8 April 2005
Display Panels(HKTDC Electronic Components & Parts, Vol 02,2005)
Today's fast-paced electronic world depends on reliable display panels that convey information clearly and concisely regardless of the application.
As is to be expected from a major electronics production centre, Hong Kong is at the forefront of the display panel industry, offering a wide range of display panels tailored to meet specific products.
Step-Up Co, for example, is a major industry player that prides itself on providing reliable, safe products, especially digital LED/LCD modules for industrial equipment and meter panels.
"Increasing product sophistication and miniaturisation have made it necessary for us to move towards production of very high-precision and truly intelligent products," manager Schuman Li says.
"We strive to produce smaller digital voltage modules that can be easily mounted on the instrument panels or soldered directly onto printed circuit boards."
The 20-year-old company's latest creations include a super-slim 3.5 digit LED universal DVM that measures only 42x23mm, and is securely sealed to protect against dust and moisture; and a 3.5 digit LCD voltage module with eight popular meter symbols.
Equally popular is Step-Up's highly accurate and stable 4.5 digit LCD voltage module that measures just 72x36x25mm and weighs 45 grams.
"They can be used directly as digital DC voltage/current meters or made as thermometers, hygrometers, digital scales and power supply readouts," Li suggests.
Step-Up owns two factories in Guangzhou and Shenzhen on the Chinese mainland that produce more than 5,000 CE-approved panel meters per month.
Li says Step-Up's minimum order is 300 units and delivery time is 30 days after order confirmation. "Major markets are the US, Europe, South America and the Chinese mainland," he adds.
Industry veteran Intech LCD Group Ltd boasts a "first-mover" advantage in the LCD display module sector, having begun business in 1987, says president Mark Lam.
"Our long industry experience has enabled us to position ourselves as a potential supplier for technology-driven electronics manufacturers who are looking for components and parts of higher technology and precision," he claims, adding that the latest designs emphasise slim and light features.
Lam reveals that the company is working on a flexible and bendable LCD module tailor-made for use on smart cards. "The new product, which is very light in weight, will be launched at the end of this year after demonstration products are completed," he promises.
Intech currently designs and produces LCDs and modules for sale to mostly medical equipment, telecommunications and testing instrument manufacturers in the US, Canada, Germany, Italy and the UK.
Its graphic display modules, which account for 70% of the total production, come in a wide capacity ranging from 160x160 dots to 320x240 dots.
"Thanks to our strong R&D team, we are able to come up with more than 100 new models each year bearing the Intech label," Lam says. "Our unit prices range from US$2-50 FOB Hong Kong and we accept minimum order sizes of 1,000 pieces delivered 3-4 weeks after order confirmation."
The company sources most of its raw materials such as glass, liquid crystals and polarizers from Japan, Korea, Germany and the Chinese mainland to ensure quality.
Intech employs 1,100 workers at ISO 9000-certified factories in Shenzhen, Xiamen and Dalian on the mainland that span a total of 25,000 square metres and produce some three million units a month.
Meanwhile, LCD panels and modules for automotive, mobile phone and consumer electronics applications are big business for RCL Display Ltd.
Assistant marketing manager Clement Wan says new products this year include COG, COB and TAB modules, colour STN modules and panels, as well as modules and panels for cars.
"One coming trend in 2006 is lead-free production," he predicts. "To this end, we have set up a lead-free soldering production line to meet the requirements of most major importing countries and areas such as Japan and the EU."
Founded in 1981, the company's 180,000-square-foot, 1,800 worker factory in Dongguan on the mainland is QS 9000-, ISO 9001- and ISO 14000-certified. The company is also applying for the TS 16949 certification, which it expects to achieve at the end of 2005.
RCL's plant can produce five million items bearing the RCL brand per month for export to Japan, Korea, the US, Germany, Switzerland and Hong Kong. "Minimum order size is negotiable and delivery takes two to 2-4 weeks for LCD panels and 4-6 weeks for modules," Wan explains.
COG and COF modules are key products being sold by 17-year-old Katri Far East Co Ltd to meet burgeoning demand for mini-sized gadgets.
"We have a close relationship with ISO 9001- and ISO 9002-certified manufacturers on the mainland to create the right products to meet market needs," marketing manager Henry Lo explains. "New products on the coming year's agenda are colour LCD modules."
Katri's minimum order size for LCD panels is 2,000 pieces delivered four weeks after order confirmation, while for LCD modules it is 200-500 units delivered eight weeks following confirmation.
"Major markets are Hong Kong, the Chinese mainland, Europe and the US, while raw materials are sourced from Japan and Germany," Lo adds.
Obviously Hong Kong manufacturers are committed to developing higher resolution, better quality LCD parts and components to ensure that consumers worldwide enjoy the very best of vital viewing.
WRITTEN BY VANAPA ONGVISES
Casil Semiconductor Ltd