I'm a mechatronics engineer, and a big part of my job is searching for the right off-the-shelf (mostly mechanical) component for a specific purpose. It can be anything from vacuum pumps, flow meters, cable harnesses, motors, etc. I end up spending hours paging through catalogs from vendors I know, and asking friends/coworkers for pointers.
Does anyone have advice on tools or techniques I can use to search for parts more quickly? Do I just need more experience until I have a good idea of all the parts that are out there?