1 April 2003
Potentiometers(HKTDC Electronic Components & Parts, Vol 02,2003)
Vol 2, 2003
|Slide (front) and rotary potentiometers (centre) from Daiwa Distribution Ltd are popular volume control units for audio products|
The ubiquitous potentiometer takes pride of place when it comes to electronics, frequently forming the core of control over user functions in everything from consumer electronic items to complex medical equipment and even space vehicles.
Hong Kong has ample suppliers of quality products at good prices and short delivery times, including Daiwa Distribution Ltd. A subsidiary of Daiwa Associated Holdings Ltd, Daiwa Distribution was formed in 1997 to focus on the distribution of electronic components.
The potentiometers, which account for 10% of all sales, are produced at a subsidiary plant, Daiwa Mfg Ltd, located in Yun Fu on the Chinese mainland. The pre-packed rotary and slide potentiometers are then sent to Hong Kong and held in a warehouse.
"Because we carry substantial stocks, which can be quickly replenished from our sister plant, we are able to offer 'next-day' delivery terms to local buyers," says company director Stanly Mak.
Local trade accounts for 90% of all transactions, with the balance going to various overseas markets. "Major clients are manufacturers of electronic consumer goods such as telephones and audiovisual products," says Mak.
Popular products include the 12mm and 16mm rotary potentiometers, with or without switch, accounting for more than eight million units a month in Hong Kong alone. There are also 10mm, 16mm, 17mm and 18mm rotary versions, some with switches, and a line of slide potentiometers.
Mak says that overseas enquiries are welcome. "We would be delighted to expand our business further," he says. "Our main selling points, apart from fast delivery, are good quality and attractive prices, and we have built an excellent reputation in a highly competitive business."
Another leading source is Productwell Precision Electronics Co Ltd, established in 1993 and a vertically integrated manufacturer of a variety of electronic components and parts. These include potentiometers, encoders, transformers, inductors and coils, and stick controllers used for video game products.
Production takes place at a 600-worker, three-floor factory complex located in Kaiping in Guangdong Province on the Chinese mainland. "All of our production facilities are modern and equipped with the latest machinery and we are ISO 9002-certified," says Hong Kong-based manager Tommy Wong.
"We design and produce everything in-house, using materials sourced from Japan, Taiwan and the mainland. We also welcome OEM business and offer design-to-finished product capability or making to client's own specifications," he adds.
Wong says that while potentiometer technology may have changed little in the past 20 years, advances do include better quality, longer life and greater reliability. "Our potentiometers track very faithfully and this is a big selling point in the market today," he says.
Wong says that potentiometers sell from US$0.06-0.12 each; stick controllers from US$0.20-0.22 each; and encoders from US$0.05-0.075 each. All prices are FOB Hong Kong for a minimum order of 20,000 pieces for delivery seven days after order confirmation. "We have a thriving overseas export business, with orders from major buyers in the Americas, Europe and here in Asia," he says.
Eight-year-old CDE Enterprise has a huge 12.5-million-piece monthly production of potentiometers, semi-fixed resistors and tact switches. These items are manufactured from iron, copper, bakelite, carbon and aluminium sourced solely in Japan.
Production occurs at an ISO 9001-certified, 600-worker, 10,000-square-metre plant in Dongguan on the Chinese mainland. The output comprises both metal and insulated shaft versions, super-thin models, basic rotary switches, bakelite-based semi-fixed resistors and also trimmers.
"We have a very wide range," says sales and marketing director Alex Kwan. "In addition, we can make to OEM or custom designs for special projects or equipment."
Kwan says prices are stable. "But it is impossible to give ballpark prices because the range is so wide and the price depends upon the specification and the type of product. However, we welcome all enquiries," he says. The minimum order size similarly varies from item to item.
Sales are made on a worldwide basis, with Germany and the US being major overseas destinations. Kwan says the local market accounts for approximately 50% of all orders, and that the standard delivery terms are two weeks after order confirmation.
Filsonic Industries Ltd also has a broad range of potentiometers to offer, along with several lines of film capacitors. "We make many different types of good quality rotary and slide potentiometers that are available at highly competitive prices," says general manager Lisa Wong.
"About 80% of our products are sold in Greater China, while we are actively trying to increase our business in Europe and North America. We also have some new products, including potentiometers with an extended lifetime of one million cycles."
Filsonic products are produced at a 100,000-square-foot, 1,000-worker factory in Xin Hui on the Chinese mainland. "Apart from the factory, we have offices and facilities in Hong Kong and Korea," Wong adds.
Filsonic requires a minimum order quantity of 5,000 pieces for delivery 1-2 weeks after order confirmation. Most of the raw materials are imported from Taiwan, Korea and Japan.
WRITTEN BY ANTHONY MOORE
Flat A, 10/F
Wing Hong Fty Bldg
18-26 Kwai Fung Crescent
Kwai Chung, New Territories
Filsonic Industries Ltd
4/F, Blk E1
Hoi Bun Ind Bldg
6 Wing Yip St
Kwun Tong, Kowloon
Productwell Precision Electronics Co Ltd
Rm 11, 16/F, Blk A
Veristrong Ind Centre
34-36 Au Pui Wan St
Fo Tan, New Territories
Roki Int'l Co Ltd
Units 17-18, 4/F
Leader Ind Centre
57-59 Au Pui Wan St
Fo Tan, New Territories