24 Jul 2024


Electronics distribution giant targets automation

Digi-Key has upgraded the industrial automation lading page on its Web site

Digi-Key Electronics, the US-based global distributor of electronic components, has set its sights on becoming the world’s leading supplier of industrial automation (IA) components as well. The company has added more than 14,000 automation parts to its portfolio, including products from Sick, Idec, Carlo Gavazzi and Belden.

“Digi-Key aims to be the industry leader and single source for IA products and solutions for customers all over the world,” says Eric Wendt, its strategic program development director for industrial automation. “Industrial automation is a vast industry that complements our current offering and plays a critical part in building automation, factories, Industry 4.0, and more.

“We want to partner with designers and purchasers in these application areas to help enable the innovation and functionality of their systems, processes, and machinery,” he adds.

Digi-Key’s IA portfolio includes items such as PLCs, HMIs, servodrives, sensors, safety devices, cables, relays, timers and switches, from manufacturers including Phoenix Contact, Omron, Panduit, Red Lion, TE, Molex, Crouzet, Weidmuller, Harting and B&B SmartWorx.

It has updated the IA landing page on its Web site, offering more graphical links and adding the ability to find related parts. The page has also been made more mobile-friendly, catering for users who need parts quickly or on the go.

Digi-Key serves the global market from the small town of Thief River Falls, Minnesota, close to the Canadian border. It offers more than 8.1 million products from more than 750 manufacturers, with more than 1.4 million in stock and available for immediate shipment. It claims that the average order is picked, packed and shipped within 20 minutes, and that 99% of orders are shipped on the same day that they are placed.

The company, which employs more than 3,500 people, serves countries around the world via more than 80 local Web sites, supporting 24 currencies and ten languages. Every item is shipped directly to customers from the US.

Last year, Digi-Key reported a worldwide growth of 26%, with sales topping $2.3bn – the first time that it had exceeded $2bn – and it processed more than 1.6m international orders.

The company’s sales to UK customers rose by 36% in 2017, to exceed £45m – mainly for products in its traditional electronics market.

To cope with its rapid growth, the company has recently started work on a three-year project to build a new distribution centre, at a cost of more than $300m. The four-storey building will provide an extra 2.2 million square feet (2,000 m2) of space, quadrupling Digi-Key’s floorspace and doubling its order-handling capacity. It will incorporate 40km of conveyors and will occupy a footprint of 1 million ft2 (930m2).