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In the World of Big Stuff, the US Still Rules

Soulskill posted about a year and a half ago | from the particularly-our-food-and-religious-symbols dept.

United States 184

westlake writes "From Peoria, the WSJ a look at the giant trucks manufactured by Komatsu and Caterpillar. 'In certain areas — notably aircraft, industrial engines, excavators and railway and mining equipment — the U.S. exports far more than it imports. These industries produce relatively small numbers of very expensive goods, requiring specialized technology and labor. Their competitive advantage rests partly on expertise built by U.S. companies in making durable, high-tech weaponry and other equipment for the military — frequently applicable to other products.' It may surprise you to learn that Komatsu doesn't employee a single industrial robot. The quality of workmanship simply isn't there where it is needed."

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184 comments

Frosty piss (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42187905)

first

Please, someone, please explain this to me ... (0)

Taco Cowboy (5327) | about a year and a half ago | (#42188165)

...I know that English ain't my first language, but still ...

Komatsu doesn't employee a single industrial robot

Re:Please, someone, please explain this to me ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42188581)

Someone wrote something - like

"John Smith, an employee at Komatsu, noted that his company doesn't use a single industrial robot..."

which was edited later to read

"A Komatsu employee noted that the company doesn't use a single industrial robot..."

and later, to

"Komatsu doesn't employee a single industrial robot."

And since 'employee' wasn't caught by the spell checker, the error went thru to press.

Re:Please, someone, please explain this to me ... (1)

slashmydots (2189826) | about a year and a half ago | (#42188677)

Simple, robots are not considered employees lol.

Re:Please, someone, please explain this to me ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42189153)

The best part is that the DO use tons of robots since there subcontractors do. They just don't use any robots inte the last stage of assembly... but I guess it sounds better if you pretend no pick and place, CNC or general assebly robot was used anywhere in the process.

surely, you're joking (5, Interesting)

ThorGod (456163) | about a year and a half ago | (#42187915)

Look, we're still in the days of "It's best if it says Made in USA" on it. I've witnessed it, anecdotally *all the way*, first-hand. I've got two thermal temperature probes. One clearly says "Made in the USA" on it and works like a DREAM. Even has a ton of memory and sensor options. Then there's the cheapo version I got for way less, DOESN'T say "Made in the USA" on it - and it's CRAP. Sure, the non-US version works...after you let the LCD "warm up" for 2 minutes! There's also no such thing as memory on it nor sensor options...You get what you pay for and to get merch from the US still requires you pay top dollar.

Don't confuse cheap for quality. Plenty of things are better made, here, in the US. You just have to not be a cheapo.

Re:surely, you're joking (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42187977)

Cool anecdote. I have one, too. My friend owns a plumbing supply business. Been in the family for 80 years. I was asking about USA vs China recently and he said that at first, the Chinese stuff was terrible. Now, the Chinese-made fittings are routinely better than the US-made stuff and cheaper to boot.

Re:surely, you're joking (5, Interesting)

pz (113803) | about a year and a half ago | (#42188027)

Same thing happened with Made in Japan: decades ago, you were better off saving your pennies for good old American stuff because the Japanese equivalents were horrible. Nissan's first imports to the US (when they were known as Datsun) were a joke. So were Honda's. But now, the Japanese imported goods are top-notch and deserving of hard-earned respect. Korean goods followed the same path. Taiwanese, to a certain extent, although they don't seem to have fully realized their potential, yet. Chinese goods are just starting to get better as they, as a country, learn manufacturing. Given that they have vast resources to throw at the problem, I fully expect Made in China to, within a decade or so, mean something is quality goods, and we'll be looking to Made in Viet Nam, Made in Thailand, Made in North Korea, or Made in Kazahkstan with derision.

Re:surely, you're joking (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42188081)

The price and the quality generally correlate. By the time "Made in China" means something more like "Made in Japan", those goods will cost a lot more. And yes, we'll have moved on to manufacturing elsewhere for Walmart Grade goods.

To add to the summary, we're also pretty masterful at leveraging foreign manufacturing resources.

Re:surely, you're joking (2)

fredprado (2569351) | about a year and a half ago | (#42188357)

Not necessarily. Although their prices will certainly increases chances are they will pull the price down far more than their price will be pushed up.

"Made in China" is certainly making inroads (2)

Taco Cowboy (5327) | about a year and a half ago | (#42188851)

The link is at http://www.theajmonline.com.au/mining_news/news/2012/july/july-12-2012/rio-partners-chinese-truck-supplier-threatens-oem-stranglehold [theajmonline.com.au]

Although it's only 4 trucks at the moment, and the 4 trucks are on "trial runs", nonetheless, it's a start for "Made in China" to make inroads to the BIG EQUIPMENT industry.

