Makers highlight slimmer, SMD microspeakers

An Expert's View about Business Environment in China

Posted on: 5 Nov 2012

Suppliers of microspeakers in China are boosting the release of units in traditional configurations while building up the SMD category to broaden their selections. For the former kind, they concentrate on matching the miniaturization trend in application devices. Fulling & Ceiec Co. Ltd is aiming for thinner profiles after realizing 2mm.

To boost the production of SMD variants, businesses are pursuing product development further as the type requires complex manufacturing. Such electroacoustic components currently represent 5 to 10 percent of makers’ output. The share is expected to increase steadily, with the upswing estimated at about 5 percent in 2013.

Fulling & Ceiec plans to develop more SMD models, which make up 5 percent of its yield at present.

Enterprises also continue to improve audio quality. For sound pressure level, Shenzhen Wabony and Changzhou Tongda-WK have reached 120dB. Xiamen Honch Industrial Suppliers Co. Ltd, meanwhile, enhanced its rating to 110dB from 90 to 95dB, while it is 96dB for Fulling & Ceiec from 85 to 90dB. At Shenzhen Vanke Loudspeaker Products Co. Ltd, the maximum is 95dB.

Manufacturers are working on elevating the SPL further. To achieve this, they are adopting composite diaphragms, which are made of combination of polyetherimide or PEI and PU, or polyetheretherketone and aluminum.

Encouraging development efforts is the rising shipments of downstream products such as portable and consumer electronics, toys and home appliances as each device uses at least one microspeaker. Mobile phones integrate up to two units, notebook PCs two or more, and flat-panel TVs eight and above microspeakers.

Worldwide deliveries of handsets will hit 1.7 billion units by 2013, climbing by about 9 percent, according to the China Electronic Components Association or CECA.

The forecast for laptops is a nearly 15 percent surge to 371 million units from 323 million this year. It will be a 7 percent uptick for both digital cameras and flat-panel TVs, respectively at 136 million and 270 million units.

In anticipation of the increase in demand, China suppliers are bolstering production capacity in the coming year. Xiamen Honch is aiming for a 10 to 30 percent rise or 800,000 units monthly from 600,000 units. The company will invest 5 to 10 percent of sales in this expansion.

Enterprises are also turning to automation for improved efficiency, with many employing CAD and CAM technologies.

China is responsible for about 50 percent of global output of microspeakers. Combined with receivers, the line’s total is expected to touch 9.6 billion units worldwide in 2013 from last year’s 8.7 billion units based on CECA estimates.

By year-end and 1H13, local makers look forward to higher export volume and value of at least 5 percent. Although Europe and North America remain key overseas destinations, companies are exploring prospects in Asia and South America.

Shenzhen Vanke ships 80 percent of output abroad, primarily to Europe, but expects India to fuel the increase in outbound deliveries in coming months.

Fulling & Ceiec, meanwhile, plans to extend reach to Europe, the US and the Middle East. The bulk of its yield goes to South Korea at present.

There are more than 100 manufacturers of microspeakers in mainland China. A number offer related products such as micro-microphones, receivers, and car and portable speakers. The supplier pool comprises mainly small and midsize homegrown operations. There are also foreign-invested companies, including those from Taiwan and Hong Kong. The key hubs are Guangdong, Zhejiang, Shandong and Jiangsu provinces.

The cities of Shenzhen, Dongguan, Guangzhou and Zhongshan in the first area, Shaoxing in Zhejiang, Weifang in Shandong and Suzhou in Jiangsu are the main locations. Seventy percent of the makers congregate in Guangdong. Major players Gettop and GoerTek are based in Weifang.

Varied microspeaker selection

The range in the mainland is categorized by shape, which includes round, rectangular, oval and square units. Mainstream models have rated power ranging from 0.2 to 5W and SPL of 80 to 100dB.

Round microspeakers dominate supply with a 50 percent share. These come in 7 to 70mm-diameter versions. The key applications are e-book readers, mobile phones and electronic toys.

At Xiamen Honch, the type represents 60 percent of output, and 70 and 90 percent respectively in the case of Fulling & Ceiec and Shenzhen Vanke.

To expand the application base, businesses will increase the yield of rectangular, oval and square variants. Such units are mostly adopted in TVs, mobile Internet devices, notebook and tablet PCs and home appliances.

Most microspeakers from the mainland comply with RoHS and REACH requirements.

The main materials and components used in the production of microspeakers are magnet, diaphragm, voice coil and basket, which collectively account for 80 to 90 percent of costs.

Enterprises employ NdFeB, ferrite and alnico magnets, and Mylar paper, polyimide, PEI and PU inputs for the diaphragm. The first material and Mylar are adopted in more than 70 percent of makers’ output for their better cost-to-performance ratio attribute.

Polyphenylene oxide, PBT, iron, steel and SPCC are the options for the basket, and pressure-sensitive vinyl, ASV and KSV types for the voice coil.

Suppliers source manufacturing inputs from local providers and turn to Taiwan or Japan companies on request only.

Makers project prices will increase by 5 to 10 percent due to climbing yuan value and material and component costs.

A few companies, however, plan to keep quotes at current levels to stay competitive.

Taiwan: Line targets various electronics

Makers in Taiwan offer a range of microspeakers in various shapes and sizes to cater to a broader market and ensure stable growth of the mature line. They also emphasize customization.

The selection consists of round, oval, square and rectangular units, which come in 8 to 200mm and are 2.3 to 90mm in height. In terms of impedance, the options are likewise wide, ranging from 4 to 600ohm.

Suppliers extend the choices to the materials used. For diaphragms, there are paper, PET, polyetherimide or PEI, polyimide, fabric, polyethylene naphthalene and sponge.

Companies also combine inputs such as polyimide or paper and sponge, PEI or paper and PU, and paper and cloth. Frames are made of ABS, PBT or metal.

Round, oval and square variants are typically employed in computers, communication products and consumer electronics. To suit these devices, manufacturers follow the miniaturization trend.

The first two types find wide application in printers, fax machines, GPS and telecom devices, POS systems and bar-code readers, headsets and earphones, and toys.

Square kinds are commonly adopted in LCD monitors, notebook PCs and TVs.

Units smaller than 15mm are priced below $0.50, and those above 18mm used in GPS navigators, speed detectors and door phones at more than $0.70. Versions for the automotive sector, which require high temperature resistance exceeding 100 C, are quoted at over $1.50.

Makers are counting on the mobile phone industry to drive demand for the line, especially for the SMD models.

Read the full report on Makers highlight slimmer, SMD microspeakers. Global Sources is a leading B2B portal and a primary facilitator of trade with China manufacturers and India suppliers, providing essential sourcing information to volume buyers through our e-magazines and trade shows.

Posted: 05 November 2012

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