What's new
What's new

Crap work from a "high end" Chinese prototype shop

implmex

Titanium
Joined
Jun 23, 2002
Location
Vancouver BC Canada
Hi Scottl:
You make a good point, but what I'm seeing is a manufacturing environment in which they can throw resources at a project that we can't easily match.

I am a one-man show with maybe half a million in gadgets to do what I do.
On top of that I'm in North America with North America prices for everything from pencils to nuts and bolts.

My Chinese competitor has gear that would cost multiple millions to put on my floor, and it's all new or nearly so.
He has around 30 bodies running around in there, all needing to be fed with work, and he's sitting in a stream of manufacturing activity that can justify the risk and the outlay to service the need.

He can guarantee a turnaround that I cannot hope to compete with, and he can sell you a part for not much more than my raw material price, and still turn a profit.

They're not stupid people, and they learned fast.
Now they're as good as we are...when we see shit work from them it's usually what we pressured them for, or let them get away with, or implied with our crappy instructions, as many have pointed out.

Against that I can offer only a more seamless transition from "Art to Part", but once we're there, my value to service my customer's need need drops like crazy.
I have come to recognize that and I'm shifting my business model accordingly.

So yeah, there were once a whole lotta hole in the wall shops with dirt floors like you describe, but that's not what I'm competing against now.
In the thirty years since this reality began to rear it's head, the landscape has changed a lot.

Cheers

Marcus
www.implant-mechanix.com
www.vancouverwireedm.com
 

lucky7

Titanium
Joined
Sep 6, 2008
Location
Canada
^^^ that speech was ten years ago. With what Economist mag and others are calling 3-4% of US workforce unable to work due to long covid I wonder about short term economic prospects.
 

triumph406

Titanium
Joined
Sep 14, 2008
Location
ca
Same crap could easily come from a USA based shop.

I've reworked parts that a customer recieved from Xometry. My understanding is because of very short leadtimes they came from US based shops. Quality issues, wrong holes, missing holes, missing features etc etc

Another customer uses a Chinese supplier, they universally do excellent work.
 

triumph406

Titanium
Joined
Sep 14, 2008
Location
ca
The real reason the U.S. can't compete with China is the enormous number of tiny shops in 1 car garage type spaces supplying so many of the bits and pieces the bigger outfits use. Most of these couldn't function here due to regulations.

I started off in an apaterment garage in Huntington Beach, ran that for years part time, City never knew I was there, nobody knew I was there.

I know 2 other shops close to here, one has a brother, another a Fadal, running part time under the radar.

Easy to avoid being regulated if your discrete
 

jccaclimber

Stainless
Joined
Nov 22, 2015
Location
San Francisco
It's funny, but lead time of anything more complex than a basic machined part is often what drives my current employer off shore.
The distribution of quality at the prototype level is much wider from offshore parts, and it's economically based. If a US suppliers says "Hey, we have a new process, it won't meet your spec, but it'll be close, we want $XXX and 4 week lead time." If this is close in price to what a proper part costs there's no incentive.
The same part, a place in SE Asia will say "It's $xx and 10 days including shipping". It's so cheap that we can take the risk. We'll still order the proper part at full cost and lead time, but order the cheap alternate process part so we have something to do basic checks on. It's so cheap and fast that we don't care if it only works half the time, but it usually does.
The gap often seems to be things that require some level of complex tooling (extrusion/injection/casting dies, specialized finishing operations, etc). USA wants 12 weeks lead time, EU wants 8, Asia wants 4, all at equal cost and quality (I've used all of these on similar parts).
I tried to do an extrusion locally when I was in Texas, $30k for the tool (16" press), long lead, high minimum order. Friend at a different company sent a very similar part to a place in Asia, $16k, and the parts arrived finish machined and anodized faster than the lead time of the US tool.

In general I haven't found the miss rate to be any higher than domestically with one exception. That one exception was a part that it was very clear the Asian supplier had no understanding of the drawing and those higher than me insisted on ordering anyways. In that case it was on us because the supplier was sending out huge red flags the entire way. They routinely did great general machining work, but we ordered something clearly outside their capabilities and they just kept saying "Yes, we can do that". I've been burned domestically once the same way by a shop that I paid and instructed to do WEDM work and thought they could get away with milling it without telling me in advance.
 

HallBilly

Plastic
Joined
Apr 27, 2020
Hi Thunderjet:
I've actually done very well for myself, fixing this sort of stuff.
I bought a laser welder years ago and fixed Chinese molds for decades.
It's been a good business for me...not so much now because I don't pursue it anymore, but it kept my Lovely Wife in milk and cookies for a very long time.

No one has thrown my work back in my face in forty years...most of the people in my catchment area know me or know of me as the guy to try when it's all gone to shit and they need help.
Now that I'm mostly retired (health reasons) I kinda play instead of busting ass like I used to do, and I can still make the rent.
These are nice little challenges and I do get well paid for my work.

Cheers

Marcus
www.implant-mechanix.com
www.vancouverwireedm.com
Same here.
I get to fix cheap stuff quite frequently.
Retribution is cool, when you lose a job to cheap imports and then get to fix them at near to your original cost.
 

honyo prototype

Plastic
Joined
Nov 25, 2022
Location
China
As an entrepreneur of a Chinese prototype company, I have mixed feelings and mixed feelings when I see this complaint. We still have a long way to go to become a high-tech company. No matter what, we will go all out.
 

implmex

Titanium
Joined
Jun 23, 2002
Location
Vancouver BC Canada
Good morning honyo prototype:
You are currently benefiting from a pretty natural progression as your part of the world gets into the sweet zone where you can capitalize on state of the art technology and still have access to a labour pool and raw materials at prices we in North America and Europe cannot compete with.
So the tide of manufacturing has shifted to favour you for now.

