27 Dec 2006
Intelligent Designs(HKTDC Enterprise, Vol 01,2007)
Edu-Science (HK) Ltd
|Edu-Science (HK) Ltd offers a wide range of patented, advanced educational-scientific toys|
Give a child a net and a bottle on a sunny morning and it will be a day brightened by catching butterflies. "Give the same child a basic kit of net, see-through holding bag, magnifying glass and tweezers, and an entomologist is born," says Edu-Science (HK) Ltd marketing manager Eric Chan.
It is this kind of thinking that has brought the firm so much media attention, thanks also to its advanced educational-scientific approach to products such as the Vectron Ultralite flying saucer and the Vectron Blackhawk.
"We have come a long way since start-up in 1986," says Chan. "Back then we produced telescopes, and the exercise gained us expertise in optics that stands us in good stead today."
In fact, every year more than 200,000 telescopes leave the firm's factories. "We offer total quality control, which is why buyers such as Tesco of the UK source from us," he adds. "We operate special spray-paint and powder-coating rooms to ensure telescopes and metal microscopes are properly finished. In addition, our optical department is highly specialised in the production of lenses using grinding, polishing and coating techniques."
Following production of telescopes and microscopes, the firm started to develop other educational and scientific toys and, some three years later, launched its first electronic items. "Today, about 40% of our production is electronic goods, mostly on an OEM basis although we also do ODM," says Chan.
"Our full range covers several categories including optical science, aviation science, science kits, general educational products and miscellaneous electronic goods," he adds. "In fact our Tree of Knowledge (HK) Ltd subsidiary has specialised in producing science experiment kits for more than 20 years."
The Tree of Knowledge range comprises educational toys for children in the form of easily-assembled kits dealing with chemicals, water, forensics, old-fashioned radios, fire detectors and so forth.
"Tree of Knowledge is our brand name, although the product line was created in Israel. We employ a professor to help further develop the range - for example into sonic listening devices and weather monitoring stations," Chan explains.
"The number of patents and copyrights we hold is also extensive, and they are all valid worldwide. This is important protection for our sophisticated items and our highly popular hobby-grade, wireless-controlled flying saucers," he adds.
Edu-Science also lays claim to being the second-largest manufacturer of globes. "We have a wide selection in many different materials and sizes that depict the earth in different ways," says Chan. "In addition, we have a new promotional line called the K-Ball. It's a puzzle, developed by a UK firm, and we have bought the rights. It is also patented worldwide."
There is also a special line for medical promotions that targets doctors who want to have a model to explain things to their patients. "We are now building a new clean room facility exclusively for medical products," says Chan, "and we will soon obtain ISO 13485 Medical Devices certification."
He notes that toys in general are losing popularity among children, and that more youngsters want to play on the Internet. "We want to develop educational toys that are realistic and bring more interesting options to children and provide them with a better, hands-on experience in their playthings."
From the outset, Edu-Science has manufactured on the Chinese mainland. "Today, we have an ISO 9001-certified, 80,000-square-metre, 1,800-4,000-worker factory in Dongguan," says Chan. "The tooling department alone employs 150 skilled workers."
There are 120 injection-moulding machines, the largest of which handles up to 3,500 tonnes and designs that are one metre square. "We also have 10 CNC stations," says Chan, "while the electronics department, developed over a period of 10 years, has three production lines including one that is RoHS standard-compliant."
The facility is also enhanced by a blow-moulding operation. "This machine still uses plastic resins but air is blown through two walls and there is better protection for the instrument inside," says Chan. "We have 20 blow moulding stations, and we can handle large sizes suitable for playground toys up to 1.7 metres square so that with modular design we can build bigger playthings."
Edu-Science's Hong Kong office looks after all administration, marketing, and R&D functions. "We also have a nice showroom in Hong Kong, in addition to showrooms, offices and warehouses in the US and Germany," Chan states.
Moving on to bigger and better things, and business, seems a natural path for Edu-Science.
WRITTEN BY TONY HENDERSON