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Feature, efficiency upgrades in furniture hardware under way

R&D efforts target enhanced product performance and better cost control.

Furniture hardware suppliers in China are improving models and manufacturing systems to address buyers' requirements. In new product development, durability and visual appeal are both receiving increased attention. R&D efforts have yielded a greater number of surface treatment and raw material choices.


Handle
The model MMFC7361 handle from Ningbo Youyou comes in iron and stainless steel.

Options for the former now include designs with higher resistance to water, UV rays and other elements. More models for kitchen and bathroom use, in particular, undergo electrophoresis instead of electroplating and clear paint spraying for better corrosion prevention.

Recently released hardware for indoor furniture can withstand 48-hour salt-spray tests instead of just 24 hours. Iron fittings for outdoor applications endure the evaluation from 300 to 500 hours.

The range of finishes has also widened to suit a variety of furniture styles. Zhuhai Hembo Trading Co. Ltd, for instance, has introduced models with an archaic look in color combinations such as coffee copper and cyan bronze. A brushing treatment that enhances the antique appearance of the series is offered.

As regards raw materials, handle suppliers are combining metal with ceramic, acrylic and wood to enhance the decorative value of models. In addition, Zhuhai Hembo has released models that can have 30 to 300 rhinestones, which are procured from Swarovski and other overseas-based companies.

Dongguan Ouke Optoelectronics Technology Co. Ltd, which offers connectors for the tool-free assembly of
KD and DIY furniture, uses iron, zinc alloy and plastic to meet varying aesthetic preferences. The series comprises more than 30 models for different parts and board thicknesses.

The selection includes designs for panels as thin as 10mm. Addressing load capacity, fittings that can bear 20kg more compared with the maker's 2008 variants are also offered.

In the outdoor line, Hangzhou Ouroom Hardware Co. Ltd is constructing garden furniture hardware from metal boards 15 to 30 percent thicker than those employed in indoor designs.


Production efficiency on the rise
Best-selling lines
Product gallery
Production efficiency on the rise

Suppliers are upgrading manufacturing facilities to ensure performance targets are met and costs remain under control. In 2010, several invested in automatic equipment, boosting efficiency more than 50 percent and reducing outlay by as much as 30 percent.

Ningbo Youyou International Co. Ltd automated the stamping, welding and polishing of its hollow stainless steel T-bar handles. It plans to implement similar upgrades in the cutting and polishing of cold-rolled steel versions in coming months to increase efficiency by 50 percent.

Guangdong Saca Metal Products Co. Ltd procured machines from Taiwan to automate stamping and assembly. The integrated line will be operational this year.

Hangzhou Advance Hardware Mfg Corp. generated labor cost savings by investing in automatic threading machines and packaging facilities. The maker is aiming for a more streamlined operation in the months ahead by moving its electroplating facility closer to the factory in Jinhua, Zhejiang province, to cut transportation expenses.

Best-selling lines

Handles, hinges and slides are the leading export categories of furniture hardware. Iron and stainless steel tower over other raw materials because of their higher performance-to-price ratio. Other materials employed include aluminum, copper and zinc alloys.

Handles: Models come in an assortment of shapes, materials and finishes. T, D and bow are the basic shapes for bar-type handles, while knobs are usually round.

Although stainless steel is costlier than other materials, handles in the former are often hollow, making them 15 percent less expensive than solid iron counterparts. Solid aluminum and zinc alloy versions, meanwhile, are priced 45 and 65 percent higher, respectively.

In terms of finishes, nickel plating, chrome and brushed stainless steel are the most common.

Quotes for handles start at $0.10 for solid iron and hollow stainless steel types in basic bar and knob constructions. Designs made of aluminum and zinc alloys, and brass range from $0.50 to $1, while those with parts in another material reach $3.

Hinges: Models for glass and wooden furniture, and framed and frameless cabinets are available. Most open at an angle of 90 to 110 degrees, although there are some that reach 165 and 175 degrees.

Designs can come in stainless steel, copper or zinc alloy. Iron hinges, however, are the most dominant, and these typically have nickel, gold or chrome plating.

Quotes start at $0.10 and can exceed $1. Two- and three-way types are generally three or four times more expensive than one-way releases. Soft-close versions are priced 50 to 100 percent higher.

Slides: Drawer slides dominate the category, but models for cabinet doors and dining tables are offered as well. The first line usually comes in widths of 35, 39, 45 and 51mm, with a load capacity of 23 to 58kg per 18in. Wider designs for heavy-duty applications are also available.

Prices range from $0.095 per inch for 35mm models to $0.42 per inch for 57mm variants.


Connector
Product gallery

Dongguan Ouke Optoelectronics Technology Co. Ltd

Model: H-shape Over Centre Buckle
MOQ: 1,000 pieces
Delivery: 10 days
Description: Connector; plastic; black, white or transparent; semi-hidden


Connector


Dongguan Ouke Optoelectronics Technology Co. Ltd

Model: Single Buckle
MOQ: 1,000 pieces
Delivery: 10 days
Description: Connector; plastic; black; hidden; 46x8x8mm male, 86x10x10mm female


Connector


Dongguan Ouke Optoelectronics Technology Co. Ltd

Model: U-shape Buckle
MOQ: 1,000 pieces
Delivery: 10 days
Description: Connector; iron; black; hidden; 66x15.4x2mm male, 63.5x12.5x56mm female


Handle


Hangzhou Advance Hardware Mfg Corp.

Model: ADT01
MOQ: 1,000 pieces
Delivery: 35 days
Description: Handle; iron or stainless steel; nickel, chrome or brushed stainless steel finish; optional semicircular ends


Handle


Hangzhou Advance Hardware Mfg Corp.

Model: ADW01
MOQ: 1,000 pieces
Delivery: 35 days
Description: Handle; iron or hollow stainless steel; nickel, chrome or brushed stainless steel finish


Handle


Ningbo Youyou International Co. Ltd

Model: 2011
MOQ: 2,000 pieces
Delivery: 45 days
Description: Handle; iron or stainless steel; nickel, chrome or brushed stainless steel finish; optional semicircular ends


Handle


Ningbo Youyou International Co. Ltd

Model: FC7358
MOQ: 2,000 pieces
Delivery: 45 days
Description: Handle; stainless steel; aluminum alloy feet


Knob


Ningbo Youyou International Co. Ltd

Model: MMFC7361
MOQ: 2,000 pieces
Delivery: 45 days
Description: Knob; iron or stainless steel; oil-rubbed bronze, archaized copper or bronze, or chrome finish




Note:This article 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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