Rise of the machines

Scarlet Ma

Machinery and Equipment Design

Award Winners

PC-3 Welding Machine by Year 2000

Lead Evaporating Air Conditioner and Instant Refrigerant Water Heater by Coolpoint Ventilation Equipment

Automatic COG Bonder NAB-110 by Frontier Precision System

Vpot-30 iPBX System by Connection Electronics

FOUR APPLIANCES that show a high degree of innovation, performance, technology application and environmental protection were presented with an award in the machinery and equipment design category at the 2006 Hong Kong Awards for Industries.

Vpot-30 iPBX System by Connection Electronics is one of the winners. The system combines voice over internet protocol (VoIP) technology and radio frequency identification (RFID) technology to create a cost-effective telephone system with innovative features for small and medium-sized enterprises.

The telephone systems used by most companies are separate from the internet system. VoIP combines the two to reduce set-up and maintenance costs and enable small businesses to build sophisticated voice applications with minimum cost.

With RFID integrated into the system, users can log in to IP phones anywhere in the world as an extension of the system in head office with an RFID Smart Card using the same extension number. Users can set up their station through internet browsers to forward incoming calls to a different destination.

Nobel Yip Hing-po, marketing director of Connection Electronics, said innovation meant taking risks and small companies could not afford the possibility of failure. The company minimised the cost of research by hiring mainland researchers.

While Hong Kong researchers come up with ideas and build the framework, they leave the development and practical implementations for mainland researchers to work on.

CoolPoint Ventilation Equipment's Lead Evaporating Air-Conditioner and Instant Refrigerant Water Heater are examples of bold ideas turned into reality.

Other than the traditional function of controlling the air temperature and humidity, the air-conditioner saves electricity by collecting and reusing the cold condensed water, which can then heat water to use in a bathroom or kitchen, by transferring the energy from the heat produced by the machine.

The air-conditioner can also filter and drain out harmful substances in the air such as petrol fumes, chemicals, particles, dust, pollen, bacteria and viruses, thus improving indoor air quality.

CoolPoint general manager Leung Hin-ting said the idea was generated when he realised that the mainland's electricity supply was unstable and that the electricity bill for an air-conditioner was more than most families living there could afford. He wanted to make an air-conditioner that used the minimum electricity but with a powerful cooling effect.

'Through research, we found that much energy was wasted using traditional air-conditioners. We tried to find ways to collect and make good use of the wasted energy,' Mr Leung said.

Year 2000 is a company that makes miniature electronic parts. A couple of years ago it started to develop a machine that could weld micro parts to serve the company's precise needs, director Leung Pak-ching said. The PC-3 Welding Machine was well received by other companies and impressed judges to award the company at the Hong Kong Awards for Industries.

The welding machine welds lead-free by using enameled wires. The machine has a sensing and alert system that ensures the quality of each welded joint and makes quality control much easier. Its specially designed micro-control unit with 10 built in memory spots provides instant switching between different product requirements. The machine also saves electricity.

Mr Leung said new workers spent months trying to master conventional soldering or welding machines. The firm's machine needed only three hours of training to do the same work.

Automatic COG Bonder NAB-110 by Frontier Precision System is another award-winning product. It is used in producing LCD modules. Chairman But Tim-fu said the technology was not new, but the company had improved the performance of the machine and it cost much less than its Japanese counterpart.

Certificate of Merit

Dekuma International (DKM-B10D Blow Moulding Machine)

Dophen Engineering Co (Dophen CNC Multiaxes Turn-Mill Centre)

Grand Tech Group (GTDeflash Water Jet Deflashing System)

Kee Tat Trading Co (Smart Eco Curtain)

Ngai Shing Development (NS-501 Automatic Cloth Spreader)

Ngai Shing Development (NS-8401 Automatic Shirt Armhole Press)

Pioneer Catering Equipment & Engineering (Ozone Water Dish Washer, commercial)

And the judges said:


Designed by Connection R&D Team

'This is a Vpot-30 iPBX System aimed at small and medium-sized enterprises which highlights seamless integration of RFID technology into system applications. This is the first system in the PBX world to offer VoIP and RFID technology integration. Other innovations include the use of hardware-less media processing by using a powerful, low cost-to-performance ratio server CPU, specialised telephony hardware and dedicated chipsets to eliminate complicated deployment and maintenance issues. The system also enables script-based call control, which greatly simplifies system design, feature upgrades and system software support.


Designed by Ng Wan-loong

'The PC-3 Welding Machine is a compact size, lead-free device capable of handling the welding needs of very fine wires ranging 0.025mm to 0.35mm. The product utilises the principle of high-temperature welding. A current flowing through the welding tip creates a spark to burn off the wire insulation, and then continues through the exposed wire and the metal base to weld the two together. Welding quality is assured by the patented pressure control mechanism and corresponding current recordings. The PC-3 can greatly reduce the training period of workers from weeks to just a few hours. On the environmental side, no chemical solvent and insulation removal is needed, which also saves costs and labour. The device enjoys low voltage (less than 2.5V) operations and low energy consumption.'


Designed by Frank Leung Hin-ting

'This is a three-in-one air conditioner and water heater combination to provide air cooling and heat up water for immediate consumption. Air-cooling happens in two stages. There is a pre-cooling stage based on the concept of 'induced evaporation'. Here the return air is sprayed with water droplets, releasing heat as the air passes through the moisture. The moisturised air then goes into the radiator to be cooled further. In this way, a higher coefficient of performance can be achieved in comparison with a conventional air conditioner. The combination of water heating and air cooling is useful in places such as a hair salon, restaurants and hotels.'


Designed by Au Tai-kung

'The Automatic COB NAB-110 has an integrated 3D precision IC pre-bond head with positioning accuracy better than three microns within 50milliseconds. The high accuracy is the result of using higher resolution CCD (300k pixel) in the vision system and enhanced PID temperature control method (plus/minus one degree Celsius) with multipoint real time temperature monitoring. It can be used for bonding products as small as 20 microns at a cycle time of 10 seconds.'