1 April 2001
Company Profiles (HKTDC Electronic Components & Parts, Vol 02,2001)
Vol 2 2001
DESPITE the fierce race towards smaller, lighter products in the electronics industry, Hong Kong's Astor Ltd, a leading manufacturer of crystal resonators and diodes, has managed to stay well ahead of the game.
One of Astor's newest surface-mount products - the SMD crystal - is the latest item to emerge in the race to produce smaller components.
"Before, this piece used to be very big and have pins attached. Now it is extremely small, only 1.1mm thick, and contains no pins," says Astor marketing manager Jacky Yu, who predicts the SMD will become an integral part of electronic components used in the next generation of cellular phones.
He describes the SMD as a vital new development, one that is likely to facilitate the market arrival of video cellular phones and watches doubling as telephones with video screens.
"These products will be like what you see in James Bond movies," Yu declares.
This kind of innovation has helped Astor to earn a reputation as a leading maker of quartz crystal oscillators, ceramic filters/resonators, SAW filters/resonators, diodes and tact switches. It is one of only three companies in the world making dielectric filters, a high-end product for 900-1,800MHz cordless phones.
Now the company is taking strides into new areas. "We are making new filters for satellite TV and also working on ISPD for the Chinese mainland," says Yu.
Astor's parent company, American Semiconductor Corp (ASC), was founded in 1965 in the US. In 1986 the manufacturing operations moved to Asia. "We now have offices in Hong Kong, the US, Canada, the Chinese mainland and Taiwan," says Yu.
ASC has ISO 9002 certification and is BVQI-rated. About 3,000 people work for ASC worldwide, of which nearly half are under Astor's employ. "We have 60 research and design people in the US, Taiwan and the Chinese mainland, and 120 engineers," says Yu.
Astor's engineers are expected to do more than develop products: they also provide a back-up role. "If there are problems with our products, we want to know about it and to fix them for our customers. This is like a guarantee on our products. Even after they are sold, we still work to maintain them," Yu says.
The company also offers another value-added service: "Our R&D team is very big, and we send engineers to our customers to help develop new products for them effectively and immediately," Yu says.
Main markets are Europe and North America. Clients include big name players such as Philips, Sony, Samsung and Motorola. "We secure requirements from our customers and then develop the products suitable for them," says Yu.
There is no minimum order requirement. Delivery time is 2-3 weeks after order confirmation.
Raw materials come from South Korea and Japan. Its main plant - a 280,000-square-metre factory in Jiangsu Province, on the Chinese mainland - uses US-made manufacturing equipment.
"We plan to open an office in South Korea later this year and then a new factory in Shandong Province on the Chinese mainland," Yu adds. "There is definitely a bright future for electronics" - a future to which Astor is helping to forge the route.
WRITTEN BY MELISSA G. WESTCOTT
IN today's world of e-commerce and advanced technology, the trend is towards constant upgrading. Products must be faster, smaller, lighter.
Recognising this, Perfekt Technologies has tailored its services to provide a complete range of advanced engineering and manufacturing solutions for customers.
"I started the company in 1993 as an electronics business making electronic boards for power supply, then moved on to the plastic cover, then the mechanical assembly... and eventually the total product," says managing director Jorgen Harrysson.
"We have a 2,000-square-metre factory in Shenzhen [on the Chinese mainland] with 200 workers and a network of 15 subcontractors. We also have a 3,000-square-metre storage facility for consolidating large shipments."
Perfekt handles PCB (printed circuit board) production, mechanical assembly, wire wound components, cable technology, mould production, plastic injection, aluminium die-casting, silicone rubber moulding and metal forming.
The company has three fully automated surface-mount assembly lines for making PCB assemblies. It produces for various applications in the telecoms market.
Perfekt's mechanical assembly has a zero-defect policy, with constant monitoring of the working environment. ISO9001 and 9002 certifications also ensure high quality.
As for the moulds, many are patented designs. "Moulds are a big business for us. We export these mainly to Europe. Our edge is that our moulds can be run automatically, while those from some Asian factories need about five people to operate them. In Europe everything is fully automated, so our moulds work for people there," says Harrysson.
Perfekt's wide range of plastic injection machines spans 80-550 tonnes. Simultaneous injection of two materials into one mould is a speciality. Aluminium die-casting for numerous applications, and designing and building aluminium moulds, are also available.
Moulds made of silicone and rubber are subjected to conductivity and life-endurance testing. Finally, fully automated press machines ensure that no ruptures or wrinkling occur during metal forming.
Monthly production is valued at about HK$10m (US$1.28m). Some 60% of the products are exported to Sweden, 20% to the rest of Europe and 20% to the US, but the company aims to expand its US sales.
Perfekt attracts clients by providing complete manufacturing solutions for companies in the electronics industry. "Because we have a network of buyers and partners, we can accommodate smaller orders by combining a number of orders in one container. Our location and storage facilities allow us to do all the distribution and portioning out of our clients' orders worldwide," Harrysson says.
"Our strategy is to integrate even more with clients so we have partnerships, rather than client-manufacturer relationships. That way, we can grow with our clients," he adds.
International business development manager Lars Johansson, from the company's Sweden office, says: "Aside from offering good products and services, we communicate well with clients. Having done business on the Chinese mainland since the 1980s, we are familiar with the environment there. We help our clients with logistics and financial aspects. In short, we take care of them."
High quality products, tailor-made components and professional service make this company precisely what its name implies: a Perfekt solution.
WRITTEN BY MELISSA G. WESTCOTT