Slide switch line emphasizes compact, high-precision types

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Last updated: 22 Sep 2011

<b>Releases consist of models with smaller dimensions yet better performance to meet requirements in portable electronics.</b>
Driven by the prevailing trend for compact portable electronics, China slide switch makers are developing products boasting smaller sizes yet enhanced precision. To illustrate, a variant from Shenzhen Dacheng boasts dimensions of only 5.5x2.5x0.7mm. Yueqing Leye Electronics Technology Co. Ltd offers the LY-SK-02 model for PCB mounting design and reflow soldering. It has a height of 1.5mm. Last year, Japan maker Alps rolled out a 0.7mm-high slide switch, which is said to be the thinnest in the world.

SMD kinds dominate output at present, accounting for 50 to 70 percent of China's overall yield. Because it can easily be soldered, the variant is commonly employed in terminal devices.

Shenzhen Zhenghe Electronic Co. Ltd's model SS-1300AP SMD slide switch is used in audio devices and other gadgets. It has 4VDC 0.3mA rating, 70mohm contact resistance and 150±100gf operating force.

As value added, suppliers offer illuminated and lock switches. They are also providing imprinted markings, wiping contacts and time-delay functions.

For rugged applications, buyers will find dust-, weather- and water-resistant units.

Companies likewise upgrade aesthetic attributes, rolling out versions that come with red, blue, orange or yellow cases or knobs.

Slide switches are widely used in mobile phones, digital cameras, office and medical equipment, and household appliances, thanks to their low cost but stable performance. The rising supply of devices with touch-panel operation is broadening the application base further. The component, typically placed on the side of the product, allows a more convenient control of volume and on/off functions.

Demand is forecast to gain more steam as the global output of touch panels rises. The worldwide yield value of the latter is forecast to reach $14 billion in 2016 at a CAGR of 18 percent in five years.

China constitutes 20 to 40 percent of the global slide switch supply. The country's export sales reached $420 million in 2010, while total turnout climbed by more than 10 percent amid a recovering world economy.

With this upturn expected to continue, businesses will raise production in the months ahead. To this end, they will purchase more equipment, including plastic injection, punching and linear cutting machines, and lifetime and quadratic testers.

Companies such as Yueqing Leye will increase workforce by 50 percent under efforts to expand yield.

Local players likewise offer related components such as tact, push-button, micro, boat and lever switches, connectors, phone jacks, motors and terminals.

Meanwhile, several makers, including Shenzhen Zhenghe, plan to boost exports to strengthen competitiveness in the international level. Dongguan Mingmei Electronic Fty has begun sending its switches abroad.

Enterprises are also taking part in overseas trade fairs to expand reach. Tone Parts attended the 2011 International CTIA Wireless conference in the US in March, and plans to participate in similar events this year.

There are about 100 manufacturers of slide switches in China. Most of them are located in the cities of Dongguan, Shenzhen and Yueqing in Guangdong and Zhejiang provinces.

Production is likewise carried out in Tianjin, and Jiangsu and Fujian provinces.

The maker pool also comprises joint ventures between local and foreign suppliers.

Electronic switch provider Gangyuan is a partnership between China and Singapore, while Miaosen Plastic in Dongguan is an affiliate of South Korea's S-Cera.

<b>Slide switch selections</b>

Products from China can be classified as vertical or horizontal based on the position of the knob or handle. The latter can be flushed or raised depending on the actuator type.
Dongguan Mingmei offers the SS series of vertical slide switches. The units deliver 30mohm contact and 100mohm insulation resistance and 500VAC withstand voltage for 1min. The maker's SK line comprises horizontal configurations.

Yueqing Leye provides the model LY-SK-09 vertical switch that can come with black or white knobs and a height of 2, 3, 4 or 7H.

Based on pole and throw configurations, buyers can find SPST, SPDT, DPST and DPDT versions. The first, which has two terminals, makes or breaks the connection of a single conductor in a branch circuit. SPDT kinds do so with any of the two other conductors. The latter, also called 3-way switches, comes with three terminals.

