How to find automation parts online. Top 6 platforms to search for automation parts. Current comparison

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A lot of companies invest in webshops where you can sell automation parts online. It gives a lot of benefits but for a component supplier, it is quite time-consuming to create and make their inventory visible in online shops. In most cases, only big distributors can create their webshop.

Companies to sell online decide to use common platforms designed especially for a certain market. 

When it comes to the automation industry there are a few marketplaces that can help this community to trade online. This is a great way to open new channels of distribution and build a professional network.

Platforms where you can search for parts: Induction

In today’s article, we will compare a couple of different platforms available for companies operating in the industrial automation and electronics space. Whether you work at a system integrator’s company, you design systems or you are responsible for part purchasing (especially the obsolete, hard-to-find ones), you will find something for yourself here. 

This article will be updated with content based on your feedback, so if you know anything about the platforms below, please do share in the comments or send me a message at [email protected] and I will make sure to include it in this text.

In this article you will find a comparison of the following platform operating on the automation and electronics market which seems to be the most popular at the moment.


A brand new platform launched in 2020 designed specifically for industrial automation companies. It’s a website where suppliers of automation, electronics, and robotic parts upload their inventory and make it available to search through Automa.Net search engine which is only available for registered companies. Over 85% of companies update their stock availability at least once a day. You can find all popular brands, like Siemens, Schneider, Omron, Allen Bradley, Rockwell, ABB, SMC, Telemecanique, Eaton, and many more. Companies sharing their stock on Automa.Net are both franchised and independent, so you could find new, refurbished, used, surplus parts in the database -they are clearly labeled together with warranty information provided by a supplier. The search engine is blazing-fast and you can currently browse through around 8 million lines of inventory. 

Currently, there are over 250 European suppliers using the platform – companies like Radwell International from the United Kingdom, PLC-City from Italy, Maxodeals from the Netherlands, Stercontrol from Poland and many more are all sharing their stock on Automa.Net. You can see all members and their locations here.


API – you can seamlessly integrate your current infrastructure (ERP, stock management system, CRM) with Automa.Net – thanks to this your purchasing/sales teams could easily search and get results with parts availability data within the systems they are currently using. Very powerful especially if you are thinking about integrating with some other suppliers – here you can do the integration once and access all of the suppliers’ data. 

Search results and RFQ’s – the whole system is RFQ based- so there is no pricing displayed in the search results. However, you could easily send an RFQ to one or more companies and receive the quotation in your email. There is a lot of flexibility around how you receive your RFQ and quotations and how you pay – you could also integrate these use cases with your current infrastructure. 

What’s special about this platform

The flexibility of Automa.Net is the number one thing that makes this platform stand out on the market. You can choose from a number of integrations and features that make it very easy to integrate this platform with your current business processes and infrastructure. Automa.Net is also more than a platform- once a year they organize a meeting Automa.Net Meeting & Expo “ANEXPO” for all interested companies, so it’s primarily a community of companies. Automa.Net also stands out on the market when it comes to the amount of data for industrial automation products, which is at the moment the most popular category next to electronic components. They have also prepared a handy FAQ section that should answer most of your questions:


Automa.Net is a free platform as they are running a fully-functional beta test in 2021. For companies interested in additional features or promotional activities, they offer 3 packages ranging between €500 and €3000. The standard package gives you unlimited buying and selling. Higher packages offer additional marketing of your company on their business directory (a catalog of component suppliers, system integrators, machine builders and

manufacturers from all over the world counting 10,000+ records) The highest €3000 tier gives you additional access to API.

The best contact person we could find to inquiry about the platform:

Mateusz Ozga [email protected] 


A platform engaged in the trading of electronic components was launched in 1997 in the United States. Nowadays, it works with more than 3000 suppliers worldwide and offers more than 50 million various types of passive, active, or electromechanical parts such as integrated circuits, discrete components, and semiconductors. Details of all sellers, including their names and contact information, are public. This helps to create long-term relationships between buyers and sellers as well as increases the security of the transaction. NetComponents website is available in 12 languages.

The most important features

Seller quality rating system – provides the ability to give a rating to each part supplier and later view the average rating.

Extensive search engine – can search for multiple parts (up to 100) simultaneously. This ensures that only companies with all the required items in stock and sufficient quantity are included in the results.

What distinguishes NetComponents?

Availability notifications – if a searched product is unavailable, the buyer will be automatically informed as soon as the item appears in the database again.

Multilingual RFQ – sellers can choose the preferred language in which they will receive inquires about offers, regardless of the language of the buyer who sent the inquiry.


NetComponents offers separate price lists for buyers and sellers.

Buyer – OEM/CEM customers with a free account can search for parts 50 times per month. Exporters, distributors, and all the rest of the entities interested in purchasing goods through NetComponents have to pay a subscription fee of $120 per month, in return, they receive the ability to use the search engine without limit.

Seller – with a free account they can list up to 3000 different parts. To increase this number, they have to pay an annual fee based on the number of goods. The most expensive bundle costs $840 per year. It allows for listing an unlimited amount of different parts, up to 10,000 units in total.

Where to send inquiries about the platform?

By sending a message to: [email protected]


A US-based platform for searching parts through manufacturers and distributors, founded in 2016. It’s aimed at the end-customer (so production companies that own machines and productions lines and need new and spare parts to function) and therefore no registration is required to use it. Octopart currently works with around 250 distributors who provide access to goods from several thousand manufacturers. Thanks to this, more than 40 million electronics and tool parts can be found on the site. The business model is mainly based on paid ads that sellers can buy to be more visible and appear higher in search results.

