1. A quick overview of the structure of electronic cigarettes
Before sorting out the distribution of the e-cigarette supply chain, let’s take a look at what the e-cigarette structure looks like.
There are many types of e-cigarettes, such as disposable, bomb-changing, open, vaping, etc., but no matter what kind of e-cigarettes, they are inseparable from three major components: atomization components, electronic components, and structural components.
●Atomization components: mainly atomizing cores, oil storage cotton, etc., which play the role of atomizing and storing e-liquid;
●Electronic components: including batteries, microphones, program boards, etc., providing power, controlling power, temperature, automatic switching and other functions;
●Structural components: mainly the shell, but also includes thimble connectors, battery holders, sealing silicone, filters, etc.
In the supply chain of electronic cigarettes, in addition to the suppliers of the three major components, there are also important components such as equipment and supporting services, which will be expanded one by one below.
2. Atomization components
Atomization components are mainly various types of atomization cores (ceramic cores, cotton cores), heating wires, oil guide cotton, oil storage cotton, etc.
1. Coil coil
Among them, the composition of the atomizing core is heat-generating metal + oil-conducting material. Because the current electronic cigarette is mainly based on resistance heating, it is inseparable from heating metals such as iron chromium, nickel chromium, titanium, 316L stainless steel, palladium silver, tungsten alloy, etc., which can be made into heating wire, porous mesh, thick film printed metal film , PVD coating and other forms.
From a microscopic perspective, e-liquid is heated on a heating metal, and then changes from a liquid state to a gaseous state. The macroscopic performance is the process of atomization.
In practical applications, heating metals often need to cooperate with oil-conducting materials, such as oil-conducting cotton, porous ceramic substrates, etc., and combine them by winding, embedding, and tiling. Metal, which facilitates rapid atomization of e-liquid.
In terms of types, there are two types of atomizing cores: cotton cores and ceramic cores. Cotton cores include heating wire wrapping cotton, etched mesh wrapping cotton, etc. Ceramic cores include buried wire ceramic cores, mesh ceramic cores, and thick film printed ceramic cores. wait. In addition, HNB heating element has sheet, needle, cylinder and other types.
2. Oil storage cotton
Oil storage cotton, as the name suggests, plays the role of storing e-liquid. Its application greatly improves the experience of using disposable electronic cigarettes, focusing on solving the serious problem of oil leakage in early disposable electronic cigarettes, and greatly increasing the number of puffs.
Oil storage cotton has risen following the outbreak of the disposable electronic cigarette market, but it does not stop at oil storage. It also has a lot of market space in the application of filters.
In terms of technology, oil storage cotton is generally prepared by extruding fibers, hot-melt entanglement and other processes. In terms of materials, PP and PET fibers are commonly used. Individuals that require high temperature resistance use PA fibers or even PI.
3. Electronic components
Electronic components include batteries, microphones, solution boards, etc., and further include display screens, chips, PCB boards, fuses, thermistors, etc.
The battery determines the service life of the electronic cigarette, and how long the electronic cigarette can last depends on the battery capacity. Electronic cigarette batteries are divided into soft packs and hard shells, cylindrical and square, and when combined, there are cylindrical soft pack batteries, square soft pack batteries, cylindrical steel shell batteries and other types.
There are three types of positive electrode materials for e-cigarette batteries: pure cobalt series, ternary series, and a mixture of the two series.
The mainstream material in the market is mainly pure cobalt, which has the advantages of high discharge voltage platform, large rate discharge, and high energy density. The voltage platform of pure cobalt is between 3.4-3.9V, and the discharge platform of ternary is mainly 3.6-3.7V. There are also high requirements for the discharge rate, with a discharge rate of 8-10C, such as 13350 and 13400 models, to achieve a continuous discharge capacity of 3A.
2. Microphone, program board
Microphones are currently the mainstream starting components of electronic cigarettes. Electronic cigarettes can simulate the traditional smoking process, which is inseparable from the credits of microphones.
At present, electronic cigarette microphones generally refer to the combination of capacitive microphones and chips, which are installed on the program board and connected to heating wires and batteries through wires to play functions such as intelligent start, charge and discharge management, status indication, and output power management. In terms of type, the microphone has a tendency to develop from electret to silicon microphone.
The solution board is to integrate various electronic components on the PCB, such as microphones, display screens, MCUs, microphones, fuses, MOS tubes, thermistors, etc. The board production process includes wire bonding, SMT, etc.
3. Display, fuse, thermistor, etc.
The display screen was first applied to large vape products to display power, battery, and even develop interactive gameplay. Later, it was applied to a few bomb-changing products. The current application hotspot is disposable pod vapes, with a certain head brand The explosive model of the product is the starting point, and the industry has followed up one after another. It is mainly used to display the amount of fuel and power.