DPST types are equipped with four terminals that create or break the connection of two circuit conductors in one branch circuit.

DPDT varieties, meanwhile, cut the connection of two conductors to two separate circuits.

A normally open or NO slide switch has open or disconnected contacts in their unactuated or normal position. The contacts of normally closed or NC versions, on the other hand, are closed or connected under a similar state.

In terms of switch configuration, there are maintained- and momentary-contact units. The former consists of on/off, on/on, and 3-position center-off and no center-off types. Similar to light switches, the first features separate on and off operations. The latter function, meanwhile, may or may not work in 3-position versions.

NO, NC, alternate on/off, and 3-position momentary center-off and central-neutral variants comprise momentary-contact slide switches. Also called momentary on, the first has contacts that break the circuit when the switch is in its normal open state. Momentary off or NC kinds create a circuit in normal closed position.

Alternate on/off configurations operate when the first actuation triggers the slide switch and shuts it down in the second.

Three-position momentary versions feature a center position that may support an off or neutral function.

In terms of pins used, the selection from China constitutes SMD and DIP kinds.

Suppliers adopt other pin types, including gull-wing, through-hole, solder, screw and blade terminals, wire leads, and straight and right-angle side PC varieties.

Single- and double-row terminals are classified based on the materials used.

Enterprises make sure models conform to RoHS requirements. In line with this, they shun the use of hazardous materials such as lead, cadmium, mercury, hexavalent chromium, PBB and PBDE. Releases likewise undergo SGS tests.

Companies employ plastic, thermoplastic, heat-resistant resin and metal for slide switch bases and actuators, while handles and knobs are typically made of PPA.

The other raw materials are copper, phosphor bronze, stainless steel, AgCu clad and silver. These aresourced from local partners or foreign providers such as Sumitomo and DuPont.

Some suppliers, including Tone Parts, make their own equipment.

Slide switch quotes are forecast to jump by 5 to 10 percent as material costs increased more than 10 percent in previous months.

Manufacturers, however, said prices of China-made products are 20 to 30 percent lower than those of international brands.

<b>Hong Kong: Diverse selections spur slide switch segment</b>

Hong Kong's slide switch makers offer tactile, push, hook, leaf and toggle types that find application in home and industrial electronics products.

Models come in vertical, horizontal or bottom orientation, and standard or miniature size.

Slide switches in mainstream dimensions support a power rating of 50VDC 300 to 500mA or 250VAC 300mA. Miniature and submini varieties deliver 4 to 30VDC and 50 to 500mA. The latter is applied in SMDs, electronic toys, portable music players and gaming consoles. Models come in tape or reel packaging.

Hong Kong companies design switches in different pole and throw configurations from 1P1T to 1P8T and 8P5T. Most adopt 1P2T, 2P2T, 2P3T or 3P2T. Variants boast 30 to 70mohm maximum contact resistance, 60 to 250gf operating force and 10,000-cycle mechanical life span.

Some manufacturers develop special function versions with push and slide, spring return or lock features, while others incorporate ground terminals. They also accept custom orders.

Makers ensure products meet RoHS guidelines and other standards.

Metal, plastic and thermoplastic are the key materials. These are sourced from mainland China partners. Hong Kong suppliers may also obtain inputs from Japan, South Korea or Taiwan providers on request. Equipment and machines are imported.

The maker pool consists of industry veterans with decades of experience in the business. Yat Shun Mfg Co. Ltd has been producing slide and tactile switches since 1977. The supplier rolls out 750,000 switches daily in its factory in Dongguan, Guangdong province in the mainland. It also offers AC power sockets and related products.

More than 100 slide and miniature slide models constitute the selection of See-Plus Industrial Ltd. The enterprise also makes jacks and sockets as well.

Read the full report on <a href="">slide switches</a> at our <a href="">import export</a> business. Globalsources is a leading <a href="">B2B marketplace</a> 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: 21 September 2011, last updated 22 September 2011

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