10 April 2006
Eco-Lights(HKTDC Enterprise, Vol 04,2006)
A Green Glow
With increasing emphasis on ecology in all sectors, businessmen are joining eco-aware consumers and Hong Kong manufacturers to take up friendly "green" glow lamps that burn bright and save a lot.
Taking the solar-power route, sales manager Jacky Lai says 1990-established May Corp Ltd has nine eco-friendly lights in its range.
"All models have a solar panel fixed to the top and the operating principle is quite straightforward," says Lai. "The sun's energy is captured by the solar cells and the electrical current generated charges a battery. The energy is stored until nightfall, when the light automatically switches on."
The light source is an LED, which is also energy-efficient and gives off a bright glow from a small current.
Lai says shape and size are the major differences among the various models. "They are all made from plastic," he says. "The standard product houses one AA rechargeable battery (supplied), while the largest model stands one metre tall, has six LEDs and produces a powerful light."
FOB Hong Kong unit prices start at about US$2 for standard models and rise to US$22 for the largest. The minimum order size is 5,000 pieces, and delivery is 30-40 days after confirmation to major markets in Europe. Production takes place at May Corp's 10,000-square-metre, 600-worker factory in Guangzhou on the Chinese mainland.
Meanwhile, xenon light designers at Philips Electronics HK Ltd (established in 1974) arrive at environmentally friendly products through waste reduction and using a smaller bulb that increases light efficiency from a greater reflecting surface.
"Using a much smaller bulb also means lower quantities of raw materials without compromising the brightness," says senior marketing and sales manager Wallace Ha. "In addition, we are very careful about the raw materials and production processes to ensure compliance with RoHS in Europe. For example, the bulb glass is lead-free and we do not do any soldering - making the whole manufacturing process cleaner."
Xenon-based lights have widely differing end uses. "They can be used as ordinary flashlights," says Ha, "but uniquely, xenon lights are also used in teeth whitening - something that is popular in the US and Canada. After applying a special gel to the surface of the teeth, simply shine a xenon light on the teeth to begin the whitening process."
The firm is a subsidiary of the Philips organisation, and markets its xenon lamps under the Tiny Xenon Power brand. Minimum order size is 12,000 pieces and delivery is 21 days after order confirmation. Production takes place at a 150-worker, ISO 9001- and ISO 14001-certified, 2,300-square-metre factory in Hong Kong.
Interestingly, 1998-established Tungda Electrical & Lighting Ltd combines both inert-gas-sensitive and electrodeless technologies in its high quality, energy-saving light sources sold under the firm's Duralite Induction Lamps brand.
The products are the result of in-house R&D, and Tungda claims to own the rights to its technology while admitting that similar induction light technologies have been around since the early 1990s.
"Our induction lamps feature no electrode or filament, instant start-up, no noise, no flicker and high colour rendering," says sales and marketing executive June Chow. "The benefits include an ultra-long lifetime, high reliability, stable output throughout the lamp's lifetime and, typically, they are maintenance free."
With a full range of 15W, 23W, 35W, 55W, 85W and 125W options, the lamps are suitable for general and specific lighting tasks with wide application in industry, for high ceilings, street lighting, building exteriors and places difficult to access.
"Another benefit is the lifespan, typically rated at about 80,000 hours, which does away with the need to change lamps frequently and results in less wastage," she claims.
Minimum order size is 1,000 pieces and delivery time is 2-4 weeks after confirmation. Main markets are the US and Europe. Raw materials are sourced in Japan, the mainland and Germany, while production takes place at an ISO 9001-certified, 500,000-square-foot factory on the Chinese mainland.
The term and brand name, Palmergy Light, says it all for Gradon Development Co (established 2000). It helps to explain how the company's new product is environmentally friendly - in the form of a torch that uses finger pressure to power a light source.
"We hold the rights to this technology as we developed it in-house based on the R&D efforts of one of our partners," says director Edward Li.
"To create a torch that does not need a battery is a very green concept," he enthuses, "especially when, in an emergency, say, a person can dig around in a drawer for a seldom-used torch and then discover that the battery is dead. Our product solves that problem by eliminating the battery."
The firm's palm-sized, electricity-generating device is single-hand operated and lightweight. A mere squeeze and it fires up an ultra-bright, white LED.
"By pressing the trigger," says Li, "a flywheel is put into motion to generate the power for the LED. The user simply presses a bit harder to generate more energy to create more light, with practical visibility being more than 10 metres."
The firm received a silver medal award for its product at the Geneva International Inventions 2005 show.
This is a new product, and Gradon is actively seeking customers. Minimum order size is 2,000 units and delivery is within 50 days of confirmation. Production takes place at a 300-worker, 25,000-square-metre factory in Dongguan on the mainland.
Friendly manufacturers offering eco-friendly products - definitely something to bring a warm glow to any businessman.
WRITTEN BY LIZA LEE
Gradon Development Co
Philips Electronics HK Ltd
Tungda Electrical & Lighting Ltd