How to buy industrial socket and plug from China?

China is now the largest country in the world to manufacture and supplier of industrial sockets and industrial plugs.

In China nationwide, most of the industrial socket and plug suppliers are in Zhejiang province. As a well known international trading hub, more and more foreign clients are visiting Zhejiang and buy these products.

To choose your favorite supplier can be difficult, because of two issues: first, the quality can be different, second, China has its own industrial standard for this product, which can be slightly different from the standard in the client’s country.

But if you know the following 5 things, you will save a lot of time and energy before visiting Chinese factories.

  1. The standards

For industrial socket and plug, there are more than 1 standards, such as the IEC60309 (ceeform) standard which is made by the EU; the Chinese GB standard, the American UL standard.

the main international standards for industrial socket and plug: IEC, UL, GB
IEC, GB and UL standard 

Based on these different standards, there are different specifications. The current specification is a typical example.

For IEC and Chinese GB standards, the industrial socket and plug have 16a, 32a, 63a, and 125a.

For the American UL standard, there are 20a, 30a, 60a, 100a.

Despite the different numbers, they can be compatible. The 16a, 32a, 63a, and 125a products from IEC and GB standard are compatible with 20a, 30a, 60a, and 100a products respectively from the American UL standard.

  1. The color and voltage

For clients who are buying for the first time, you may be confused by the colors. However, unlike any other products, the colors of industrial socket and plug are seriously regulated.

industrial socket and plug has many color choices, like red, blue, yellow, etc
colors of the industrial socket and plug

According to the international standard, the blue color refers to the product of 230v; the red color refers to the product of 400v, the white color refers to the product of below 50v (the super low voltage); the purple refers to the product of 20v; the black refers to the product used in the entertainment industry.

  1. The poles

The industrial socket and plug have many poles configurations. The pole configuration decides the number of pins of industrial plug and socket. At least you should know the 3 most sold types.

3P (2P+E): this is known as 3 poles or single phase;

4P (3P+E): this is 4 poles or 3 phase;

5P (3P+N+E): this is 5 poles or 3 phase;

Note that 4p and 5p are both 3 phase industrial socket or plug.

  1. The earth position

If you read the specifications of a product, you can find values like 4h, 6h, or 12h. This is called the earth position.

The h means hour. If you look at a clock, 4h means just exactly 4:00 position where the pointer points.

In the industrial socket and plug field, a clock map is used to define the earth pin position.

a clock map that defines the position of earth pin for an industrial plug or socket
the clock map

For example, according to the international standard, if the earth position is at 3h, these plugs and sockets can only be used for ships, cargo, wharf, or container.

  1. Waterproof ratings

Chances are you may need the industrial socket and plug work in an extreme environment where the ordinary products are not competent.

What you need is a waterproof socket and plug. The waterproof products are actually waterproof and dust resistant.

IP44 and IP67 are the main products of this kind.

The two numbers after “IP” refers to the degree of how the product is dustproof and waterproof. For more information about the waterproof industrial socket and plug, please check this article.


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