Re:surely, you're joking (2)

Lonewolf666 (259450) | about a year and a half ago | (#42189639)

The price and the quality generally correlate.

Unfortunately, that is only half true. There is generally a minimum price for decent quality, but you can also pay lots of money for crap ;-)

Re:surely, you're joking (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42188087)

Maybe that was true for Japanese cars, but never for cameras or electronics.

Re:surely, you're joking (3, Insightful)

Buminatrain (1737926) | about a year and a half ago | (#42188291)

It's not for cars/vehicles either. Honda's first ten years or so they imported only motorcycles, they managed to gain a foothold here due to their reliability and high quality, the early Honda bikes are all still sought after and fairly expensive. Most of the Japanese car makers had early struggles to gain acceptance due to the reputation Japan gained immediately after WWII as being an exporter of cheap/poor quality goods as it was trying to rebuild it's economy. Also the fact that the culture of Japanese car design was very different from the US's at the time... As big as possible with as much horsepower as possible compared to lightweight efficient simple designs. The quality of Japanese motors/cars was never an issue, it was just perception and creating a market for a different type of vehicle which hindered their early reputation..

Re:surely, you're joking (3, Informative)

cheesybagel (670288) | about a year and a half ago | (#42188673)

The 70s oil crisis helped. Suddenly cars with low fuel consumption became much more appealing. This is also why NSU, makers of Wankel engine cars, went under.

WRONG (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42189427)

NSU survives in Audi/VW and they seem to do extremely well. VW is now battling with Toyota for the #1 spot.

Re:WRONG (2)

Sique (173459) | about a year and a half ago | (#42189583)

There is no NSU anymore in Volkswagen. None of their car lines survived after 1977. The only car that ever was build with a different badge was the NSU/VW K70, which can be seen as an inspirational predecessor to the VW Passat line, but none of the car parts were ever used somewhere else. Even the engine (a normal 4cyl, not a Wankel), based on the NSU-1200 design, was replaced with the EA827.

Re:surely, you're joking (1)

OhANameWhatName (2688401) | about a year and a half ago | (#42188151)

we'll be looking to Made in Viet Nam, Made in Thailand, Made in North Korea, or Made in Kazahkstan with derision

Why wait? We're already looking to 'Made in the USA' with derision.

Re:surely, you're joking (5, Informative)

Buminatrain (1737926) | about a year and a half ago | (#42188103)

Yeah I'm gonna have to disagree with this. I tend to think your friend is just more fond of his profit margins with Chinese goods. I have a "fallback" job with a construction company and mainly do plumbing when working there. In general we use Chinese materials but on government/military jobs we have to use US materials. I'll tell you now the difference is night and day in terms of quality, on top of prevailing wage it's a joy working these jobs just due to how much better the quality of the US stuff is.

Re:surely, you're joking (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42188591)

There's plenty of outright shit Made in the USA. Here's what you are missing, it's not about origin, it's about making things to spec. Generally the spec for people contacting manufacturing to China is as-cheap-as-possible, and that's exactly what they get. Sure, labor and environmental costs less over there, but shipping, customs and other overhead associated with outsourcing eats a bunch of that, so to significantly increase the profits (as promised to shareholder) companies tend to drop quality as well. Turns out you can do this in the US as well! So there is quite a bit US made junk floating around these days. Conversely you can tell your Chinese partner to implement better processes, ramp up QA and that you will not only pay for it, but pay extra. Chances are you will get quality stuff, if not, try the factory next door. Point is, quality mostly depends on what the producer is wiling to pay, which is just about independent of what you are willing to spend. Origin is a useful heuristic, but the reality these days is that unlike with, say, German stuff you can't rely on US stuff to be good in the general case, you merely have a decent chance.

Re:surely, you're joking (1)

hairyfish (1653411) | about a year and a half ago | (#42189637)

China is a big place, just because you have some crap from China, doesn't mean all stuff from China is crap. I used to work for a clothing manufacturer where EVERYTHING was made in China. From the cheap $5 T-shirts to the $300 jeans and dress shirts, the difference is only the raw materials used and the QA required.

Telescopes. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42189271)

Ten years ago, Chinese made optics and telescopes were a joke. Now they aren't. Only the very best non Chinese-made stuff can compete on quality, but not on price. And with the release of the latest high end Chinese-made stuff, even that advantage looks shaky.

The only thing non Chinese manufacturers cling to now is the belief that Chinese labor costs will eventually rival that of non-Chinese manufacturers, and then the bottom lines will equal out.

Re:surely, you're joking (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42188005)

For the rest of the world 'Made in the USA' means 'Heavy, will break down, and none of your tools will fit'.

May sound harsh, but that is my experience of industrial equipment and the feelings of those who work with it.