The most important features

BOM Tool – Octopart allows the buyer to easily create and edit shopping lists, allowing users to conveniently check prices and availability of the desired materials.

Common parts library – contains the most popular parts used in the development, prototyping, and production of finished devices.

API – allows for easy and stable integration with the most commonly used design, sourcing, and production services.

What distinguishes Octopart?

Blog – there are quite a few articles on Octopart’s website about various training courses involving creating electronics or using them as an educational tool.


When a user clicks on a selected article from the search results and is directed to the distributor’s website, Octopart charges the distributor circa $2. Therefore, the monthly cost of using the service is variable, but not less than $250.

Additionally, there is a one-time fee of $100 to start using Octopart, which means uploading inventory information and setting up the site.

Access to the platform API is paid. The price of the monthly subscription depends on the number of HTTP requests made. Students who have an email address under the .edu domain are provided with 500 such queries per month. The rest of the users have to pay a subscription fee. It can range from $25 to $200 per month, where the cheapest plan allows 1000 queries and the most expensive 25000. Customers requiring more capabilities can contact Octopart for a customized subscription.

Where to send inquiries about the platform?

The email address is [email protected] and the phone number is +1-646-580-OCTO (6286)


This parts search platform is based in the US. It’s partnered with over 200 distributors, resulting in over 10 million unique products from the electronic parts industry in its database. Digipart’s focus is to work with small and medium-sized distributors, enabling them to acquire a customer base and become successful in the market. No registration is required to use the service.

The most important features

Rating system – Review or Complaint – customers can share their experiences regarding product quality and service.

Certification – next to each distributor’s name, there is information on whether they have quality certifications and which ones.

What distinguishes Digipart?

Convenient search engine – offers the ability to find the right parts without even typing them in, thanks to a set of common tags displayed below the text box.

Flexibility – Digipart allows distributors to list the price of parts, but doesn’t require it. Depending on the decision of the entity listing the item, the search button directs to the RFQ submitting tool or directly to the store.


Registration as a distributor is free, and searching for parts and submitting RFQs doesn’t require signing up. Individual terms of cooperation for each customer are established independently.

Where to send inquiries about the platform?

Through the contact form on or at [email protected].

IC Source

A platform primarily focused on electronic components trading based in the US. It was launched in 1996. It partners with over 3000 distributors and that number is growing every day. This means access to over 60 million different electronic products. IC Source claims to have modern server architecture, which ensures high stability of operation, which obviously is necessary to operate such a huge database.

The most important features

Blocking customers and countries – a seller can mark in which places in the world or for which buyers their goods won’t be displayed, thus avoiding inquiries they don’t want or can’t fulfill. Thanks to the preference and exclusion of members, countries, and religions, a supplier can customize a website for their company.

ICS store website – provides integration with the seller’s website, allowing their customers to send RFQs to specific distributors without navigating to IC Source.

What distinguishes IC Source?

Advertising services – including web design, logo design, and printing of promotional materials. Additionally, a distributor within ICS can purchase a positioning service, that will make their products appear higher in search results.

Focus on sellers – they receive a lot of tools that allow them to sell according to their own rules, for example by selecting target groups, who get exclusive insight into the merchandise list.


The fee for using IC Source is charged in advance for one year or 6 months, depending on your choice. An annual subscription costs $965, while a six-month subscription costs $510.

Where to send inquiries about the platform?

Through the contact form on the IC Source website or at [email protected].

The Broker Forum

Founded in 1996, Canada-based electronic parts sales platform. Offers access to a search engine with 60 million electronic parts and components. The website works in four languages – English, Russian, Chinese and Korean. More than 100,000 parts are searched every day with its help.

The most important features

Integration with your own CRM – allows you to update the status of inventory displayed on The Broker Forum website in real-time.

The amount of goods available – The Broker Forum is one of the largest platforms that allows the purchase of electronic parts. This means that there is a high probability that the customer will find all the necessary products here.

Media Kit – it is an electronic advertising service that includes banners on the website (available in several sizes) and in the TBF newsletter.

What distinguishes The Broker Forum?

Most popular parts – each day a list of the most popular items and best deals are displayed.

Part beacon – a service that allows customers to avoid overpaying for parts with limited availability or that are needed immediately.


The Broker Forum offers a free trial period. After this period ends, further use of the service requires payment of a subscription fee. Its minimum amount is $20 per month for the buyer and $60 per month for the seller. The fee is charged in advance for a quarter, half a year, or a year.

The Broker Forum offers a trust fund service (Escrow Service). There is an additional fee for using it. For the amounts under $12500, it costs $125 while for higher amounts it costs 1% of the value. Additionally, TBF charges 0,5% on the excess over $50000.

Advertising in the form of information in the weekly newsletter costs $250 per week. Website banners are quoted based on the size and range. A separate price list applies to public sites and member profiles. Prices for the first category range between $60 and $395 for four weeks of the display, and for the second category, between $30 and $2595.

Where to send inquiries about the platform?

Through the phone numbers relevant for a given region (Europe/America/Asia) or the contact form on the website.

Other platforms

In addition to the seven listed above, many sites offer similar services. They differ mainly in their assortment and range of activity. An excellent example is RadarProduktów, a platform that operates only in Poland. It is designed to search for parts only of the Siemens brand.

Another good example is, based in New York. It’s a social networking site for industrial automation companies in the USA. The purpose of is to bring together ‘buyers’ and ‘sellers’ of industrial automation technologies by providing powerful online tools to both groups and providing local support.

Read also:

5 ways to sell more industrial automation parts online

Do you want to sell your automation abroad?