The Indian plug and socket market is booming with proportion to the growth of consumer electronics, computer and telecom products. “This market is growing at a rate of 15 per cent per annum and is directly proportional to the growth of consumer electronics, computer and telecom products,” says Vimal Chand, managing director, Flat Cables and Allied Products. The consumption of plugs and sockets used in the electrical industry far exceeds the consumption from the electronics industry.
By: Jesus Milton Rousseau S.
Friday, March 20, 200: Plugs and sockets are also used in testing and measuring instruments, analytical instruments, educational instruments, training instruments, medical instruments, defence and aviation instruments, etc. “The market would grow if the Indian manufacturers become more aware of the benefits of using high quality plugs and sockets in their instruments,” says S K Ajay Ghosh, proprietor, Sai Systems. Chand further adds, “As far as the plugs are concerned maximum growth is in the consumer electronics industry.”
Less quality products
As far as plugs and sockets for the electronics industry is concerned, there are very few manufacturers making quality products in India given the price competition from their Chinese counterparts. “Most of the Indian manufacturers cannot even afford to use extrusion brass rods. Therefore, 90 per cent of these manufacturers use casting rods acquired from foundries that use raw material from scrap yards at Jamnagar. This leads to very low quality electrical and mechanical characteristics of these plugs and sockets, which in turn, affect the performance of the instruments in which these inferior quality plugs and sockets are used,” adds Ghosh.
Other factors include lack of technology and automation, basic infrastructure, highly fluctuated raw material rate, etc, which makes Indian manufacturers difficult to compete with the manufacturers of China, Taiwan and other countries, says Kirit Budh, director, Weltech Electronics.
The latest trends in the plugs and sockets field are aesthetics, safety aspects and elimination of soldering process. Over the past few years, irrespective of the quality, the aesthetics of the plugs and sockets made in India has vastly improved. Currently, the focus is on the safety aspects of the plugs and sockets, the benefits of the same goes to the end users in different verticals. The latest products introduced are shrouded plugs and sockets. These ensure maximum safety to the instruments as well as the users. “The shrouded plugs and sockets (safety plugs and sockets) are approved by many educational instruments manufacturers and test and measurement instruments manufacturers globally since 2002,” adds Ghosh.
Generally, the plugs are designed and developed as per the customer’s specifications. The main design change in the field of plugs is the elimination of the soldering process, which has been converted into using crimpable pins that results in a better contact between the cable and pins. “As per the international norms, companies develop environmental-friendly plugs that are reduction of hazardous substances (RoHS) compliant,” says Chand.
Emphasis on safety aspect
Buyers and users should give greater emphasis to the safety aspects of plugs and sockets over the price. Ghosh cautions against using components made from non-ferrous metals having low resistance characteristics that are moisture free and RoHS compliant and are made in clean room setups. The safety of the end user directly co-relates to the raw material used in the insulation part of the plug and socket. If the raw materials used are low quality insulations that are acquired from factories using recycled plastics, then the low insulation quality can highly endanger the safety of the end user and also the life of the instrument.
Chand adds, “Always buy properly rated plugs for your appliances or equipments. Overloaded plugs can cause serious accidents.” Says Budh, “In today’s scenario of global competition, it is unwise to pay too much but it is worse to pay too little. When you pay too much, you lose a little money that’s all. But when you pay too little, you sometimes lose everything because the plugs and sockets you buy will be incapable of making proper connection.”
Electronics Bazaar, South Asia’s No.1 Electronics B2B magazine