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Rotary, rocker, membrane units dominate line

The last installment of this two-part series presents the province’s current and upcoming selections of switches.

Switch suppliers in Jiangsu province turn out mainly rotary, rocker or paddle and membrane types, which collectively represent one-third of production and exports. They also offer keylock, micro, push-button, slide, toggle, limit, reed, timer, pressure, proximity, temperature, tactile, power, foot, roll ball and transfer kinds.

Rotary variants target industrial and medical apparatuses and instruments, and household appliances such as ovens, fans and rice cookers. Typical models support two to 12 positions, or stepless rotation from 30 to 360 degrees. These have mounting hole diameters ranging from 16 to 22mm, which can be enlarged to 30mm.

Midrange and high-end rotary units last up to 1 million and more than 50,000 cycles in terms of mechanical and electrical life span. Companies ensure this by adopting upscale materials. They employ glass fiber-reinforced nylon 66 from Taiwan or South Korea for the bases owing to the input’s enhanced heat-resistant and insulation properties.

For current-carrying parts, makers use phosphor bronze because of its better conductivity and hardness than brass and red brass, respectively. These have silver alloy or gold-plated silver contacts, with coating thickness above 3μm.

Wall-mount rotary kinds come with panels made of PC sourced from Taiwan providers or Germany’s Bayer. The selections at Changzhou Beiter and Changzhou Shengjiei include such types.

Entry-level switches support 100,000 to 500,000 and 10,000 to 25,000-cycle mechanical and electrical life span. These have nylon bases, PC or ABS panels, brass electrical components, and silver or silver alloy contacts. The materials are obtained from local companies.

Regardless of market segmentation, rotary switches from Jiangsu enterprises comply with international standards such as GB and IEC.

Rocker or paddle types are mainly for lamps, home appliances and electronics, gardening tools, vehicles including motorcycles, and industrial equipment. These have one to four rectangular or round rockers. Some releases integrate a 1 to 20mA LED or neon light indicator in red, green, yellow, white, orange or blue. Diodes used last 40,000 hours and the latter kind 20,000 hours.

Wall-mount configurations for lamps commonly feature white PC or ABS panels, with updated models adopting stainless steel or acrylic glass for variation. The latter category is priced higher by 30 to 50 percent and popular with buyers from Europe and the US. Such units are also available in black.

Rotary or paddle switches for home appliancesand automotive use come in compact designs, with the latest releases having 9x13mm or smaller panels. Earlier kinds range from 10x15mm to 30x35mm.

To suit various requirements, suppliers offer models with hermetically sealed or water-resistant housings, fusebases and fuses. Most accept OEM orders, including requests for combination models with rocker switches and power sockets.

Rocker and rotary types are rated at 12 to 500V, 1 to 10A and 0.1 to 0.3W, and operate in -30 to 80 C.

In the membrane category, Jiangsu companies provide tactile and nontactile versions for consumer electronics, home appliances, security devices and industrial equipment. Units are 0.1 to 1mm-thick with faceplates as thin as 0.02 to 0.25mm and made of PC, PVC, PET or flexible PCB. Inner adhesive layers in PET are 0.05 to 0.5mm in thickness. Products have silk-screened characters and a glossy, semiglossy or matte finish. For mounting, the typical choices are 3M’s 467MP and 468MP adhesives.

Membrane switches come in 2 to 50V, 25 to 100mA and 0.1 to 0.3W ratings. These have an operating temperature of -40 to 120 C, and lasts 50,000 to more than 1 million cycles.

A number of tactile versions have an LED indicator or LCD screen. There are models with enhanced performance features. Nanjing Zhongshan has developed a series for swimming pools and sauna rooms with an IP67 or IP68 rating.

To boost sales, the majority of businesses continue to expand selections. Kinglee Tex Machinery Co. Ltd, which specializes in membrane switches, plans to release proximity, touch and other types for industrial and household products in coming years. In addition, it will introduce models with stainless steel panels to complement its plastic-based lineup.

Many enterprises are shifting to full automation to improve manufacturing efficiency amid rising costs. They adopt laser cutting and mold machining centers respectively from Trumpf and Chiron of Germany, an ABB soldering robotand automatic helium leak detection equipment.

ABS, PC, nylon and acrylic glass are the key plastic materials in the production of switches. Makers use locally sourced inputs for low-end and some midrange models, and turn to LG Chem, Chimei, Bayer, Mitsubishi and GE for their upscale units.

The choices in metal are copper, brass, bronze, stainless steel, silver and silver alloy. These come from providers in Jiangsu, neighboring Shandong and Anhui provinces, and Shanghai.

Companies are projecting a price increase of 5 to 10 percent in the months ahead as material and labor costs continue to climb.

Related reports:
Slide switches: Supply of miniature, subminiature types expanding
Membrane switches: Enhancements sustain line's lead over mechanical types


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Note: This article "Rotary, rocker, membrane units dominate line" 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 e-magazines and trade shows.

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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