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New applications drive R&D efforts in terminal blocks

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Wire protector terminal block

This terminal block from Shenzhen Natconn boasts a 3.5 to 7.62mm pitch and delivers up to 2kV withstand voltage.

Suppliers are boosting product development to penetrate the wind and solar power sector while maintaining foothold in traditional markets.

Manufacturers of terminal blocks in China are directing R&D activities toward feature enhancements as the line’s broadening user base covers new applications. Development efforts are particularly aimed at enabling anti-vibration and -EMI, and improving operating temperature to meet requirements in wind and solar power devices, which are regarded as key growth areas. Demand from these fields is projected to climb by more than 20 percent YoY in the next few years. Global wind power capacity reached 199,520MW as of end-2010, according to the China Investment Council. New installations in China generated 18,928MW, constituting 48 percent of the world total. This pushed the country’s installed capacity to beyond 40,000MW, overtaking the US as the global top market for the alternative energy source. Industry watchers expect the value to hit 90,000MW by end-2015.

Suppliers are likewise working on units with elevated pitch, reliability and precision under efforts to cater to strict specifications. Environment-friendly features are also emphasized.

At present, most enterprises concentrate on the low end and midrange. Only a few offer upscale terminal blocks such as surface-mount and micro high-speed types due to limited R&D capability.

China currently accounts for more than 15 percent of global supply in this line. Strong demand pushed up total sales to $4 billion in 2010 from $3.1 billion in 2008, according to the China Electronic Components Association. Although manufacturers project this year’s revenue will remain flat given the steep raw material costs, they are optimistic of higher margins in 2012 on the back of robust orders from the electronics sector. Exports are estimated to climb 5 to 10 percent in the next two years.

Ruiher Electronic & Electric Co. expects better sales by year-end after a 10 percent drop in 2010.

Besides new applications, growth in the line will be fueled by continued demand from computers, electronic devices, and telecom and transportation systems, which are the category’s major traditional adopters.

China makers send more than 60 percent of output overseas, with Europe, the US and the Asia-Pacific region absorbing 70 percent of the deliveries. OEM and ODM orders represent 80 percent of turnout and can even account for other companies’ entire yield.

There are about 600 manufacturers of terminal blocks in China. The main production hubs are Zhejiang and Jiangsu provinces, which host more than 40 percent of suppliers. Other enterprises are located in the Pearl River and Yangtze River Delta regions.

The key players include Chengdu Reliance, Shanghai Upun and Ningbo Supu. Foreign companies such as Amp, Amphenol, Berg and Molex have also set up operations in the country to take advantage of low costs.

Euro, pluggable terminal blocks

Terminal blocks from China are available in Euro, pluggable, spring and barrier configurations. The first two are the mainstream, making up more than 70 percent of total output.

Selections likewise include DIN-rail, optocoupler and through-wall kinds.

All releases comply with RoHS, IEC, VDE, UL, CE, CSA and JIS guidelines.

Suppliers adopt UL94V-0-rated PBT, nylon 66 and LCP for the housing. The pin headers, screws and springs are typically made of brass and come with tin or zinc plating, and the wire guard uses phosphor bronze with nickel plating or stainless steel. The materials are sourced from local enterprises.

The cost of inputs increased by more than 30 percent in the past year, and this is expected to continue in the months ahead.

As a result, companies such as Ruiher have raised prices by 10 to 20 percent to deal with mounting outlay. The maker, however, plans to keep quotes stable in coming months to attract orders.

Product gallery

Wire protector terminal block

Access Electronic Co. Ltd
(mainland China)

Model: 2EDCKF
MOQ: Negotiable
Delivery: 10 days
Description: Steel, zinc-plated screw; brass pin header; UL94V-0-rated nylon 66 housing; 12 to 28AWG; 300V rated, 1,500V withstand voltage; 15A rated current; 20mohm contact, 5,000Mohm insulation resistance; -40 to 105 C operating temperature

Wire protector terminal block

Chengdu Reliance Electric Co. Ltd
(mainland China)

Model: Copper Terminal Block
Description: M2, copper screw; copper clamping yoke; red copper current bar; nylon 66 insulator; 500V rated, 6kV rated impulse voltage; 17.5A rated current; 0.22 to 0.25N•m tightening torque; 1.5sqmm cross-section; 7mm insulation stripping length; 42.5x4.2x42mm; in gray, blue

Wire protector terminal block

Hangzhou Beisit Electric Co. Ltd
(mainland China)

Model: 6A-6mm2
Description: PE, PP, nylon; brass insert; 1 to 12 poles; 3 to 100A rated current; -40 to 110 C operating temperature; in natural, black

Wire protector terminal block

Keifo Machinery & Electronics Co. Ltd
(mainland China)

Model: KF250A-2.5
Delivery: 7 days
Description: Brass, tin-plated pin header; UL94V-0-rated nylon 66 housing; 16 to 22AWG; 250V rated, 1,500VAC/min withstand voltage; 8A rated current; 20mohm contact, 5,000mohm insulation resistance at 1,000V; -40 to 120 C operating temperature

Wire protector terminal block

Ruiher Electronic & Electric Co. Ltd
(mainland China)

Model: RHD-JXH
MOQ: Negotiable
Delivery: 10 days
Description: Brass, iron; four, eight, 12 poles; 5, 6, 8, 10A current; in green

Wire protector terminal block

Switchtech Enterprise Ltd

Model: SP475/478
Description: Spring-cage clamp,
snap-in mounting feet; two to 24 female connectors; nylon; 4kV rated, impulse withstand voltage; 16A rated current; 8 to 9/0.33mm insulation stripping length; 0.2 to 2.5sqmm wire range

Wire protector terminal block

Welink Electronic Technology Co. Ltd
(mainland China)

Model: F75-5-5.0/5.08
Description: Copper alloy contact; chromium-plated steel terminal screws; stainless steel wire guard; tin-plated solder tail; UL94V-0-rated nylon housing; 12 to 26AWG; 5mm pitch; two to 24 poles; 300V rated, 1,500VAC/1min withstand voltage voltage; 15A rated current; 20mohm contact, 5,000Mohm insulation resistance; UL

Note: All price quotes in this report are in US dollars unless otherwise specified. FOB prices were provided by the companies interviewed only as reference prices at the time of interview and may have changed.

Disclaimer: All product images are provided by the companies interviewed and are for reference purposes only. Those product images featuring products with trademarks, brand names or logos are not intended for sale. We, our affiliates, and our affiliates' respective directors, officers, employees, representatives, agents or contractors, do not accept and will not have any responsibility or liability for product images (or any part thereof) which infringe on any intellectual property or other rights of a third party.

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