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Automotive, machinery applications keep industrial nameplates line buoyant

Makers of industrial nameplates are upbeat about recovering demand from traditional bases, which also include the electronics segment.

Suppliers of industrial nameplates in China are optimistic about the line, looking to benefit from accelerating growth in application sectors amid the economic recovery. They expect annual production value to climb by 10 percent in the years ahead from the current level of more than $1.5 billion. The automotive, machinery, electronics, household appliance and instruments segments are forecast to fuel demand, with the first three considered the major drivers.

Industrial nameplate

The model LB-012 nameplate from Dongguan Shunding is produced using die-casting, anodizing or diamond cutting.

In particular, makers are eyeing the country’s automotive industry, which is projected to increase by 10 to 15 percent in output and sales volume in coming months. Last year, it churned out 18.3 million vehicles and shipped 18.1 million, both soaring by 32 percent YoY, according to the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers. Suppliers also see an upturn in local machinery output, which is projected to rise by up to 15 percent.

In addition, companies leverage the nation’s position as the largest sourcing center for electronics and home appliances such as computers, refrigerators and washing machines. They likewise anticipate an expanding base in the aerospace, military and medical fields.

Asny Craft Fty looks forward to a 30 percent jump in sales value this year with more orders overseas, mainly from Europe and North America. For Dongguan Shunding Hardware Products Co. Ltd, the rate is 10 percent.

Even with the positive outlook, manufacturers are maintaining or expanding to other categories, leveraging available facilities to boost sales. This is because industrial nameplates are a mature line or, for most of them, a minor business. At Dongguan Shunding, the type represents about 60 percent of sales, but it is metal hangtags that the maker is introducing this year. Signs, labels, badges, medals, plate crafts shoe buckles and other types of tags constitute the rest of its range. Industrial nameplates account for 30 percent of Shanghai Kebiao Electronics Co. Ltd’s total revenue. Epoxy, logo and carton stickers, and dome labels make up the balance.

As a further measure to increase returns, suppliers are improving services by offering a quick turnaround for this highly customizable product or accepting small orders. Dongguan Shunding accommodates requests regardless of quantity and can provide a sample within three days. Asny has a five-day lead time after artwork approval and requires a minimum order of 300 pieces.

China has more than 20,000 makers of industrial nameplates, the majority of which are small operations. About 80 percent of them are based in the Pearl River and Yangtze River Delta regions, respectively in the provinces of Guangdong and Zhejiang. The cities of Foshan and Dongguan are the key locations in the first area, and Wenzhou in the last.

Product gallery

Industrial nameplates

Industrial nameplates from China are classified according to the materials and processes used, and shape.

Units come in aluminum, stainless steel, iron, copper, zinc or nickel, with versions in the first two dominating output. Aluminum is favored for its durability, light weight, and water, rust and chemical resistance. It also costs less than other metal types. At present, models using the material account for more than 60 percent of the country’s output. Stainless steel is commonly employed in home appliances because of its sleek look and noncorrosive quality.

Based on processes, there are etched, embossed, electroformed and die-cast variants. These can be plated, enameled, spray-sanded, anodized printed, backcoated and diamond-cut.

By shape, the options consist mainly of horizontal, vertical, round, rectangular and elliptical units. These can be mounted using screws, rivets or adhesive.

Prices are expected to keep climbing due to a similar trend in material and labor costs. Outlay for aluminum is projected to exceed $3,000 and copper to touch $11,000 per metric ton by year-end. Iron and stainless steel costs are also in an upturn, while the minimum wage levels in Guangdong and Zhejiang rose by 19 percent in April.

The increase in quotes, however, will be within 5 percent as makers strive to maintain competitiveness. To reduce spending, midsize and large companies have switched to automated processes covering printing, etching, carving, punching and plating.

Shanghai Kebiao has adopted a system integrating design, development and production. It has several sets of imported advanced equipment such as automatic adhesive dispensers and punching machines, and semiautomatic screen-printing and UV equipment.

Asny’s factory is equipped with CNC die carving machines, and 200-ton oil hydraulic and 60 and 160-ton friction presses. These are in addition to seven production lines for stamping, injection die-casting, photo etching, offset printing and silk-screening.

Aside from costs, China suppliers face environmental protection challenges, particularly where etching and electroplating processes are concerned. They hope to comply with the national standards limiting the discharge of water and air, and electrical pollutants.

Taiwan: Industrial nameplates line constitutes traditional, integrated units

Taiwan’s industrial nameplate range continues to broaden as makers specializing in surface processing techniques and membrane switches converge in the line. To match requirements in highly digitized equipment and at the same time offer one-stop-shop services, the first group has added the latter’s product to their selections. For the same reason, the category is now being provided by membrane switch suppliers as they expand from control panel manufacture.

At present, metal and plastic industrial nameplates integrating electronic circuits are the island’s popular products. Companies are therefore pursuing the design trend, leveraging it for a broader market reach and differentiation from rivals focusing on traditional plain variants.

In addition, manufacturers are adopting processing techniques other than the mainstream die-casting for metal types to increase penetration in high-end electronics applications. The last includes notebook PCs, graphics cards and home theater systems. Makers use the electroforming method to produce nameplates with a smooth metallic finish and in various colors. These are widely used for logos.

Taiwan has about 40 suppliers of industrial nameplates. All have been in the manufacturing business for decades.

Brass nameplate

Product gallery

Asny Craft Fty
(mainland China)

Model: ASNY-IN-02
MOQ: 500 units
Delivery: 10 days
Description: Brass; die struck with soft enamel; 60x40mm; 18g; Pantone colors available

Aluminum nameplate

Shanghai Kebiao Electronics Co. Ltd
(mainland China)

Model: KB4010
Description: Aluminum; etched/engraved design with polish; 35x50mm; 20g; for logos, appliances, machines, electronic products; red, green available

Aluminum nameplate

Suning Mings Co. Ltd

Model: Aluminum Nameplate
Description: Aluminum; die-cast; for camera housings

Aluminum nameplate

Vason Industries Ltd
(Hong Kong)

Model: Metal Labels 5
Description: Aluminum; diamond line engraved on top surface; custom logo, brand name, design accepted


Win Industry Co. Ltd

Model: Nameplate
Description: Customizable material, printing, coating and design; with LCD window for telecom, automotive, medical and consumer electronics

Zinc alloy nameplate

Winwin Industrial Co. Ltd
(mainland China)

Model: BG108
MOQ: 500 units
Delivery: 8 days
Description: Zinc alloy; die-cast, die struck; gold, silver, nickel or bronze-plated, anti-color, enamel finishing; 1.8mm thickness; various sizes, shapes available; custom logo accepted

EL panel nameplate

Yi Yi Enterprise Co. Ltd

Model: Nameplates-2
Description: EL panel; 3 to 24V; various colors, brightness available; for automotives, machine/instrument backlights, consumer electronics

Note: This article "Automotive, machinery applications keep industrial nameplates line buoyant" was originally published by Global Sources, a leading business-to-business media company and a primary facilitator of trade with China manufacturers and India suppliers, providing essential sourcing information to volume buyers through our e-magazines, trade shows and industry research.

All price quotes in this report are in US dollars unless otherwise specified. FOB prices were provided by the companies interviewed only as reference prices at the time of interview and may have changed.

Disclaimer: All product images are provided by the companies interviewed and are for reference purposes only. Those product images featuring products with trademarks, brand names or logos are not intended for sale. We, our affiliates, and our affiliates' respective directors, officers, employees, representatives, agents or contractors, do not accept and will not have any responsibility or liability for product images (or any part thereof) which infringe on any intellectual property or other rights of a third party.

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