it a success. But their world was changed. There are people walking and talking and writing and hearing and seeing and breathing because of the work we do at Component Supply. We can say with complete confidence that we have “changed the world” before. While we may not change the whole course of history for all mankind, there are people alive and healthy because of who we work with and the work we have done. That inspires us to continue to change the world. Even if it is just for one more person.

PTFE/FEP Dual Shrink sterilization question

A customer working with both hypodermic tubing and PTFE/FEP Dual Shrink tubing asked about gas sterilization of the assembly he is making. He was working with two different sizes of hypodermic tubing, the smallest being our 30 gauge, which has an outside diameter of around 0.008″. The Dual Shrink he was using was our part number SMDT-063, which has a recovered inside diameter of 0.00″, and he was recovering short pieces of this tubing and adhering it to both sizes of hypodermic tubing. He is using ethylene gas and the stainless steel hypodermic tubing, the PTFE and the FEP can all be EtO sterilized. So here’s his question: Will the shrink tubing stay adhered to the hypodermic tubing after going through sterilization? Good question!

I responded to him and let him know that both the shrink tubing and hypodermic tubing can be EtO sterilized. But because we never had a situation where we had to test this, we just didn’t have the answer for him. Hopefully he will test this and let us know the outcome. We hope people like him continue to ask us questions. We may not always have the answer, but we always want to try and be a resource for our customers.

My Desk At Component Supply

_MG_0533_bwOther than a muddled mess of notebooks, multi-colored dry-erase markers and any remnants from my colleagues’ latest donut purchase, only two items have made my desk their permanent home: two pieces of welded hypodermic tubing. They weren’t left carelessly by the custom fab shop, and they don’t serve any practical function in my workspace. No, those pieces of metal are the souvenirs from my first day of work at Component Supply.

When I rode down to work for the first time, I had no idea what I was getting into here. However, the people were friendly and the work was intriguing, so I was willing to get my feet wet. Only there was no “getting my feet wet” at Component Supply. When I first walked into the shop, Mark handed me a pair of safety glasses, and Jeff sat me down at a welding machine with some hypodermic tubing and taught me how to weld two pieces of metal together. I’m sure I did all sorts of wrong to that poor welding machine. I don’t have Jeff’s gentle touch with machinery. Nevertheless, I welded that tubing. It wasn’t pretty, but it was my work and I was proud of it. Jeff then went on to do what I did, only much better and in much less time. I looked at the two pieces together and there was no doubt about the creator of each piece. I made some self-deprecating comment about how hopeless my welding job was compared to Jeff’s. Then Mark grabbed the result of my shoddy craftsmanship from my hands and took it over to some other machines. A couple minutes later, he brought back my welding project all smooth, shiny and polished. You can still see a difference between my work and Jeff’s, but the discrepancy seems much less obvious than it did at first.

Now I keep both pieces of hypodermic tubing on my desk to remind me of two things. First, it’s ok to take a risk and try something new. I didn’t know much about the processes of our shop when I stepped into it the first time. But, Jeff and Mark, without hesitation, let me try my hand at those processes anyway, reminding me it was ok to fail as long as I kept trying. Second, at Component Supply our team can take your original idea and make it even better. It’s just how we operate. Sometimes you create a plan and try to execute it, but your idea just doesn’t manifest itself the way you had hoped. Our team at Component Supply can take your idea, even one you thought was hopeless, and return it to you, smooth, shiny and polished. We see the potential in our researchers and product designers, and if there’s any way we can make your idea even better, we work with you to make it happen.