Re:surely, you're joking (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42188213)

For the rest of the world 'Made in the USA' means 'Heavy, will break down, and none of your tools will fit'.

I have worked for manufacturers and heavy equipment companies for years. When something is designed for industrial use, it does not matter where it was made, they just don't break down. I have seen presses with 100,000 hours behind them. Once they made shovels and ran on steam, now they run on three-phase and make BMW fuel line brackets. That's right expensive European cars have parts that are made in Detroit.

I'd put money that whomever has your attitude does not know what they are doing. How could they be competent when they ordered something without even knowing what tools they will need?

Re:surely, you're joking (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42188471)

because ordered a 10M euro machine and failed to order the 200 euro tool set? Oh wait, everythign we export has metric bolts. It's been the standard in the US for everything but food, gasoline and sports for decades. And, if you can do math in public, the only difference is a $200 set of tools.

Re:surely, you're joking (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42188527)

> Oh wait, everythign we export has metric bolts.

You don't really think this do you?

Re:surely, you're joking (2)

jrumney (197329) | about a year and a half ago | (#42189375)

This must be a recent thing. I worked for a factory back in the early 1990's that had a mixture of US and German made machinery. We needed to carry both metric and imperial tools and spares.

Re:surely, you're joking (1)

hairyfish (1653411) | about a year and a half ago | (#42189645)

My tool-kit contains no imperial tools. This is the 21st century after all...

Re:surely, you're joking (1)

EETech1 (1179269) | about a year and a half ago | (#42188625)

I can almost hear the frustration now...

Hey can you grab me the 10" box end wrench.

WTF you mean you only got a 250MM one? That wont fit, its too small ya dumbass!

Well i got a 275 MM one...

I don't wanna round off this gigantic fucking nut, then I'll have to use a chisel! Where the hell'd ya get that setta tools? Don't you know that Komatsu is made in the USofA?

Will this big ass pliers work...

Guess it'll have to, My adjustable wrench ain't big enough! Got a cheater bar for it?

Who would buy a 6 million dollar (euro whatever) earth raping machine that looses thousands of dollars every hour it's broken, and not get the right tools to work on it?

Re:surely, you're joking (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42188731)

So perhaps this extreme example is why people will only buy such large machines from the US?

Re:surely, you're joking (1)

Viceice (462967) | about a year and a half ago | (#42189027)

So Sony is an American company now?

Re:surely, you're joking (1)

Waccoon (1186667) | about a year and a half ago | (#42189279)

By "rest of the world", are you referring to nations like Germany and Canada, or nations like Romania and Venezuela?

Re:surely, you're joking (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42189469)

Hey, in Romania, we use German stuff. They use the same metric and understand quality. Besides, other than rare expensive things, it's never worth importing anything from the USA.

Re:surely, you're joking (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42188139)

"Look, we're still in the days of "It's best if it says Made in USA" on it. I've witnessed it, ..."

That's why you are such export-champions then I guess.

Real American companies, with real American names like 'Komatsu'.

Re:surely, you're joking (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42188779)

I bet if you spent a little time to do some research you could find a cheaper, superior one from an Asian manufacturer.

Re:surely, you're joking (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42189099)

If you extentend that "logic" to skin color you would be called racist. But it seems everything is possible in "tech"...

Re:surely, you're joking (1)

YeeHaW_Jelte (451855) | about a year and a half ago | (#42189211)

You're confusing well-made with made in the USA.

Not trolling, but the US is not the only place well engineered stuff is made.

Also, don't confuse expensive with good quality. There's a correlation, but not always.

Re:surely, you're joking (2)

iserlohn (49556) | about a year and a half ago | (#42189261)

Actually, the quality issue isn't the only thing. Apart from the intrinsic qualities of a product, you also have to consider the wider implications. After all, buying things is just a way of voting with your wallet. If I'm spending money buying a premium product, I wouldn't want to encourage exploitative behavior. If there were two products that were comparable, one made in a country like China or Vietnam, the other made in the US, South Korea, Japan, Taiwan, the UK, or Europe, I would chose the latter without a doubt, even though it's a bit more expensive. Just because you know that otherwise the money is going to fund more corporate exploitation of cheap labor, and in the meanwhile, the workers would be living and working in poor working conditions, get paid peanuts, have no healthcare, and depending on the country some of the money would be used to fund an oppressive political regime.

Except Komatsu is a Japanese company. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42187937)

Really.

Re:Except Komatsu is a Japanese company. (5, Insightful)

Desler (1608317) | about a year and a half ago | (#42187965)

Neither the submission nor the article says otherwise. This doesn't change the fact that the products being referred to are manufactured in a US-base plant.

