6 March 2008
Visionary Tactics(HKTDC Enterprise, Vol 03,2008)
|Great Wall (Optical) Plastic Works Ltd offers a broad range of optical goods, including magnifiers, binoculars and microscopes|
About 40 years ago a Hong Kong company started to produce a simple, plastic, compact camera, and named it "Diana". Now, the Diana camera is something of a museum piece, being the first of its kind to be made in Hong Kong.
"From simple cameras, we branched out into magnifiers and microscopes," says Great Wall (Optical) Plastic Works Ltd Deputy General Manager Paul Cham. "Later, the firm was acquired by Cosmos Machinery Enterprise Ltd which was listed on the Hong Kong stock exchange."
Today, the firm is one of the leading optical products makers in Hong Kong, and business is going strong. "By sales volume, we rank number one or two in our sector in Hong Kong," Mr Cham states.
There are three main product lines. "We have binoculars, magnifiers and microscopes, available in great variety. We have regular models and items designed for specialist use," he says.
"In magnifiers, we have a pocket-sized model that is ideal for naturalists in the field. A more formal tabletop type is illuminated and remains a hot seller. However, while the design is essentially the same, modern items now incorporate LED technology," adds Mr Cham, noting that non-illuminated products are generally available under the Waltex brand, while illuminated items bear the Lumagny name.
There are also magnifiers for the gems and jewellery industry, and specialised models for the textiles industry.
"One model comes with a set of tweezers to pick up and place minuscule components," Mr Cham notes. "Another model has a miniature scale around its edges for incremental measurements, and we also provide options for a neck-hanging fitting."
Great Wall has been supplying portable microscopes that have been in production, with continuous improvements, for about 30 years. One typical model, available with many variations in size and magnification, typically offers 30x magnification and is intended for industrial use. "Printers use this model to check the dot sizes, colouration and quality of their work," says Mr Cham.
The full range of fixed microscopes is 30x, 50x and 100x, while variable models feature 60x-100x. Some are available with stands. "An assortment of magnifying cards is also available, some using the Fresnel approach to magnification," says Mr Cham. "These cards are generally bought by buyers in the gifts and premiums sector."
Great Wall's binoculars, although not infrared, have lens coatings to increase light reception and come mostly with metal cases. A popular range of waterproof models, exported under the Waltex brand, comprises roof prism lenses available in three versions from 8x26mm to 8x32mm.
Also under the Waltex brand name is a series of Porro prism binoculars, with the 7x35mm, 8x40mm and 10x50mm models most popular. In its non-Porro prism binoculars range is a 10x25mm model that features ruby-coated objective lenses - to filter UV glare and give better contrast. A roof prism bino-type comes in a 10x25mm version, is fully rubberised and also uses a ruby coating.
Mr Cham says the key to good optical products is a good lens. "Advanced plastics manufacturing technology is needed to produce reliable lenses," he states. "One must ensure the quality of the mould, and underlying that process is the standard and ability to do the necessary tooling. Then there is the associated machinery, which we obtain from our parent company or import directly from Japan."
Very few items feature glass lenses and the material of choice is plastic. "Our plastic injection moulding machines can handle all the complexities involved with the outputting of quality lenses," Mr Cham assures, noting that if a client insists on glass then that part would have to be outsourced.
The US and Europe are the firm's two main markets, followed by Japan. "We meet buyers from all over the world and we do everything we can to help them with their requirements. Customer relations and customer service are vital to us."
At the same time, Great Wall invests in ongoing R&D. "Continuous improvements have to take place, not just in the product features but also in the quality of the entire range," says Mr Cham. "If we get a complaint, anything at all, we attend to it immediately and also investigate how and why the problem came about."
An eye on a successful future is clearly the vision for Great Wall (Optical) Plastic Works Ltd
TEXT BY TONY HENDERSON
|Great Wall (Optical) Plastic Works Ltd
Tai Tung Ind Bldg
29-33 Tsing Yi Rd
Tsing Yi Island, New Territories
|Year Established: 1960
Major Product Categories: magnifiers, microscopes, binoculars
Brands & Certificates: Lumagny & Waltex; ISO 9001
Minimum Order: US$2,000
Monthly Production: -
Delivery Time: 35-45 days
Factory Size & Location: 48,000 square feet