2 Oct 2007
Hot Sellers(HKTDC Enterprise, Vol 10,2007)
|Mingle Instrument Ltd offers torches as well as a wide range of measuring instruments including weather stations|
The Mingle foundation range includes thermometers, hygrometers and barometers that display 21st century sophistication and styling. Items added more recently to round out production include low-tech powered torches, solar-powered outdoor thermometers and even a frying pan that monitors the cooking temperature.
"Initially, we produced kitchen thermometers for home cooking," says Group Sales Director Stephen Lee. "One model monitored the temperature of the meat as it cooked, and we included a checklist for different meats as a guide."
Another foundation line was thermometers for home freezers. "We still offer these items, but now they are also dishwasher safe," he adds.
"After five years or so, we diversified into other kitchen products and a wider range of thermometers suitable for indoor and outdoor use. We offered them in traditional glass tubes, with plastic casings and with classic brass casings and wooden bases," says Mr Lee.
More robust and precise instruments were also made for the industrial end of the market, while Mingle sidetracked into professional zones with thermometers for sauna rooms, wine cellars and cigar humidors.
"In 2001, we further expanded our range into barometers," says Mr Lee. "Initially, we purchased movements from Germany and France. Later, following a lot of R&D, we decided to make them in-house and can now boast of being the first firm in the region to do so. We now market thermometers, hygrometers and barometers together and call the set a weather station."
In terms of quality standards, Mingle adopts European standards and design criteria as far as possible. "This makes the marketing far easier," Mr Lee explains. "Also, our prices are very attractive to buyers in Europe."
Buyers benefit, he adds, from mass-production techniques across a wide range of products, many offering different options. "Conventionally, these items are made in small factories," he notes. "In our case, we have a large manufacturing facility that makes us not only bigger but also faster and more competitive."
In 2002, Mingle decided to increase production efficiency by adding a range of low-tech torches featuring either a shaking or cranking action dynamo in lieu of batteries. "This line has proved very successful as the torches are perfect for today's trendy, environmentally-friendly consumer climate," says Mr Lee. "These days, people will pay for such interesting features."
The latest torch model is a patented twist-to-charge type, where a 10-second twist provides up to 10 minutes of light. Other models come with two light settings: a twist-to-charge, single LED for efficiency, and a battery mode that drives a beam from five LEDs.
"Our torches sell very well in Europe and the US, and they are sales highlights for 2007," Mr Lee adds. "However, we also have new products, and we are now a lot more diversified. Having control over our own moulding and tooling is important, and gives us the flexibility to experiment."
Also new for 2007 is a digital frying pan with a built-in sensor that monitors the pan temperature. Located on the handle, the detachable electronic module allows for dishwasher-safe cleaning.
"The Mingle approach is to design and manufacture items that are functional and attractive," Mr Lee insists. "Also, as innovation is everything these days, we look for added value wherever we can. Our digital spoon-scale with LCD readout, for example, saves time and trouble and ensures the user has the right measure of ingredients."
For wine buffs, there is a thermometer with a digital display to check that the bottle is at the correct serving temperature. "This is for wine professionals, including bartenders and vineyards," says Mr Lee. "Our model is a conventional unit with a stopper and gauge, and we would like to develop more of these items to enrich our lines in the future."
Parts and components are purchased from Japan and Korea (LEDs and capacitors) in order to ensure consistently high quality. "This is particularly important for a torch used in emergency lighting situations. Our plastic casings use PC that cannot be broken, while capacitors maintain their charge well with no leakage."
Mingle, which has a sister company in Germany in addition to a worldwide sales network, has applied for several patents to cover different products and is looking to expand its range of electronic kitchen tools and gadgets.
It seems clear that Mingle Instrument Ltd has its foot on the growth pedal in a wide range of measuring and lighting devices.
TEXT BY TONY HENDERSON
|Mingle Instrument Ltd
Unit A, 22/F, CDW Bldg
388 Castle Peak Rd, Tsuen Wan, New Territories Hong Kong
Tel: 852-2402-2282 Fax: 852-2412-0960
|Year Established: 1987|
Major Product Categories: thermometers, hygrometers, barometers, torches, electronic kitchen products
Brands & Certificates: Sunartis, Everlight
Major Markets: the US, Europe, Japan
Monthly Production Capacity: one million units
Minimum Order: 3,000 units
Delivery Time: 30-45 days after order confirmation
Factory Siz & Location: Shenzhen