It is reported that the fuse is about to enter the market, and the US market has mandatory requirements to prevent risks such as short circuit and explosion during the use of e-cigarettes. Some foreigners like to disassemble disposable e-cigarettes, refill and charge them. This refill process requires a fuse to protect foreigners.
4. Structural components
Structural components include casing, oil tank, battery bracket, sealing silicone, spring thimble, magnet and other components.
1. Shell (plastic, aluminum alloy)
No matter what kind of electronic cigarette or HNB heater, it is inseparable from the shell. As the saying goes, people depend on clothes, and products depend on shells. Whether consumers choose you or not, whether the appearance is good or not plays a very important role.
The shell material of different products will have some differences. For example, disposable electronic cigarettes are mainly made of plastic shells, and the materials are PC and ABS. The common processes include ordinary injection molding + spray paint (gradient color/single color), as well as flow pattern, two-color injection molding, sprinkled spots, and spray-free coating.
Of course, disposable e-cigarettes also have a solution of using aluminum alloy shell + hand-feeling paint, and in order to provide a better hand-feel, most of the reloading type is made of aluminum alloy. The shell of the class.
Of course, the shell is not all made of a single material, it can be combined and used, as long as it looks good. For example, a certain brand of crystal disposable e-cigarettes that counterattacked in the UK uses a PC transparent shell to create a crystal clear texture, and anodized aluminum alloy tubes with gradient colors are used inside to complement rich colors.
In the surface treatment process, oil spraying (painting) is more common. In addition, there are direct stickers, skinning, IML, anodizing, etc.
2. Oil tank, battery bracket, base and other plastic parts
In addition to the shell, electronic cigarettes also have oil tanks, battery brackets, bases and other components. The materials are PCTG (commonly used in oil tanks), PC/ABS, PEEK (commonly used in HNB heaters), PBT, PP, etc., which are basically injection molded parts. Alloy pieces are rare.
3. Sealing silicone
The use of sealed silica gel in electronic cigarettes is mainly to prevent oil leakage, and at the same time make the structure of electronic cigarettes more compact and compact. Application parts such as mouthpiece cover, airway plug, oil tank base, microphone base, pod cartridge seal ring for pod-changing products, seal ring for large vaping core, etc.
4. Pogo pins, magnets
Spring thimbles, also known as Pogo pins, pogo pin connectors, charging pin connectors, probe connectors, etc., are mainly used in bomb changers, CBD atomizers, heavy smoke products, and HNB heaters, because these types The atomization structure is separated from the battery rod, so it needs a thimble to connect, and it is usually used with a magnet.
Equipment runs through the entire industrial chain. As long as there is a place for processing, there will be equipment, such as oiling machines, cartoning machines, laminating machines, laser equipment, CCD optical machines, automatic testing machines, automatic assembly, etc. There are common ones in the market. Models, there are also non-standard custom-developed models.
6. Supporting services
Among the supporting services, it mainly refers to logistics, financial account opening, agency certification, testing and certification, etc.
To export e-cigarettes, logistics is inseparable. It is reported that there are more than 20 companies specializing in e-cigarette logistics in Shenzhen, and the competition is very fierce. In the area of customs clearance, there is also a lot of knowledge hidden. For example, double-clearance and tax package, as well as gray customs transportation, e-cigarette special line transportation in various countries
2. Financial account opening
The scope of finance is very large. In order to avoid misunderstanding, the emphasis here refers to the account opening, which is mainly participated by banks. According to incomplete understanding, at present, many overseas e-cigarette account holders have turned to HSBC; and the domestic Tobacco Administration’s business cooperation banks are China Merchants Bank and China Everbright; in addition, some banks with unique service products are also looking for The e-cigarette market, such as Bank of Ningbo, is known to have a system that can track overseas capital movements in real time.
3. Acting as an agent
It is easy to understand that in order to start production in China, a license is required, and there will be some specialized consulting agencies in this area. At the same time, in some overseas countries and regions, there will be similar policy requirements. For example, Indonesia also has certificate requirements. Similarly, there are also some specialized agencies for certificate handling.
4. Testing and certification
For testing and certification, such as exporting to Europe, there will be some TPD certification and the like, and different countries and regions will have some certification requirements, which requires some professional testing and certification agencies to provide services.
The above is the combing of the electronic cigarette supply chain. It can be seen that behind the small electronic cigarette is a huge and complicated industrial system. The space is limited, and every part cannot be introduced in great detail. More e-cigarette supply chain resources