Re:Except Komatsu is a Japanese company. (2)

PPH (736903) | about a year and a half ago | (#42188671)

The USA has the skilled workers. Japan (and others) have better managers.

We had similar situations at Boeing. Boeing-owned plants couldn't build parts worth crap. Boeing sold them off (to a few foreign owners) who brought in competent management teams and now they do quality work.

Re:Except Komatsu is a Japanese company. (4, Funny)

Sperbels (1008585) | about a year and a half ago | (#42187983)

But how Japanese could it be if it has no robots?

Re:Except Komatsu is a Japanese company. (1)

stuckinarut (891702) | about a year and a half ago | (#42188655)

Except is does have Robotic Trucks [komatsu.com] .

robotic welding methods developed by Komatsu (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42189019)

http://www.komatsu.com/CompanyInfo/profile/report/pdf/154-05_E.pdf

Only in use in Japan? I've seen "How it's Made" showing a robot welding in a Komatsu factory which I thought was in the US, but perhaps it was overseas footage.

They come with lipstick holders (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42187975)

In a threat to penis-kind everywhere, Reuters reported recently that lady drivers are preferred over their penis-wielding competitors in the market for super-extra-big mining trucks.

Why? They're more careful drivers and take better care of the equipment.

In other words: if you've got equipment, you aren't as good at taking care of the equipment.

In an ironic twist, the best way to remind yourself that you're a man is to drive an excavator, bulldozer, or similar. Do that a couple of times and you'll be singing Now You're a MAN! [youtube.com]

Komatsu? (-1, Flamebait)

DNS-and-BIND (461968) | about a year and a half ago | (#42187989)

Re:Komatsu? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42188045)

I've always found the target list for Palestinian activists to be a bit strange.

Why Caterpiller and not coca-cola? Surely coke is consumed by the IDF, no?

What about the suppliers of all the other gear - the laptops, the toilet paper, the.. entire list of things we consume and use in modern life.

Why caterpiller?

My answer: because they're big and yellow and recognizable. They're a target because they're visible. Which reduces campaigns like yours from an honest and practical effort to stop demolitions to a duplicitous effort to get noticed at all costs.

Caterpiller makes mining equipment; the things they make are used to make nearly every solid thing you use. They make equipment that builds houses in your country, and equipment that clears rubble after earthquakes. I'm not going to shun them because one of their customers happens to be fighting a highly visible, highly contentious war. Not because I'm callous, but because I'm not a hypocrite.

Re:Komatsu? (2, Informative)

AdamHaun (43173) | about a year and a half ago | (#42188169)

Why Caterpiller and not coca-cola?

Your link answers that question: Caterpillar sells equipment that helps Israel illegally build settlements in Palestinian territory. Coca-Cola does not. The Palestinians' interests are pretty clear -- they want their own state. There's nothing abstract or symbolic about it.

Off Topic (-1, Offtopic)

Taco Cowboy (5327) | about a year and a half ago | (#42188243)

I know it's totally off-topic

But if the Palestinians really want their own state, they can always get some land from the Saudis.

Stop messing in the land of God (Isra El) !

Re:Off Topic (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42188435)

Right, they can buy land, just like the Jews bought the land that is now Israel (the land they bought includes "palestine" and the gaza strip, and a good amount more as well) purchased from the Turks back in the 1800s so they could move back to their homeland after having been scattered for generations, and the "palestinian" issue didn't come into play until after the Jews who bough that land used the water in the swamps to irrigate the desert and make it arable (farmable). Prior to then the land was regarded as worthless, because the Turkish empire taxed based on how arable land was, so the turks who owned the land that is now Israel (and actually a good bit more) destoyed the vegetation that did exist to reduce their tax assessments. It wasn't until the land was utilized well and became profitable and desirable that the arabs suddenly decided they wanted the land back, and they encouraged undesirable classes to move out of their land into the newly-established Israel to start their jihad, and that's the origin of the modern-day "palestinians." They (palestinians) are essentially squatters on Israel's rightfully-purchased property seeking to reneg.

But, let's not let facts get in the way of bleeding hearts' arguments. Let's blame everything on those evil, greedy jews who obviously are trying to take over the world by occupying a small portion of the land they purchased bit by bit throughout the latter 1800s.

Re:Komatsu? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42188483)

Caterpiller sells equipment that Israel uses in its construction of illegal settlements.

So does nearly every company that sells to the Israel. Companies that sell the grease and other consumables for the bulldozers? Companies that sell tires for humvees? All those computers used to organize information? Manufacturers of gyprock used in construction of illegal settlements? The list could go on and on. Even coca-cola: they provide refreshment that aids soldiers when demolishing homes.

