6 July 2004
Sound Modules(HKTDC Electronic Components & Parts, Vol 03,2004)
Vol 3, 2004
Melody, voice and electro-mechanical sound modules from Chung Yuen Mfg Co Ltd are used in greeting cards and other items
Novelty and a strong sense of realism are key selling points for Hong Kong designed and manufactured sound modules that find a wide array of uses in toys, greeting cards and musical instruments.
For example, Chung Yuen Mfg Co Ltd, established in 1983, has a range of sound modules that includes melody, voice and electro-mechanical units. The company accepts custom orders and manufactures sound modules to client specifications.
"Almost all of our business is OEM, and buyers provide the messages and we edit the sound files and program the chips," says director Steve Chung, adding that all Chung Yuen's products are loud and clear, regardless of physical dimensions. "This applies equally to voice and melodies."
Typical is the VMR-036 Voice Mail Recorder for greeting cards, which holds a 6-60 second message and costs about US$1 FOB Hong Kong per unit. "We can pre-record each module with a promotional message that users hear before using the module for regular recording and playback," Chung explains.
The TM-037 sound module is also designed for greeting card use and sells for about the same price. "We also have the CV-021 mini sound module for use where size is critical, and this sells for about US$0.50 each," Chung adds.
All of Chung Yuen's high quality original designs are manufactured at its 30,000-square-foot, 200-worker plant in Shenzhen on the Chinese mainland.
Also offering a broad range of sound products is 12-year-old Asia Industries Co, a manufacturer of ICs for speech, melody and voice modules for toys, gifts and premium items.
"Our main products include melody and voice units for stuffed toys or greeting cards, recording modules (from 3-20 seconds), light and voice sensor controls for plush toys, badges with musical and flashing LEDs and custom-made own-voice cards (up to 12 seconds)," explains manager Agnes Tung. "We also welcome OEM work."
There is a wide range of sounds, voices and messages. "Sound effects range in length from a few seconds to almost a minute according to the use," she adds.
The company's 150-worker plant in Guangdong Province on the Chinese mainland uses raw materials sourced from the mainland and Taiwan to supply quality-approved modules to OEMs and manufacturers.
Asia Industries requires a minimum order of 1,000 modules for delivery 3-4 weeks after order confirmation. Major markets include North and South America, the Middle East, Spain, Germany and the UK. Prices are available on application.
Sino-Rate Enterprises Ltd, meanwhile, has produced quality sound modules for a wide range of purposes since 1989. "Our products are used by famous OEMs and leading manufacturers of stuffed toys, for example," claims director Cheuk Kit Ming.
He advises that sound modules that can be embedded into the moving parts of toys are highly popular. "We have units for mouths, noses, heads and hands and so forth."
Cheuk believes that R&D is essential to stay up with trends. "Buyers want new ideas as the range of uses for sound modules increases," he notes. "Own-voice recording - for example to personalise greeting cards and gifts - is a growing trend, while many buyers also want custom sounds and messages."
Sino-Rate's sound modules, manufactured from raw materials from the mainland, Taiwan, the US and Japan, are processed at an ISO 9001-certified, 17,000-square-metre factory in Dongguan on the mainland that employs 400 workers.
Production capacity is about 500,000 modules a month, and major markets include the mainland, the US and Europe. A minimum order is 10,000-20,000 units, based on quantity and message duration, for delivery in about 30 days.
According to Tila Worldwide Co Ltd sales and marketing manager May Chan, the 13-year-old company manufactures high-quality products and modules boasting a variety of popular and unusual melodies, and voice and sound effects components. "We promise prompt delivery, competitive pricing and strict quality control," she claims.
Chan adds that sound modules, although relatively inexpensive items, are now in high demand from many different sources. "We have OEM clients, we sell to manufacturers of toys and electronics goods, and we also make some ready-to-sell finished products of our own."
Ready-made products include talking mouse pads, postcards, voice badges and key chains. "We have more than 25 different sound modules suitable for stuffed toys and cards," Chan notes. "Some have motion and motion detector functions."
Using ICs from Taiwan, production of up to one million units a month takes place at an 8,000-square-foot, 600-worker plant in Dongguan on the Chinese mainland.
"We can produce high quality products to order and arrange forwarding and shipment very efficiently," Chan insists. A minimum order is 10,000 pieces for delivery about 30 days after order confirmation, and major markets include the mainland and Europe.
Obviously, Hong Kong is hitting the right note with sound modules providing added value for many different products.
WRITTEN BY ANTHONY WT MOORE
Asia Industries Co
Unit 4, 8/F
Wing Hang Ind Bldg
13-29 Kwai Hei St
Kwai Chung, New Territories
Simtec (ODM) Ltd
Rm 9, 16/F
Asia Trade Centre
79 Lei Muk Rd
Kwai Chung, New Territories