New models incorporate IR technology, speech functions and large LCDs.
This IR thermometer from Anionte saves the last 10 measurements.
The latest electronic clinical thermometers from China suppliers reflect efforts to raise convenience during use.
In the IR category, makers are increasing output of models that check forehead temperature. Products utilizing the less invasive method come in contact and contactless configurations, with a number of units suitable for ears as well. Timekeeping and ambient temperature measurement capability may be built in.
Suppliers such as Famidoc Technology Co. Ltd are installing speech function in select versions. One model boasts three language options. This raises prices by 50 percent. The maker also offers IR thermometers that store the last 19 readings, or nine more than typical releases. In addition, it has items that stand vertically or horizontally in specially designed racks or holders for easier storage.
In the regular category, which encompasses models lacking IR functionality, China suppliers are raising convenience via better ergonomics. To increase suitability for older users, some products are fitted with LCDs 30 to 50 percent larger than the standard 15x17mm screens. Most units sport thick handles instead of the usual flat types. At Hangzhou Huaan Medical & Health Instruments Co. Ltd, the common 20x7mm displays will be enlarged by 50 percent at the end of 2011.
Output of nipple-type versions for baby utilization is being augmented by alternatives that have cartoon ends. These come in elephant, lion, frog, rabbit, panda, pig, duck and other animal contours. Prices are $0.10 to $0.20 higher than regular designs.
Famidoc has released a multifunction RF unit consisting of a base station and two strap-equipped detachable satellites. The latter are attached to the forehead or underarm to check the temperature, and the diaper to read moisture level. The wireless transmission range is 50m.
Further, many of the latest regular models have rapid temperature sensors. Such parts enable measuring times of 10 to 30s and 90s for the pen and nipple types, respectively.
These represent significant reductions from previous iterations, in which pen products required 55s via rectum, 60s through oral and 100s for underarm reading. Meanwhile, older items in nipple configurations needed an average of 120s.
Hangzhou Huaan, Hangzhou Sejoy Electronics & Instruments Co. Ltd and Shanghai Xuerui Imp. & Exp. Co. Ltd are among the companies that offer rapid-measurement clinical versions without IR.
While the standard reading accuracy for electronic clinical thermometers is 0.1 C, buyers will find more 0.01 C units intendedfor reading women’s basal body temperature. The feature raises prices by 10 to 30 percent.
Responding to demand for solar-powered models, suppliers such as Babyly Medical Device Co. Ltd are adding PV panels to select non-IR releases. This makes designs about $1 more expensive.
Electronic clinical thermometers from China display results in Celsius or Fahrenheit. The accuracy is typically within 0.1 C or F. The tolerance is ±0.1 C or ±0.2 F for non-IR models in a standard range of 32 to 42 C or 89.6 to 107.6 F. IR versions, on the other hand, have a tolerance of ±0.2 C or ±0.4 F and read 34 to 44 C or 93.2 to 111.2 F.
Regardless of the employed technology, dual displays are incorporated. Auto shut-off and audible alert functionality are standard. The latter is used to signify both measurement end and fever, although some units generate a different tone when the detected temperature is higher than normal.
Products have ABS housings. At Shanghai Xuerui, translucent plastic items come in red, blue and yellow. Further, makers such as Hangzhou Sejoy offer designs with anti-bacterial plastic enclosures that carry a 40 percent premium. Nipple-type releases are in silicone.
Pen versions, which are suitable for oral, underarm and rectal utilization, are in hard- and soft-head constructions. The latter are made of silicone or TPE, and are detachable from the ABS handle. They increase quotes by $0.20. Water resistance raises prices 5 to 8 percent.
The majority of pen-type clinical thermometers have colored ends that, in soft-head alternatives, are intended to contrast the white handles for visual appeal. Translucent units, however, generally come in a single hue.
Select products incorporate wave-contoured side handles to increase grip and reduce slippage. Nipple models are usually colored or patterned and in a butterfly shape. One of Famidoc’s items has a conch design and a corrugated surface.
The LCDs of most releases show only the measured temperature, although some have low-battery indication and backlights. For batteries, 1.5V button cells dominate use. These are typical in the LR-41 or SR-41 type, but a few versions employ the AAA alternative.
Regular thermometers are priced between $0.60 and $1 while IR-equipped units are from $6 to $8.
For China’s manufacturers of the line, the EU and the US are the key markets. At select companies, a portion of exports is dedicated to Central and South America, Russia and the Middle East. CE, RoHS and FDA compliance is common, with the last necessary for oral, underarm and rectal models.
Despite the upward trend in material and labor costs, and the strengthening of the yuan, quotes are basically stable. This is primarily because outlay for plastic accounts for only 10 percent of the total expenditure per item. The industry is also relatively mature, with technological advancements reducing production spending.
Further, a few suppliers are actively trying to control expenses. Hangzhou Huaan increased automation in its factories by end-2010, raising efficiency by 30 percent.
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