Last year, Ocotpart collaborated with Seeed Studio and experts in Design for Manufacturing and Connected Devices on a Common Parts Library (CPL), a list of commonly used components for connected device products.
Wireless Design and Development (WDD) sat down with Sam Wurzel, co-founder of Octopart to discuss the inspiration behind the CPL and what main benefits it provides for users.
Wireless Design and Development (WDD): Can you talk about the main inspiration for the Common Parts Library (CPL), and what problems it helps to solve for your customers?
Sam Wurzel, Co-Founder, Octopart: I met up with Eric Pan, founder and CEO of Seeed Studio at MakerCon to talk about their open parts library, which is a list of parts that they can easily get in their supply chain. Most of the parts are what you would find in an arduino, so Seeed encourages hardware developers and electrical engineers to focus their design on that particular set of parts, because they are easy to find and pretty cheap to buy. He was interested in taking that process to the next level, so that is when we started thinking abo the CPL.
At MakerCon, I was meeting with small volume, quick-turn contract manufacturers in the U.S., and I kept hearing the same complains from them. Their value propositions were that they can get boards assembled fast at low volume. To be able to do that, they need to be able to get the parts very quickly. Problems arise when designers specify parts that are hard to get or the designer hasn’t put a lot of thought into design for manufacturing. From their perspective, they would love a commonly used part.
With the CPL, customers can easily order their parts, stock them in their facilities, and increase their efficiency.
For the design engineers who a part of hardware start-ups, the CPL can provide them with a menu of parts that are commonly used connected device products.
WDD: Can you provide more detail about the technology behind CPL, and some of the challenges you faced during the design process of it?
Wurzel: We made a deliberate decision to keep the technology very simple when it came to organizing the parts, because what we’re actually focusing on is the content. The first generation of the CPL was just a Google Docs spreadsheet.
The back end of the technology is going to come from what we learn exactly what the users want from the CPL. The parts included in the CPL are selected by us and our partners who are curating the CPL. We also use Octopart’s search capability to see what was available within the supply chain.
WDD: The companies behind CPL, how did each of them get involved with the project, and what do they bring to the table that helped make the CPL successful?
Wurzel: The first class of companies that we’ve been working are the contract manufacturers. It’s important for us to get feedback from them because they are going to be the primary users of the CPL and will benefit from it the most.
There are also companies that are involved in open hardware source, who we are also using as a research to determine which parts are important to include in the CPL.
The third class of companies include the makers of certain equipment.
It would be great for your readers to know that if they are a quick-turn contract manufacturer, an assembly tool maker, or a design engineer, then we would love to talk to them about the CPL and see what feedback they can provide us.
WDD: What can consumers look forward to in the upcoming years with Octopart and CPL?
Wurzel: We want the CPL to grow in depth and somewhat in breadth. We want to add symbols and footprints, but we would love to hear more feedback from the community to help the CPL reach its full potential.
For more information on Octopart’s CPL, visit https://octopart.com/common-parts-library/about.