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Pillboxes with user-friendly features, safe materials pushed

Makers add features such as detachable compartments and daily audible alerts.

China suppliers of pillboxes are emphasizing ease of operation and multifunctionality in their product update efforts. In enhancing user convenience, companies are emphasizing the one-key feature. Typical electronic models with countdown timers and alarm settings have three buttons for choosing modes, and hour and minute markers. Upgraded units boast a single knob for all daily options, making operation easier. Although the technology increases prices by more than 10 percent, manufacturers expect it to become a major trend.


Pillbox
Shenzhen Timesun's TX2092 model has 14 compartments and a countdown timer.

Shenzhen Zhong Qing Century Scientific Technology Co. Ltd has been offering one-key versions since 2008. The supplier’s designs accommodate eight and two settings per six and 24 hours, respectively. Due to the financial crisis, however, the manufacturer shifted priorities from the US and the EU to the domestic market, where interest in these products is high.

Electronic pillboxes from Shenzhen Zhong Qing Century have simple “beep” and “toot” sounds, and friendly messages such as “Hello, remember me!” In addition to audible alerts, several units flash images on LCDs.

Shenzhen Topping Technology Development Ltd’s and HCG International Ltd’s designs with countdown functions make short warning beeps five to 10 minutes before the actual alarm. The companies’ versions featuring a single setting for multiple instances also boast alerts for missed medications. The LCDs of such units may flash the time of treatment skipped.

Shenzhen Topping upgraded its TP7000 model, which is equipped with the one-key function and can store four reminders with four tones to choose from each day. The new TP7000B variant has a “memo” switch that doubles the previous release’s alert capability.

The length of the sounds affects prices. The built-in phrases make items $0.15 more expensive than units with brief alerts.

For regular pillboxes, some manufacturers are offering multiple purposes. Easypromote Industrial Group Co. Ltd offers models with three compartments and a drawer underneath for other personal care or health products. The supplier also has designs with 14 partitions and an additional cell that acts as a pill cutter. Considering users typically drink water when taking medicine, Easypromote is developing an alternative with a kettle on top. The pillbox can be pulled out of the whole unit.

Meanwhile, small versions with one to four compartments may include keychains, carabiners, clips or cords for greater portability since such products are often carried around.

Typically, pillboxes utilize snap-fit enclosures, which may cause injury or a sudden movement that could spill the medicine. To address this problem, several models adopt twist or push-button mechanisms. With safety among the most essential attributes because of the products’sensitive purpose, almost all makers employ food-grade ABS. Another alternative is high-end PC, which boasts better anti-fouling properties and heat resistance. Models utilizing the material are quoted $0.07 to $0.09 higher.

Besides the latter input, Shenzhen Zhong Qing Century adopts PP mixed with anti-bacterial nanosilver powder. Pieces in this plastic are $0.04 more expensive than ABS versions.

Even in surface treatment and logo application methods, the use of nontoxic pigment is important. A number of manufacturers employ silk-screening.

Shenzhen Zhong Qing Century accepts buyers’ specifications. The supplier, however, advises against the process because the hardened paint may chip off and mix with the medicine. It recommends relief and laser engraving instead. Both require a $150 molding charge for a minimum order of 3,000 pieces and add $0.753 to $0.90 to prices, respectively.

To promote environmental friendliness and boost safety, the company carries metal-free electronic pillboxes that meet WEEE requirements and simplify the recycling stage. The positioning posts on PCBs and the screwless lids that Shenzhen Zhong Qing Century utilizes are all made of plastic.

Pillbox selection
Product gallery

Pillbox selection

Regular and electronic types are available from China, with low-end versions topping exports. Rectangular and round models dominate output. Novelty releases, including alternatives in the shape of a capsule are likewise offered.

There are single- to four-compartment releases, but one-week pillboxes are typical. The latter types have seven cells. Those with a.m. and p.m. partitions use 14.

Makers offer a number of logo application methods. High-end metal plates glued on lids are an option, especially for laser engraving purposes. These add $0.25 to prices.

Regular versions: Nonelectronic plastic models dominate the line. The interiors are usually made of PP or ABS, while the outer boxes are in ABS or high-end PC. The hues are vivid, with multiple colors an option.

Several companies, including Richforth, offer plastic variants with tin plate housings.

Low-end designs come in one- to three-partition configurations and attachments such as keychains, carabiners, clips and cords. These models are made of PP and do not have an outer shell. The prices are from $0.10 to $0.30.

Midrange pieces go for $0.35 to $0.50 and boast seven to 14 divisions, which can be detachable and have silk-screened time and day labels. They come in the same materials as the above but may include outer boxes.

High-end releases are quoted between $0.55 and $1.50. The features are similar to their less expensive counterparts, although upscale models boast 14 to 28 cells. The partitions are for a.m., noon, p.m. and bed time. The units are designed in seven separable boxes with four sections each and an outer container or rack, which may come in various shapes.

Electronic models: These pillboxes feature up to 14 divisions, although HCG has recently released a version with 28.

These products can be classified according to their built-in timer. First of three types and the least costly is the countdown feature. Another option allows a single setting for three to eight reminders per day. The last and the most expensive is the one-key function. Units offering multiple modes are also available.


Pillbox
Product gallery

Easypromote Industrial Group Co. Ltd

Model: EP-874
MOQ: 5,000 pieces
Delivery: 30 days
Description: ABS rack holding stack of seven removable bar-shaped PP boxes, each with four compartments, PP slide lid, and weekday, “Morn”, “Noon”, “Eve” and “Bed” labels; 12.7x10.8x3.7cm


Pillbox


Easypromote Industrial Group Co. Ltd

Model: EP-998
MOQ: 5,000 pieces
Delivery: 30 days
Description: PP; 14 compartments; individual lids silk-screened with weekday, a.m. and p.m. labels; opens on key press


Pillbox


Shenzhen Timesun Electronics Co. Ltd

Model: TX108
MOQ: 3,000 units
Delivery: 40 days
Description: Rectangular, seven compartments; single setting for 18 reminders; countdown timer; alarm set list, year, month, date, week, hour and minute displays


Pillbox


Shenzhen Timesun Electronics Co. Ltd

Model: TX2092
MOQ: 3,000 units
Delivery: 40 days
Description: Round; 14 compartments with weekday labels; single setting for five reminders per 24 hours; 99hr 59min maximum countdown timer; 9.8x1.8cm


Pillbox


Shenzhen Timesun Electronics Co. Ltd

Model: TX2090
MOQ: 3,000 units
Delivery: 40 days
Description: Round; five compartments; countdown timer; 8.3x3cm


Pillbox


Shenzhen Zhong Qing Century Scientific Technology Co. Ltd

Model: A2
MOQ: 1,000 units
Delivery: 20 days
Description: PP; seven compartments with individual lids; 10.5x6x1.6cm; colored box packaging


Pillbox


Shenzhen Zhong Qing Century Scientific Technology Co. Ltd

Model: A5
MOQ: 1,000 units
Delivery: 20 days
Description: PP inner, PC outer boxes; seven compartments; 12x6.5x2cm; white or optional silver gift box packaging


Pillbox


Shenzhen Zhong Qing Century Scientific Technology Co. Ltd

Model: A6
MOQ: 1,000 units
Delivery: 20 days
Description: PP inner, PC outer boxes; seven compartments with individual lids; 12x6.5x2cm; white or optional silver gift box packaging


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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