Machine Design

A better way to find technical products

If you search for pumps on Google, you'll find more womens' shoes than liquid-moving equipment.

Globalspec searches start at the home page. New capabilities are in the box to the upper left.

Use the filters in the box to the left when confronted with many search results. A search on electrical devices can be filtered by device sensitivity which leads to assigning ranges or limits on voltage, charge, and current. Users can also pick the small check boxes to filter by company.

The search site offered these five pumps when asked to find units with particular minimum and maximum flow rates, inlet and outlet diameters, and a geographic area for the manufacturer. Columns to the right detail other pump qualities.

If you search for pumps on Google, you'll find more womens' shoes than liquid-moving equipment. But the same search on GlobalSpec.compulls up equipment and specs from dozens of manufacturers. The site has been online several years and is excellent for finding common and oddball engineering parts and equipment. Users can also browse through it as they would a catalog.

Using the site takes little training. The home page starts with about 17 categories such as electronic control, test and measurement equipment, and mechanical components. Pick on mechanical components and you have 20 more sections such as bearings and bushing, belts and pulleys, and brakes and clutches. Just keep going till you find the component needed. Another method searches on key words typed into a field. The software then pulls up a list of those components.

Additional selections in a list of products from a search let users pull up a spec list for a particular item, view a PDF of more detailed product information, request a quote, and email questions to the company. And when searches pull up lots of candidate products, users can filter the returns. For example, a sensor has filters for performance specs, device sensitivity, technology and category, and allowable operating environments. A motor would allow filtering on other parameters.

The site now boasts 1 million registered users and searches 100,000 engineering Web sites, according to the developer. These contain about 20 million classified and screened engineering pages. The latest editions include areas for finding patents, standards, application notes, material properties, and a clever capability that compares products and devices feature by feature.

For patents, just type key words into a search field. The software returns a list that take users to abstracts. A couple more picks and a credit card number purchases a copy of the patent. About 5.3 million patents are electronically retrievable from U.S., European, and some Japanese sites.

The engineering standards section was constructed through a partnership with Information Handling Services, an Englewood, Colo.-based company that distributes technical information such as standards, regulations, parts data, and design guides. To find an engineering standard, type a key word or two into the search field. The software makes a couple guesses regarding what you really meant and then lists results for browsing. Each listing presents an abstract and a way to purchase the document.

The 50,000 or so application notes are hard to find because most are not indexed. These are typically written by suppliers and give an example how a product is used in an application. For example, they tell how to wire something and reject temperature disturbances in circuitry. And lastly, a set of material properties delivers data on most everything — metal, wood, resin, plastic, and more.

The search site comes from GlobalSpec Inc., 350 Jordan Rd., Troy, NY 12180, (518) 880-0200,

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