12 April 2007
Happy Households(HKTDC Houseware, Vol 02,2007)
Futec Products Ltd
|Established in 1990, Futec Products Ltd offers electrical adaptors, switching power supplies and electrical home appliances|
"Today, we continue to push our line of ODM home electrical appliances," says marketing coordinator Rebecca Law. "Our range includes blenders, coffee makers, espresso machines, hand-mixers, grills and room heaters."
Futec also does OEM, producing appliances such as pasta makers, meat grinders and evaporative humidifiers. "The ratio is 20% ODM, almost all electrical appliances, and 80% OEM, mostly adaptors and switching power supplies," says Law, noting that in 2005 Futec achieved sales revenues of US$55m.
New products include an oil-free, no-smell, tough and resilient energy-saving Electro-Thermic fast-heat panel heater that works with infrared and reaches full power in less than two minutes. The unit is either floor-standing or wall-mounted, and the power range is either 1Kw or 2Kw depending on the model.
The main markets are in Europe and the US. The lead time for a project averages five months for a new OEM item, or about six months for a new ODM item. The time required to make a prototype is about one month.
"In the beginning, competition was tough and that is why we sought diversity," says Law.
The firm's plans in that regard are now in motion. "We need an extra 40,000 square metres of factory space to achieve the desired production levels for home appliances," says Law. "We anticipate that coming on-stream by or in 2008."
She says that customers are often concerned about a firm's production capacity and want to know if it can cope with and handle an order of a given size. "They also have quality concerns," says Law. "Total quality control is important, and we adopt a six-stage process comprising visual inspection of completed circuit boards, including the soldering of components and general workmanship, a performance test of the assembled PCB, pre-casing electrical tests, high voltage tests, post-casing function tests and post-casing visual inspection. Then there are the final acceptance and inspection processes."
All of this takes place at Futec's factory in Shunde, Guangdong Province, on the Chinese mainland. The R&D and engineering departments are on-site, as is most material control and purchasing. The Hong Kong office handles the sales and marketing functions in addition to general administration.
At present, the factory size is 25,000 square metres and the workforce numbers about 1,500. The company has its own aluminium die-casting operation in addition to plastic extrusion facilities, which allow it to make all casings and housings in-house.
There are 16 sub-assembly lines, five final assembly lines, eight manual insertion lines for PCBs, SMT soldering wave machines, 65 plastic injection machines and three sets of over-moulding machines. Materials used include ABS, PCB, PP, acetal polyoxymethylene copolymer (POM), nylon, styrene acrylonitrile (SAN), polybutylene terephthalate (PBT) and polyphenylene oxide (PPO).
The production facilities are ISO 9001- and 14001-certified, and Futec offers the BAPT (a European standard) quality control system and GS and UL approvals if required.
Five tooling engineers work with 20 technicians in the tooling shop. "We also have in-house testing facilities for the approvals and our R&D department employs 28 engineers and four CAD designers. About 80% of our technical staff are university graduates and have been with the company for more than five years," Law says.
Hi-tech equipment includes CNC machines, while test equipment includes digitisers, dispenser reflow ovens, in-circuit testers and a burn-in room, besides the usual high voltage testers, multimeters and oscilloscopes. There are also welders, wire cutters, milling and grinding machines.
Looking ahead, Law says Futec is well-placed to achieve a balanced production output of in-demand products. "We have our strategy and it is working well," she asserts.
TEXT BY TONY HENDERSON
Futec Products Ltd