An internally consistent boycott would mean a boycott on all companies that do business in Israel, because the state of Israel is responsible for building the illegal settlements. I personally don't want to see that happen; for all its flaws, I'm glad Israel is there and hope that somehow, sometime they do the right thing and leave the West Bank. But I do think that a full boycott makes a lot more sense that selectively picking on companies that play a single part in a larger activity.

Re:Komatsu? (1, Insightful)

tompaulco (629533) | about a year and a half ago | (#42188509)

Caterpillar sells equipment that helps Israel illegally build settlements in Palestinian territory.
So if they can blow up the Caterpillar plant, then the Israelis will not buy construction equipment from another company, they will simply realize the folly of their ways and give the land to the Palestinians? Somebody's spent too much time in the desert, methinks.

Re:Komatsu? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42188631)

Coca-cola sells to Israel, too. Jewish soldiers drink it. See how this works?

Re:Komatsu? (4, Informative)

donscarletti (569232) | about a year and a half ago | (#42188453)

Caterpiller armoured bulldozers are probably the most visible element of IDF retaliatory demolitions. When your product is being used to knock down the homes of civilians to flush out insurgents in the community then you shouldn't be dumbfounded when your PR takes a slide.

Good (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42189693)

Somebody has to be willing to push the vermin away from civilization.

Re:Komatsu? (1)

unix_core (943019) | about a year and a half ago | (#42189257)

Are you sure Coca Cola isn't just making the IDS toothless and obese? The palestinians should thank them!

Re:Komatsu? (3)

Desler (1608317) | about a year and a half ago | (#42188067)

Yes, the manufacturing plant being referred to in the article is in Peoria, Illinois.

That local expertise attracted Komatsu. After being owned by Mr. LeTourneau, Westinghouse Electric and Dresser Industries, the Peoria plant was sold to Komatsu about two decades ago as part of the Japanese company's effort to establish a major American presence. Komatsu makes smaller mining trucks in Japan, but its largest trucks, able to carry as much as 360 tons of ore, come from Peoria.

And again, nothing in either the article or submission stated that Komatsu was a US company. They were strictly referring to the US-based manufacturing plants that create products that these companies export from the US.

Re:Komatsu? (1)

Ralph Spoilsport (673134) | about a year and a half ago | (#42188069)

agreed. tres bullcrap.

Re:Komatsu? (0)

Anubis IV (1279820) | about a year and a half ago | (#42188209)

Caterpillar is neither environmentally nor socially responsible. Move along folks, nothing to see here.

Good ol' Uhmurrican values. Don't you be smirchin' 'em.

Re:Komatsu? (1, Flamebait)

Brett Buck (811747) | about a year and a half ago | (#42188259)

Certainly, because when a company goes to buy heavy construction equipment, environmental and and "social responsibility" (code for leftist values) is certainly high on their list.

        I almost think your post is a parody of a effete worthless ignoramus, if it were not posted here.

Daewoo... (1)

thesupraman (179040) | about a year and a half ago | (#42188325)

And both are small compared to Daewoo, who make supertankers, etc.

Really? trucks are big? um, no.

World shipbuilding market share by countries (2011)
Rank Country Combined GT %
1 South Korea South Korea 137,596,000 37.45%
2 China China 123,961,000 33.7%
3 Japan Japan 63,641,000 17.3%
4 Philippines Philippines 423,000 1.6%

Not seeing the US of A on that list..

Super Value Goods (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42187991)

> It may surprise you to learn that Komatsu doesn't employee a single industrial robot. The quality of workmanship simply isn't there where it is needed."

It has nothing to do with "quality of workmanship." These are super-value goods. They are made in very small batches (usually one-offs) and they are stationary during production. The assembly line moves around them. Not vice versa. A robot is good for doing one thing over and over again. It's only cost effective when you are producing 10,000+ units per year. If Komatsu started making 50,000 units a year, I guarantee you that they would start automating with robots. They wouldnt be able to get enough people at a reasonable cost to maintain the "quality of workmanship" produced by a robot. The "quality" thing is just a smokescreen.

Re:Super Value Goods (5, Informative)

mrbcs (737902) | about a year and a half ago | (#42188137)

I worked as a welder-fitter at Komatsu Dresser in Cambridge Ontario a number of years ago. The "quality" issue is a red herring.

Robots haven't been invented that can fit a gusset plate made of 3/4" steel that doesn't quite fit right because a guy hand made it in a 500 ton press brake. The plates would have to be clamped, heated and hammered with a 10lb sledge hammer to fit properly.

We had about 20 - 35 ton trucks on the assembly line at any given time. There is simply no cost effective way to make a robot do the tasks that these guys were doing.

