Octopart.com is the Google of search engines for finding industrial parts and electronics. The company is headquartered in New York, New York. Its function is to find parts from distributors and manufacturers online and make them easily searchable for purchase. There are few other websites that actually provide this service. Many manufacturers, suppliers and distributors have actually grown their businesses by using the search engine to make known their products available to those trying to find these needed products.
The company was actually founded in 2007 by 3 physics graduate school dropouts who found their calling in developing and providing this search engine for needed electronics parts. The business showed its first profitable year in 2010. With over 700,000 unique monthly visitors the search engine now has a database exceeding 30 million electronic components. In 2015 they announced they were recently purchased by Altium Limited but would continue to operate independently in the New York offices.
The company actually goes far beyond just database parts searching. A visit to their website shows the business divided into several main categories. These include:
PCB Design Software
Free downloads of the software is available as a trial version to allow customers to determine which software program is best suited to them. These include:
Altium Designer – Complete Environment for Schematic + Layout
CircuitStudio – Entry Level, Professional PCB Design Tool
CircuitMaker – Community Based PCB Design Tool
NEXUS – Agile PCB Design For Teams
The software seeks to meet searchers at their need levels.
Component Management and Search
This service includes databases for both library of publications and component part and tool number verifications. These databases provide an extensive search for the right part or tool to search. These include:
Altium Concord Pro – A Complete Solution for Library Management
Octopart – An Extensive, Easy-to-Use Component Database. This database has over 30 million electronic parts and components. Clearly the industry’s largest selection in one place.
The cloud service uses Altium 365 to provide detailed circuit board design and realization and is accessible from Altium or any internet-connected device. This in itself is an amazing component provided by the search engine allowing such direct access.
As part of its service, this site seeks to offer multiple tools and extensions to assist in completing your projects. These include:
PDN Analyzer – Natural and Effortless Power Distribution Network Analysis
Other Extensions include Altium and numerous other extension and design assistance programs and aides.
Training services are offered worldwide for individuals for many tasks. Here you will find access to classes conducted onsite and those offered digitally for training at your place of choice. This is a great resource for individual and group training, saving thousands of dollars.
Live Courses – Learn the best practices with instructional training available worldwide
On-Demand Courses – Gain comprehensive knowledge without leaving your home or office
This service allows you to upload designs in popular CAD and other manufacturing formats so users may view and share designs in the browser for exchange of information. This is another unique tool this company utilizes for the ready exchange of information and product search to completion.
Further review of the website shows this company goes beyond expectations to breakdown search and help tools by classification. With so many components the site can help narrow information by your role, industry or technology.
Design Team Leaders
Military / Aerospace
Bioscience & Medical
Touch Sensor Solutions
ECAD / MCAD
Design Data Management
Design to Cost
The services extend further at the company to include sections where participants can seek or give help. These services include a forum where users and enthusiasts alike can interact with each other to share ideas, a blog to share ideas of interest and an idea area where users can submit ideas for new tools and features. The Bug Crunch feature allows users to help make the software better by submitting bugs, fixes and voting on what’s important to them. The resource area of the site lists documentation for software, webinar and training class schedules and design content library. In addition, a library of videos and tutorials and technical papers is available for use.
For the amount of information available in these search engine databases and all of the extras this company provides, it is remarkable how well laid out the website appears. Categories and sections are easy to find and quite user friendly. Links are clear and concise and well labeled. I tested many of these links while first exploring the website and am amazed that a service available to novice and expert and individual to large company integrates the needs of its large search base to accommodate the needs of all.
A survey recently conducted to determine the makeup of the site visitors revealed a very eclectic range of industries, occupations and professions. As expected, the consumer electronics industries formed the largest single grouping with industrial machinery, tools and equipment, aerospace and defense, electronic component development, communications and education taking shares of the pie. Design engineers, purchasing professionals and research and development workers make up about half of all professions listed, with the other half coming from corporate management, hobbyists, sales and marketing, tech support, educators, architects and students.
Age groups are fairly evenly distributed for the survey, indicating 21-30-year-olds made up 23% of visitors, with 31-40-year-olds at 26%, and 41-50-year-olds at 23%. Over 50% of visitors work for small companies, including start-ups. 51% come from North America, 31% from Europe, with the others from South America, Asia, Australia, Africa and the Middle East.
As you can see the search engine experiences a customer search basis through a number of industries, occupations, ages and geographical locations. Mainly serving small consumer businesses and electronics manufacturers, as well as hobbyists, the company manages the largest search engine for the industry quite well, connecting its customers with the parts, components and services needed.