The Head of Octopart®, Chris Calvi is with us today to talk about sourcing components, which has never been more challenging than it is today. Chris will also share his vision of the future where sourcing components will be easy, accurate and fully transparent.

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Show Highlights:

  • Chris attended Georgia Tech and after graduation he moved to LA, where he worked at Shopzilla, a consumer product search engine. He has 13 years’ experience in vertical search engines both in Business Development and General Management roles. He’s been with Octopart in New York for eight years, of which he’s served as GM for the last three years.
  • Octopart was started in 2007 by three Physicists in Grad School. Due to problems with manually finding electronic parts in thick catalogs; the idea of a search engine was born.
  • All three dropped out of school and thanks to Y Combinator program, Octopart got off the ground.
  • Today there are between 800 and 900,000 users on the site monthly.
    Octopart works with over 200 distributors who make it possible for the user to access the database for free.
  • The database gives access not only to the parts but also availability, validating, finding CAD models, symbols, footprints, 3D and exploration of technical details of each component.
  • Part shortages is currently a huge problem especially with ceramic capacitors and LCCs.
  • Octopart has a similar parts feature on the part detail page.
  • The search criteria are very smart which is very helpful for everyday decisions.
  • Availability and approved vendors lists as well as backup distributors are also available.
  • Feedback is very positive regarding signals of risk and particularly lifecycle status.
    End of life is a huge problem in applications such as aerospace and even on the repair side.
  • Octopart offers authorized channels or sources where the manufacturer has formal relationships with distributors. Octopart will have the authorized components come up first in your search.
  • Compliance documentation and government regulations: there are restrictions on hazardous substances or chemicals - all part of the ‘problem set’ of selecting parts which Octopart strives to address.
  • Vision and strategy for Octopart: First aim is a user-friendly solution. Second aim is for Octopart to be the go-to source for any relevant data on electronic components.
  • Another aspiration is transparent structured data (information on where parts come from, last update, etc.) is essential for the future of electronic design and manufacturing.
  • Machine learning and automated part selection applications means much more opportunity in the future.
  • Obstacles now: Unstructured data, no data standards.
  • CAD Tools and API: Application Programming Interface means you can tap into the database irrespective of what design tool you're using. This interface is another goal of Octopart and one that is receiving attention.
  • For programmatic access to our electronic part search capabilities and part database, go to: Octopart API
  • How are Altium and Octopart connected? Octopart serves as the parts enterprise unit for Altium. As Altium brings digital continuity; Octopart strives to bridge the gap as a structured data piece.
  • Octopart is for everyone, not only Altium Designer® users, but also the makers, students, professional engineers, sources and procurement folks etc.

Links and Resources:
Octopart API
Search parts by technical spec
Free ECAD models
Similar Parts (alternate parts)
Advertise with Octopart
Join the Octopart newsletter
Careers at Octopart


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