Re:Super Value Goods (1)

rthille (8526) | about a year and a half ago | (#42188367)

Couldn't the parts be made to closer tolerances? Perhaps by using robots? :-)

Re:Super Value Goods (4, Informative)

mrbcs (737902) | about a year and a half ago | (#42188427)

They could have used a press and die set up. That would cost upwards of 100 grand. Since they only made 20 units at a time, it's just not cost effective.... and you still don't need a robot.

Re:Super Value Goods (2)

cheesybagel (670288) | about a year and a half ago | (#42188715)

It's the same issue GM had back when they started Saturn. If you don't design the whole vehicle to be assembled by robots it just doesn't work.

Thank Goodness (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42188047)

Thank goodness there's no possible way for this thread to degenerate into a hodgepodge of anecdotes disguised as fact. I'm certain the Slashdot audience will rise above the low hanging fruit.

Re:Thank Goodness (0)

RockMFR (1022315) | about a year and a half ago | (#42188065)

I agree. We Americans do have rather large penises.

Re:Thank Goodness (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42188131)

Asian women don't get fat and they have tight pussies :) You do have to remind them to shave, though.

Re:Thank Goodness (5, Funny)

iONiUM (530420) | about a year and a half ago | (#42188389)

I don't know, my friend read this Slashdot story once that had no anecdotes in it at all. So, it does happen.

Re:Thank Goodness (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42188923)

Yepp all the made in label gets you is that the final bolt was inserted in usa . nothing more is needed i,e the beloved Iphone and any other products as for the heavy stuff it is all owned by big overseas (read China) cos so yayy usa another pipe dream (meaning you must be smoking opiates) if you believe any quality parts are wholly made in you lazy country. scof scoff etc. not at your self entitled american wages with your cheap as ways of walmarting every item. (that is the same a CHEWING down the price)
pity you are duped by your add mans again. refer to Mr. George Hull via P. T. Barnum to identify yourself for what you are.

ahh the taste of the top most fruit lol.

Re:Thank Goodness (1)

tool462 (677306) | about a year and a half ago | (#42189139)

rise above the low hanging fruit.

At least the rest of us aren't making inappropriate penis jokes.

Pity about the robots (1)

reg (5428) | about a year and a half ago | (#42188117)

I think the US should declare robots a munition subject to export control and extreme secrecy. With the increase in robotic soldiers, it will become important, and as the US learns to make better robots for the military, they will make better industrial robots. At some point the robots will be more cost effective than slaves in China... If they cannot be exported then manufacturing will return to the US. At least for a while Americans will be able to get high skill jobs building and fixing robots...

Re:Pity about the robots (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42189597)

ummm your whole post seems to imply the US is somehow a leader in robotics. Perhaps a reality check is in order for you, if you banned exports and other countries that are way ahead of the US in the field retaliated then the US would simply fall behind.

You are ALL forgetting the difference in ETHICS (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42188149)

From China we got pet food with melamine in it.

From China we got drywall made with toxic waste.

The Chinese are not like Europeans or Americans. They are missing
core values which make a huge difference with respect to quality
of the end product.

As an American who is not in favor of war, I think we will look back and
wish we had nuked China when we still could have done it without fear
of a retaliatory strike. China is going to economically smother the US, and
the worst part is that idiots in the US are going to help with that.

Re:You are ALL forgetting the difference in ETHICS (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42188467)

> You are ALL forgetting the difference in ETHICS

> As an American who is not in favor of war, I think we will look back and
wish we had nuked China when we still could have done it without fear
of a retaliatory strike.

Do you have any remote notion of what the word Ethics mean?

BTW please stop doing crimes against mankind instead of thinking up bigger evils.

Re:You are ALL forgetting the difference in ETHICS (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42189071)

US should have joined with Nazi Germany in subjugating Europe and Russia before proceeding to dominate Africa and Asia. Had we done that then mankind would have already established orbital and lunar colonies and work would be well under way to begin mining the asteroid belt and building Mars colonies.

As A European (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42189475)

..I wish You American Kneejerks like you would simply congregate at the grave of Curtis LeMad and then detonate a nuke. The world would be a better place after that.

Employee (0)

DFurno2003 (739807) | about a year and a half ago | (#42188163)

It may surprise you to learn that Komatsu doesn't employee a single industrial robot. Komatsu doesn't employee a single industrial robot. employee a single industrial robot. employee

Quality vs time vs price (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42188185)

It's more about price vs quality vs time than just about price and quality. Sure you can buy a decent Chinese locomotive for less money but if you buy an American one you know it will still be running half a century from now. Some products are short term where price is king but things like construction equipment and infrastructure are long term investments where your children will have to live with your choices. Better to spend more now than have to fork out money on replacements every ten years.

Re:Quality vs time vs price (1)

cheesybagel (670288) | about a year and a half ago | (#42188745)

I was kind of surprised anyone wanted to buy US locomotives at all. Only if they are the low speed freight trains I guess.

