14 Oct 2004
Potentiometers(HKTDC Electronic Components & Parts, Vol 04,2004)
Vol 4, 2004
Soundwell Electronic Components Co Ltd's potentiometers are produced at its ISO 9000- and ISO 14000-certified factories on the Chinese mainland
The surge in demand for highly sophisticated electronic products and testing equipment has generated a similar need for carefully calibrated and reliable potentiometers to control the data.
Seasoned Hong Kong manufacturers such as Soundwell Electronic Components Co Ltd are responding magnificently. "Our motto is quality, efficiency, quantity and simplicity," says sales manager Antonina Go, "and our highly stable production system is supported by an effective IQC system."
Established in 1991, Soundwell also has a reputation for fast turnaround of high quality products including encoders, potentiometers and rotary switches.
Go says business continues strong: "Generally speaking, we can deliver regular orders 15 days after confirmation thanks to our huge 10 million items a month production capacity."
Raw materials such as plastic and metal and carbon parts come from Taiwan and Japan, while production takes place at three factories: two in Shenzhen and one in Dongguan on the Chinese mainland. The three plants cover an area of 30,000 square metres and employ more than 1,250 people.
"We buy the best materials from leading suppliers and then produce uniformly reliable potentiometers," says Go. "Apart from BSI, we have ISO 9000 and ISO 14000 certification."
Orders are shipped to manufacturers on the mainland and overseas to buyers in the US, the UK and Korea using the in-house Soundwell brand or private labels.
Another firm active in potentiometers and rotary switches is 16-year veteran Mechatronics Industrial Co Ltd, which trades under the Mic name and accepts OEM business.
Production at the firm's main 1,500-square-metre factory in Shenzhen on the mainland is exported to buyers in Southeast Asia (75%), the US (15%), Europe (8%) and Central and South America (2%).
"Our factory is ISO 9001- and QHK 01028-certified and highly automated," says general manager Peter Chung. "We are vertically integrated and process everything from incoming raw materials to final testing."
He adds that Mechatronic's testing department is also fully comprehensive with a function tester, equipment to test VR noise, VR gang-errors, digital ohmmeters/comparators and a torque meter.
"We import top quality materials such as carbon elements, metal and plastic parts from Korea (60%) and Taiwan (20%)," Chung explains. "The balance we obtain locally on the mainland."
Production capacity reaches almost one million potentiometers a month: 500,000 of the firm's RV series and 300,000 of its MD series. A minimum order is 3,000 units and delivery is usually within 5-10 days of confirmation.
Meanwhile, "all kinds of potentiometers" is the proud boast on the more than 100 pages catalogue available from Filsonic Industries Ltd. "We literally can offer a potentiometer for any purpose," claims sales manager Lisa Wong. "Our major lines are rotary models - with or without switches - slide models, SMD chip trimmers and encoders."
Wong says that a key ingredient in the firm's success story is regular training for employees, which goes hand in hand with technological updates. "Our engineers keep abreast of the latest developments in the electronics industry, while we maintain close links with our customers to understand their needs," Wong explains.
Twenty-two-year-old Filsonic operates an ISO 9001-certified factory in Jiangmen that processes quality raw materials from the mainland and Taiwan.
Apart from sales to electronics manufacturers on the mainland, Filsonic exports to major markets such as India. "We have an extensive sales network that stretches from Southeast Asia to Europe and the US," Wong says.
Shipment of a minimum order of 5,000 potentiometers usually takes place within 7-14 days of confirmation. "Buyers can use their own brand names or can make use of our FIL name," Wong advises.
Equally experienced is Kiu Wai Electronics Mfg Ltd, which, according to director Simon Hung, has designed and manufactured potentiometers for almost 30 years.
"Our full product range includes conventional variable resistors, with or without switches, in addition to the latest digital encoder types," he says. "We also continue to invest in R&D and upgrade our manufacturing facilities."
Production takes place at Kiu Wai's ISO 9001-certified, 15,000-square-foot, 500-worker factory on the Chinese mainland. The plant processes carbon, sliders and terminals imported from Taiwan and Japan.
"In order to stay ahead in this business it is necessary to offer potentiometers within very strict tolerances," Hung observes, noting that these products are vital components in electronics circuitry and engineers and designers must have faith in their performance.
"We operate 10 production lines with tight QC operative from the raw material stage right through to the final packing," he adds. "We are also highly efficient and can offer reliable products at reasonable prices."
A minimum order from Kiu Wai is 5,000 potentiometers, usually available for delivery within 14 days of confirmation of order. Apart from selling to mainland-based electronics manufacturers, Kiu Wai has a healthy record of exports to Southeast Asia, Europe and the US.
Calibrating success has clearly worked for Hong Kong's potentiometer manufacturers and should continue to do so for many years to come.
WRITTEN BY ANTHONY WT MOORE
Mechatronics Industrial Co Ltd
Rms 785-787, Blk 2
Yip On Fty Bldg
Wang Hoi Rd
Kowloon Bay, 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
Soundwell Electronic Components Co Ltd
Rm 5, 11/F
Yen Sheng Centre
64 Hoi Yuen Rd
Kwun Tong, Kowloon