2 Feb 2009
Current Activities(HKTDC Enterprise, Vol 02,2009)
There is a lot of power in the market for the dry batteries widely used in a plethora of electrical devices. However, their repeated purchase also raises serious pollution issues - thereby opening up new market demand for reusable, rechargeable batteries - and their charging units.
Benefiting from this is Sanwall Electric Products Co Ltd, which offers battery chargers, electrical adaptors for CD, MD, and MP3 car kits, universal switching mode power supplies, AC/DC adaptors and converters and AC transformers.
"Our focus is on battery chargers," says Sales Manager Alan Lee, son of the firm's founder. "Nowadays, we have quite sophisticated speed chargers with LCD panels that can accept different sizes of batteries."
The firm's newest battery charger allows a total of eight batteries to speed-charge at the same time. "All sizes of batteries can be handled," Mr Lee says. "There can be six in AA or AAA sizes and four in C or D sizes, for example, and there are individual channels where the charging activity for each battery has its own control and charge detection circuitry."
The battery chargers are designed mostly by an in-house design team, although customers also bring useful concepts to the table. "In most cases, the housing design, the IC programming and functions, the colour choice, are all done in-house," says Mr Lee.
As a result, 70% of the products fall into the ODM category. "However, most of the products we ship bear the brand names of other firms," he adds. "The other 30% represents OEM orders."
In some cases, he claims, certain European customers have displayed their confidence in Sanwall by commissioning it to design and manufacture all of their requirements with no further input. "This is certainly the case on the engineering side," Mr Lee explains, "while of course they retain the development of the marketing activities and often provide us with ideas for the future."
The firm has developed into a versatile producer of electrical and electrical goods. "For example, in addition to our regular lines in chargers and power supplies, we can now offer a variety of products ranging from electric towel warmers that heat up to around 60 degrees Celsius to shoe warmers. We have patents for both of these items," Mr Lee claims.
Interestingly, Sanwall also manufactures speaker stands. "Business is generated when clients mention other items they need and it seems to be an area we could get into," Mr Lee says. "Typically, a customer will ask us to design some modification to one of our existing items so that it will suit their particular needs."
Another new product line that materialised in this way is a wall-mounting unit for a flat screen TV or home entertainment system. "Naturally, we do much of this sort of work in close cooperation with clients. They give us the designs and we do all the engineering R&D work before placing the item into production," says Mr Lee.
Many of the raw materials used come from the Chinese mainland, while more complicated ICs and heating elements are sourced from overseas. Major markets are Europe, especially Germany and the UK.
To ensure consistent quality and to make sure that all products are safe, Sanwall employs a strict quality control system. "Also, in addition to ISO 9001, we ensure that all products are tested and comply with authorised and independent standards as required by various markets. These include GS, CE, UL, BS and e-mark," Mr Lee says.
Always looking to stay current, Sanwall is a hive of activity in the small electrical products sector.
TEXT BY TONY HENDERSON