Wait what? (0)

Kral_Blbec (1201285) | about a year and a half ago | (#42188501)

US jobs rooted in defense contracting?
I thought we were better off slashing the defense budget and putting the money directly into foodstamp programs!

Worked For Hitler (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42189497)

..Works for the US. Save the economy By Making Weapons !!

Lower volume is the real issue (4, Informative)

Grayhand (2610049) | about a year and a half ago | (#42188545)

It's impractical to build robots to make equipment that is made in the hundred of units and individual parts weighs in the tons. Humans are more flexible so it's easier for humans to do short runs and American workers have a fairly long history of doing this work. For China it's workers are one generation off the farm and it's one thing to slap two halves of an iPad together but a very different issue aligning 5 ton metal castings. Ultra heavy equipment is just shy of being one offs so it requires a much higher skill set which the US still excels at. This is nothing new. I remember reading decades ago about Russian Subs couldn't match the US for quiet operation because we had the only mills that could make the propellers for quiet running. The largest metal castings we did were for the turrets for WW II battle ships and even the US can't reproduce those now.

Largest operative Airplane is not USA-made (3, Insightful)

girlinatrainingbra (2738457) | about a year and a half ago | (#42188577)

Well, if we're talking about the category of large airplanes [wikipedia.org] , then the undisputed winner is the Antonov An-225 Mriya [wikipedia.org] which was built in the Soviet Union and the Ukraine to be the equivalent of the USA Space Shuttle's transport aircraft [wikipedia.org] . It tops the categories of :
-- world's heaviest aircraft ever (max. takeoff weight greater than 640 tons)
-- world's largest aircraft ever
-- largest aerodyne (in length and wingspan) ever entering operational service
-- absolute world record for airlifted payload at 189,980 kilogram (418,834 pounds)
;>)
Of course, the largest wingspan ever is owned by Howard Hughes' Spruce Goose, the Hughes Aircraft H4-Hercules [wikipedia.org] . It was never really an operational aircraft: it only flew once, and it was really made of birch instead of spruce. But hey, in terms of largest wingspan ever built, USA-ians can chant "We're Number One! We're Number One!"

robots are our future (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42188583)

treat them well and let them lead the way
give them a sense of purpose to make it easier
let the robots' work ethic remind us how we used to be.

not big, important (4, Informative)

slashmydots (2189826) | about a year and a half ago | (#42188691)

If you pay half for construction equipment and it breaks within a month, that throws off the expensive estimate just a bit. Any cheap-manufacturing country does not offer sufficient quality for business use of quarter million dollar machinery. They make cheap, hastily designed stuff out of inferior materials to undercut everyone because that's what they do. They can't make a perfect machine because then they'd need a vast engineering infrastructure and high purity metal manufacturing and all that. That's primarily the US and not a whole lot more.

Re:not big, important (1)

mwvdlee (775178) | about a year and a half ago | (#42189371)

The only reason the US has an advantage in building these big machines is because they needed these big machines when there wasn't anybody else building them yet. There isn't some inherent quality in of the US. It's the same reason the US is way behind the curve in fuel-efficient, reliable and nimble cars; they never needed cars to be fuel-efficient due to low fuel prices, reliable due to economy nor nimble due to relatively morestraight-line distances. Now all of a sudden they do, and now they're trying hard to catch up. Necessity is the mother of invention. If China would suddenly need machines twice the size as the US builds, they'd soon be leaders in building big machines. Yes, most of China's economy revolves around cheap labour and low costs, that doesn't mean they don't have any highly skilled engineers or the ability to create top quality.

good quality is good strategy (4, Informative)

manu0601 (2221348) | about a year and a half ago | (#42188695)

There are two ways of being competitive. The first one is to lower all costs, (and especially labor costs) and make a weak product cheaper than competitors. The second one is to make better products with high price.

The cut-all-costs approach has a problem: there is always someone in a poor country ready to work for lower wage. Being competitive this way means making workers poorer and poorer. And there are environmental issues: costs can be cut by wreaking the environment in countries where there is no regulation to protect it. And since the ecosystem is global, environmental issue created in poor countries will bite back rich countries later.

Cutting all costs to be competitive leads to social and environmental destruction. I am glad there are still some success stories of good products with high price. Of course I do not take for granted that the high-price product is driving up wages and environment preservation, but at least it is not incompatible with it.

Re:good quality is good strategy (1)

roman_mir (125474) | about a year and a half ago | (#42189513)

Good quality is good strategy, but your conclusions are wrong. Being competitive by providing the cheapest goods, however it is done, makes all people wealthier and wealthier, that's what cheaper and cheaper goods mean - you can buy things you couldn't before and you can buy more of them for less money. This is the lesson of 19th century USA and current China.

