New models boast streamlined designs with thickly padded seats and other user-friendly features.
Weight machine suppliers in China are updating selections to meet the needs of various users.
|This multigym from Impulse comes with a 200-pound weight stack.|
At many enterprises, R&D work is geared toward models with better ergonomics. Efforts have yielded more designs with adjustable seat pads and backrests, allowing people with different body types and workout requirements to use the machines. Several have gas springs for convenient changing of the seat’s height.
Seats, back- and headrests, and leg extension parts are padded with high-density memory foam for greater comfort. One-step molding technology is employed to ensure cushions retain their shapes.
As regards safety enhancements, screw heads are concealed to prevent users from getting caught in these during workout. High-strength selector pins are adopted to lock weight plates in place.
For cables, aircraft-grade types are employed. Beijing Body Strong Fitness Co. Ltd employs a locally sourced construction capable of carrying 6,000 pounds. Impulse (Qingdao) Health Tech Ltd adopts Loos cable from the US with the same capacity.
To achieve a streamlined look, elliptical tubes are replacing round and square variants in the frames. Environment-friendly electrostatic powder coating is applied for rust and water resistance.
Several enterprises are hiring additional designers and other specialists to boost the frequency of releases. Some are cooperating with overseas-based fitness equipment manufacturers or design companies.
Besides offering more options, weight machine suppliers in China are seeking greater control over cost and product quality to boost competitiveness in the international market. Under this effort, a number of enterprises have invested in facilities that will allow them to carry out key manufacturing and QC processes in-house.
Impulse and Shanghai Keysheen Leisure Products Co. Ltd, for example, both produce the steel tubes for their models’ frames. The former also boasts its own machines for tensile, package drop and vibration, and torque testing.
Many suppliers plan on tapping opportunities in Central and South America, the Middle East and Africa in coming months. A number intend to fortify their positions in North America and the EU, which are currently the major markets of the line.
China’s selection of weight machines includes units for residential and commercial applications. The two segments account for 80 and 20 percent of national output, respectively.
Quotes are based on steel tube specifications, seat materials, the integrated functions and the number of stations. Generally, machines adopting 3mm-thick square steel tubes are entry-level types. Midpriced and high-end designs boast round or elliptical versions thicker than 3mm.
Models have frames powder-coated for aesthetics and corrosion resistance. Dark and silver gray, and black are the popular shades.
For the pulley system, nylon-coated steel cables are used. Machines at the upper end of the price scale often employ aircraft-grade variants from the US or South Korea.
Weight stacks range from 50 to 100kg or 110 to 220 pounds. Each plate is 5kg or more.
Seats are padded for user protection and comfort. PU, PVC and genuine leather are employed as covers.
Space-saving multigyms, which have grown popular in recent years, go for $200 to $4,000. Most home units have one station, while commercial types can be fitted with up to 12. Attachments on the machines typically allow butterfly, bicep curl, leg extension and curl, lateral raise and reverse pulldown exercises.
Single-station designs not exceeding $600 are fitted with seats upholstered in PVC or PU. Four to six types of workouts can be done on these units.
Upward to $1,500, the selection includes commercial multigyms compliant with EN 957. Featuring multiple stations, such models enable five to 10 types of exercise, and come with PU seat covers.
Higher-priced constructions allow users to carry out a wider variety of workouts. Genuine leather upholstery is an option.
Ranging from $150 to $2,000, most weight machines target a particular body part. More expensive designs, however, may come with attachments for different types of workouts.
Quotes of China-made weight machines are at least 5 percent higher than they were in January. Many suppliers implemented adjustments to cover increases in raw material and labor costs.
In coming months, several companies see prices going up 5 to 10 percent as rates for steel and plastic remain on the upswing. Further, analysts anticipate the currency to grow stronger.
Taiwan suppliers of weight machines are leveraging their strength in R&D to add more differentiated models to their selections. Backed by thriving supply networks, makers are fortifying their positions as providers of high-value exercise equipment amid rising competition from mainland China.
In commercial designs, currently the dominant export category, the emphasis is on sturdy and ergonomic single-function units. Efforts toward these objectives have seen several companies adopting elliptical tubes in the frames to achieve a stable, streamlined structure.
Targeting greater comfort and safety, mechanisms that allow machines to accommodate different users and workout programs are increasingly being integrated in designs. A number of recent releases, for instance, boast reclining seats and easily accessible weight stacks.
Further enhancing the convenience of commercial units are amenities such as bottle and towel holders. Placards are also placed on several designs, offering a quick reference to targeted muscle groups and proper use. Some machines come with electronic counters.
For home units, R&D efforts focus on versatility. Various attachments are fitted onto models to enable exercises for different parts of the body.
Price competitiveness is also a target. Consequently, most designs still use round or square tubes, which are less costly than elliptical types.
Note: This article "Ergonomic upgrades top R&D objectives in weight machines 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 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.
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