Filling a niche for quality actuators BELTON TECHNOLOGY HOLDINGS LTD rose from humble factory to global source thanks to its unique vertical integration and quality-driven manufacturing processes.

Chan Kok Yin Catherine, General Manager, Corporate Business Development.

The Belton company was founded in 1988. Back then the HDD (Hard Disk Drive) industry was experiencing exponential growth in the Asia region and there were more than 200 companies manufacturing HDDs. Back then there was a severe shortage of suppliers for key components and the founding members of Belton, saw this as window of opportunity to start up a company to manufacturing coils,” says Chan Kok Yin Catherine, General Manager, corporate business development.

A small factory located in Tsing Yi was set-up to manufacture coils and coil assemblies which was a critical component for the HDD actuator. The Belton company logo today is a graphical picture of a coil, reflecting the humble beginnings of the company.

Strategic Initiative

Belton has positioned itself to be the customer’s supplier of choice by providing good product quality, on time delivery and ease of doing business, says Chan, adding that today Belton ships averagely 3.5 to 4.0 million high precision actuators a week to the customer’s factories in China, Thailand, Malaysia and Philippines.

“This volume exceeds the total volume shipment of the next 4 competitors combined. Belton is the only HDD actuator supplier with strategic relationship with all HDD manufacturers today. This relationship provides Belton with visibility of overall product demand situation of each customer enabling loading flexibility and planning efficiency at Belton factories. Also importantly, Belton has early engagement with all customers in New Product Introduction (NPI) phase.”

Over the last 29 years, Belton’s has established itself to be a world-class high volume and high precision component supplier to the HDD markets place. However as precision component manufacturing is no longer a focus sector for the Hong Kong market, Belton is in the process of expanding its manufacturing footprint to Thailand, though it will continue to have its corporate office remain in Hong Kong.

China Strides

“The China market grew strongly during the period of 1990 to 2010 with major HDD manufacturers such as Seagate, Hitachi, Samsung, Toshiba etc all establishing new manufacturing sites and factories in North and Southern China. This bore well for Belton, as the coil products that were manufactured at the factory in Tsing Yi Hong Kong, quickly ran out of capacity and the customers were requesting Belton to expand bigger capacity to support their growth projections. It was this push that Belton ventured into Southern China to establish a new 21,000 Sq metre factory site in Xiufeng (秀峰) in 1991,” says Chan.

“By 2000-2005, as HDD technology matured, the HDD industry moved into a cycle of consolidation with customers channeling their focus on reducing cost and outsourcing labor intensive operations out to suppliers.

“Belton benefited from this cycle as key HDD players continued to ramp up their shipment volume, forcing their competition to exit the market and this time with the support of customers, Belton Thailand operation started in 2000 and Belton Wuxi, China commenced operation in 2003 providing complete Actuator-Pivot-Flex-Assembly (APFA) solution to the customers. Belton China also established a new 135,000 sqm factory site in Bantian 坂田 in 2002 as demand for more capacity continued to grow.”

Regional Footprint

As the economic landscape of the China is changing, with raising wages and government policies focusing on high-tech manufacturing such as semiconductors and robotic; Belton remains committed to maintaining manufacturing presence in China, significant expansion opportunities in region such as Philippines and Thailand are projected as these countries offer lower cost manufacturing option to China. Belton already has factory presence in these countries.

“Our continuous drive towards excellence is vital. We aim to remain best-in-class, be proactive always and constantly show continuous improvement and leadership.”

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