--
By the way, here is a store [madeinamericastore.com] that sells only goods that are 'Made in USA'. The goods sold in it look like the same goods might have been in a store 150 years ago (except for an electrical flashlight, the only thing there that runs on electricity I think).

In the world of 'Big Stuff' USA still rules maybe, but that is specifically because USA builds so much military equipment. However this helps but doesn't fix USA trade deficit problem, which is a severe one, tens of billions USD per month worth of trade deficit for decades and thus foreigners importing into USA all the actual products that Americans buy and these foreigners accumulating US dollars and debt obligation cannot last forever. It creates inflation for the foreigners and subsidises US consumer. When it stops the inflation comes back to USA and the American consumer is too poor to buy Komatsu and Caterpillar products (that's beside the fact that you can't cook a Komatsu, maybe a Caterpillar, but it doesn't provide the same nutritional value as 90% of seafood that USA apparently imports).

railway? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42188705)

Railway? are you kidding me ? The US is 40 years behind on trains. They still use diesel in stead of electric !

So much boasting. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42188733)

Don't forget guys. The only place in the world you can get your products made with Freedom is in the USA.

Insignificant on economy (5, Insightful)

dutchwhizzman (817898) | about a year and a half ago | (#42188953)

The USA has resorted to buy everything imported, since their consumers would rather whine about quality than pay for it. The thousands of billions spent on clothing, electronics, food, cars and building materials to name a few industries don't weigh up to the few that come in by exporting planes or mining equipment and such.

Also, quite a lot of these products are assembled from imported materials or half-products, the owners or shareholders are often foreign so apart from providing actual manufacturing and producing jobs to the USA, a lot of the profit is often not staying in the USA.

The Netherlands used to have a very prosperous ship building industry. That died out, competition from lower wage countries with good sea access made the cheaper, worse quality ships still a good investment. Then the competitors got better at building ships with the experience they gained and even the high quality ships could be purchased from lower wage countries. By now, these countries have lost most of their ship building industry to the far east, where they build ships in assembly lines by the dozens per year, on dozens of assembly lines. Imagine an iPhone 5 manual assembly line, building 1000 yards and larger ships. Now imagine 20 of those lines in a shipyard. This is reality now. If mining excavators, planes trains or any other product named in this list ever gets produced in numbers big enough to warrant mass production sites, cheap labour countries will start producing. We may laugh at India or China's plans to produce their own aerospace or commercial flight equipment, but in 10 years, Boeing and Airbus will most likely be buying 90% of their parts prefabricated from those very countries and in 20 years, they will probably be reduced to a manufacturing and assembly location for them.

Re:Insignificant on economy (1)

bytesex (112972) | about a year and a half ago | (#42189343)

It's returning though - Damen now build in Romania.

Re:Insignificant on economy (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42189631)

It is not the consumers. Consumers want cheaper gas too, but they don't get it.
You start off selling at $1000 which costs $700 to make, but then you realise that you could sell for $900 and it only costs $400. The quality is awful, but as long as it looks similar it will sell. Soon you are selling for $750 which only costs you $200.

Then you say 'whelp, the stupid consumers only want to pay $750, if they shelled out $1000 they could have decent quality' and if some consumers are willing to spend $1000, you sell them which cost you $400 .

Is that a porn movie? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42188955)

Hope they wear condoms...

Quality manufacturing... On its way out (1)

tanveer1979 (530624) | about a year and a half ago | (#42189127)

Once upon a time, you expect things to last.
Cell phone? Should work for 5 years atleast without hitch.
TV - Well 20 years is no big deal
Washing machine - 20 years, no big deal

However, the consumerist culture has started to change the psych of the consumers all over the world.
"Use and throw" is the buzz word?

Phone : One year later dump your old, get new one on contract at 100$/month or whatever
Washing machine : 3 years is great, thats why we give only 3 years warranty
Car ? 50,000 miles for a clutch replacement is great

This culture is killing quality manufacturing.

There is no incentive to design and build an automobile which does 500,000 miles without hitch in normal running conditions.

Not possible you say? Look at the 1980s 1990s landcruisers, or the old mercs. They still go on and on.

Old Nokia handsets would last 5-6 years easily, even when subject abuse like water dunking and falls. Today, if you sneeze on your cell phone, it would explode.

Only with subsidy from the state though... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42189309)

The US aerospace sector gets probably the largest state subsidy, of any industry in the whole world,, in the form of huge military contracts. This obviously has impact on the civilian divisions of these companies, and at least for Boeing, has already been found to be true by a WTO investigation.

big is in germany! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42189653)

Yeah, Bagger 288 rulez!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=azEvfD4C6ow

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