1 July 2003
Accuracy And Precision(HKTDC Electronic Components & Parts, Vol 03,2003)
Vol 3, 2003
Accuracy And Precision
A Solid Foundation
|Precision metal stamped parts from Frameway Kyoritu Ltd are used in hi-tech electronic goods, including computers, AV equipment, printers, cameras, mobile phones, video game players and optical pickups|
Advertising itself as a "one-stop solution for customised metal stamping and die making", Frameway Kyoritu Ltd's sales slogan is "Small, slim, light and precise". The company, a Hong Kong-Japan joint venture established in 1994, is a subsidiary of Frameway Industries Ltd and part of the Frameway Group.
Business has come a long way since Frameway's early days as a maker of electrical appliances. "Frameway started in Hong Kong in 1986 making a range of electrical products. Then, in 1991, we moved to Shenzhen on the Chinese mainland and commenced production of what has now become our main line, precision metal parts," says managing director Paul Yam.
"The joint venture agreement came in 1994, and successfully incorporates modest mainland manufacturing costs with the latest Japanese technology in precision metal stamping. Today, we specialise in making dies and miniature metal parts," he adds.
The company has a strong foothold supplying precision metal stamped parts and recently garnered a good share of the market supplying parts to the automotive industries of Europe and the US.
"Apart from precision-stamped parts, there are progressive strip layouts and cases for brushless motor, micro DC motors and servomotor feeders, with production runs from one-off prototypes to millions of pieces per item," he says.
Many of these components and parts are destined for use in items such as computers, AV equipment, printers, cameras, mobile phones, video game players, optical pickups and other hi-tech electronic goods.
There has been substantial investment in new plant and machinery. "We now have five factories on the mainland, with the latest being a newly-built 360,000-square-foot facility in Shenzhen. We need the space because working in metal, as opposed to plastic, requires different skills and lots of machinery," says Yam.
Frameway is in a select group of ISO 9002-certified precision-parts makers. About half of its production is devoted to using transfer presses to produce micro-motor cases.
"All of our machines come from Japan, as do many of the raw materials. We also source materials from Korea as we are unable to locate what we need on the mainland owing to the very high standards we set, especially for the steel," he says.
The machinery is expensive, with some units costing up to US$192,000 each. "However, the investment has proved very worthwhile and we have gradually increased our market share," says Yam.
Among the array of machines and tools used are super-advanced pressing machines and microscopic measuring devices. "We have 27 Brother tapping machines and also ultrasonic cleaners," says Yam. "In the die shop we have wire-cutting EDM machines, drilling, milling, jig grinding, cylindrical grinding and surface grinding machines, plus the usual array of lathes and vertical milling machines."
Quality is also important. "Our QC department has a roundness-testing machine, a counter and roughness machine, video measuring devices, a profile projector, microscopes, digital force gauge and height gauge, a poly-coordinate measuring machine and a hardness-testing machine," says Yam.
Computer-controlled techniques obtain the necessary precision. "Take mobile telephones, with their ever-diminishing size tailored to fit the pocket. You can imagine how precise the different parts have to be," he says.
However, the automotive industry is most rewarding. "Following increased demand from this sector, we have invested in bigger machines to help produce larger parts," says Yam. "This is another positive development for our production capabilities."
WRITTEN BY TONY HENDERSON