8 Dec 2004
Designer Energisers(HKTDC Electronics, Vol 06,2004)
Shun Shing Standard Corp Development Ltd
Battery chargers are becoming a red-hot business with the ever-increasing popularity of energy-hungry digital products. Like many manufacturers, Shun Shing Standard Corp Development Ltd is competing to make smaller and faster chargers and is also putting more thought into design.
This proactive approach is typical of a company that began operations in 1974 making transformers and moved on to producing AC/DC adaptors in the mid-1980s when it spotted the trend towards cordless mobile phones and portable electrical appliances.
Several years later Shun Shing began making battery chargers to meet the growing demand for high battery consumption products and, while it still produces EI transformers, toroidal transformers and adaptors, switching mode power supplies have become the company's major product.
"Switching mode power supplies were mostly made by Taiwanese or Japanese companies, but more Hong Kong manufacturers have started making them in recent years," notes marketing manager Raymond Lam.
He explains that compared to an AC/DC adaptor, a switching mode charger can be used with universal power voltage. "It is also lighter, smaller and more efficient - approximately 70% efficiency as compared to 40% with an AC/DC adaptor," Lam says.
"Plus, if you leave a switching mode power supply plugged into the socket it still uses power, but its standby power consumption is only one-third that of an AC/DC adaptor."
Shun Shing's latest battery charger is the 100 gram SLIM model, which features a built-in switching mode power supply and has obtained safety certifications from Hong Kong, Europe, the US, Canada, Korea, Japan and Australia.
SLIM is a four-bay, four-channel quick charger that allows users to charge a single battery; a sharp contrast to two-channel chargers that will only work when at least two batteries are placed in adjoining bays on either side.
The company's flagship model, however, is the ultra-fast ALWAYS charger that is available in 10 colours, can be powered by power adaptors, car plugs and USB ports and charges batteries in two hours.
"There are faster chargers on the market," Lam admits, "but the faster they are the hotter they become, and heat can shorten battery life up to 50% in some cases."
Both SLIM and ALWAYS overcome this problem by using internal microprocessors that monitor the charging state and temperature to prevent overheating. "Two hours is a reasonable charging time that is fast enough and causes least harm to batteries," Lam believes.
These and other Shun Shing models are produced at the firm's in-house engineering facilities that offer a one-stop service from PCB layout design through tooling, cable manufacturing and product assembly to PAD printing.
Manufacturing takes place at an 8,000-square-metre, three-block factory complex in Dongguan on the Chinese mainland that employs 600 production staff, including 50 management and technical personnel.
These products are sold in minimum quantities of 3,000 units that are delivered 3-6 weeks after order confirmation, mainly to Europe, which places a strong emphasis on design.
However, Lam notes that the US and Asia have also emerged as two important markets for Shun Shing. "The US market stresses practicality, while the Asian market seeks fancier designs," he observes.
Shun Shing produces 100,000-200,000 battery chargers a month, about 40% of which are fast chargers. "We run a burn-in test for every fast charger to ensure its quality and safety performance," Lam adds. "Both our facilities in Hong Kong and Dongguan obtained ISO 9002 certification in 1996 and were upgraded to ISO 9001 in 2002, and our next target will be to achieve ISO 14000."
Lam says Shun Shing's pricing is "firmly in the medium range" because the company insists on using imported materials from Taiwan and Japan.
He adds that Shung Shing also stresses staff training, adheres strictly to the ISO standards and seeks continuous improvement. "SLIM was only developed a few months ago, but we are already developing another charger - this time a bigger model that can be used by six different types of batteries," Lam reveals.
WRITTEN BY CAM CHEUNG
Shun Shing Standard Corp Development Ltd