22 Oct 2008
Critical Contacts(HKTDC Electronic Components & Parts, Vol 01,2009)
Plugs, jacks & sockets
Proper connections can determine success or failure. Only when plugs, jacks and sockets perform precisely as planned do most electronics products please the people who buy them.
Well aware of this fact is Helms-Man Industrial Co Ltd, which serves travellers with one of its new items, model HMP-A, a global travel plug set with cable. It consists of four types of plugs and a cable with a C7 connector at one end.
"One plug is for the US standard, another works in the UK, yet another for the rest of Europe and the fourth for Australia," says assistant Marketing Manager Judy Ng. "We're willing to vary the cable's length, but a standard one measures 180mm."
Helms-Man's switching mode power supply (SMPS), model SCP, features changeable plugs and cable length, too, and satisfies the California Energy Commission (CEC) level 4 standard of efficiency.
"This item is for charging mobile phones, personal digital assistants, MP3 players or other products, depending on customers' needs. We make some versions with USB connectors," Ms Ng says.
"Having different plugs provides lots of flexibility, which helps our customers to control their stock. They can buy the bodies and plugs separately for shipment to various countries," she explains. FOB prices vary with quantities, cable length, plugs selected and other factors.
Helms-Man stays mindful of consumer safety. "Our patented, well-designed plugs are very safe," Ms Ng claims. "There's no chance that children or anyone else can touch the metal parts when the plugs are in use."
The company relies on a strong R&D team based mostly in Hong Kong. Its designers often travel to the factory on the Chinese mainland to work on products which are compact, stylish and moderately priced.
Operating in a slightly different niche is Global HT Electronics Co Ltd, which offers relays and relay sockets. "These electronic components suit many products, including large machines like air conditioners or factory equipment," advises Sales Manager Horace Siu.
A trading company, Global HT acts as an agent for a leading components factory on the mainland. The factory often sources plastic and iron from the US or Germany.
Global HT serves an array of customers who buy for electronics factories. "They come mostly from Asia, North America and Europe," Mr Siu notes. "Those are our main markets."
The company's relays fall into seven categories - power relays, automotive relays, telecom relays, latching relays, solid-state relays, hermetic-sealing relays and timer relays. They come in more than 70 series and represent numerous specifications.
Best Nice (Pacific) Ltd, meanwhile, specialises in modular plugs, modular jacks, LAN cables and telephone accessories. "We have one of the greatest varieties of products in the industry," claims Managing Director Albert Yeung.
In particular, he highlights the versatility of the company's modular jacks. "They are suitable for LAN cables, local-area networking and broadband networking facilities, like ADSL modems, routers and wireless routers," he says.
"Our jacks are strictly tested, and their high quality makes customers happy," Mr Yeung says.
Jacks of all trades
Best Nice's modular jack model 020, for example, has six pins and four contacts (6P4C). "It has a low profile - its dimensions are smaller than most models," says Marketing Executive Tracy Chau.
The manufacturer uses gold wire sourced through Hong Kong, PVC from Taiwan and copper from the Chinese mainland. It supplies customers in different parts of the world, including China, Japan and Thailand.
"We're willing to develop new products for our customers' needs," says Mr Yeung. "We advocate developing as many products as possible to maintain our strength. But the most important consideration is being professional. So we strive for a lot of certifications, like UL and ISO."
Plugs, jacks and sockets from these and other Hong Kong companies provide reliable contacts that are critical not only for current flows, but also the prosperity of the global electronics sector.
Text by John Cairns