Sadly, those shifts are happening at an ever increasing pace, and you will inevitably be replaced by a new entrant who can out compete you just because they can get the newest tech and can train up a new labour force willing to work hard at prices you can no longer be content with.

I'm already seeing the shift as industrial activity moves toward India and Pakistan and away from China.
There is a period where a new entrant is hobbled because the infrastructure does not yet exist, and there is no well trained labour force and no professional engineer pool from which to draw, but these things can be remedied over time...humans are as intelligent in underdeveloped countries as they are in overdeveloped countries and they will learn to eat your lunch as you have learned to eat ours.

So grab the opportunity while it exists for you; recognize how fleeting it is and plan accordingly.
You will learn as painfully as we have done, that the business world is ruthless...it's never about "What did you do for me yesterday"...it's about "What can you do for me today" and you will be dropped like a hot potato as soon as you cannot compete anymore.
In the meantime, roll up your sleeves...there's money to be made.

Cheers

Marcus
www.implant-mechanix.com
www.vancouverwireedm.com
 

DDoug

Diamond
Joined
Oct 18, 2005
Location
NW Pa
As an entrepreneur of a Chinese prototype company, I have mixed feelings and mixed feelings when I see this complaint. We still have a long way to go to become a high-tech company. No matter what, we will go all out.
Seeing how you are dredging up every thread with the word "prototype" in it, makes you a spammer.
 

Scottl

Diamond
Joined
Nov 3, 2013
Location
Eastern Massachusetts, USA
Hi Scottl:
You make a good point, but what I'm seeing is a manufacturing environment in which they can throw resources at a project that we can't easily match.

I am a one-man show with maybe half a million in gadgets to do what I do.
On top of that I'm in North America with North America prices for everything from pencils to nuts and bolts.

My Chinese competitor has gear that would cost multiple millions to put on my floor, and it's all new or nearly so.
He has around 30 bodies running around in there, all needing to be fed with work, and he's sitting in a stream of manufacturing activity that can justify the risk and the outlay to service the need.

He can guarantee a turnaround that I cannot hope to compete with, and he can sell you a part for not much more than my raw material price, and still turn a profit.

They're not stupid people, and they learned fast.
Now they're as good as we are...when we see shit work from them it's usually what we pressured them for, or let them get away with, or implied with our crappy instructions, as many have pointed out.

Against that I can offer only a more seamless transition from "Art to Part", but once we're there, my value to service my customer's need need drops like crazy.
I have come to recognize that and I'm shifting my business model accordingly.

So yeah, there were once a whole lotta hole in the wall shops with dirt floors like you describe, but that's not what I'm competing against now.
In the thirty years since this reality began to rear it's head, the landscape has changed a lot.

Cheers

Marcus
www.implant-mechanix.com
www.vancouverwireedm.com
That is exactly my point. Of all the small stuff "from pencils to nuts and bolts" and even things like custom brackets much of it is produced in those tiny shops and they get it at way below North America prices.
 

Mtndew

Diamond
Joined
Jun 7, 2012
Location
Michigan
Most of these couldn't function here due to regulations.

Yep. OSHA,all the safety shit, patent infringement, material certs, etc... is why our prices are higher.
Are there some quality Chinese companies? Of course, but for 99% of the shit we get from that country is not quality.
The real problem is our society's "gotta have it now" attitude with things like Amazon Prime next day shipping for some shitty "As seen on TV product".
 

HallBilly

Plastic
Joined
Apr 27, 2020
Good morning honyo prototype:
You are currently benefiting from a pretty natural progression as your part of the world gets into the sweet zone where you can capitalize on state of the art technology and still have access to a labour pool and raw materials at prices we in North America and Europe cannot compete with.
So the tide of manufacturing has shifted to favour you for now.

Sadly, those shifts are happening at an ever increasing pace, and you will inevitably be replaced by a new entrant who can out compete you just because they can get the newest tech and can train up a new labour force willing to work hard at prices you can no longer be content with.

I'm already seeing the shift as industrial activity moves toward India and Pakistan and away from China.
There is a period where a new entrant is hobbled because the infrastructure does not yet exist, and there is no well trained labour force and no professional engineer pool from which to draw, but these things can be remedied over time...humans are as intelligent in underdeveloped countries as they are in overdeveloped countries and they will learn to eat your lunch as you have learned to eat ours.

So grab the opportunity while it exists for you; recognize how fleeting it is and plan accordingly.
You will learn as painfully as we have done, that the business world is ruthless...it's never about "What did you do for me yesterday"...it's about "What can you do for me today" and you will be dropped like a hot potato as soon as you cannot compete anymore.
In the meantime, roll up your sleeves...there's money to be made.

Cheers

Marcus
www.implant-mechanix.com
www.vancouverwireedm.com
Hell Marcus !!
We've all had our universes shift, but seeing how you have so eloquently stripped it down to vivid bullet points is breath-taking.
I'm still bashing metal after almost half a century, I truly still enjoy it and not interested in stopping also I'm making a shekel, but from when I was an apprentice to now is so different.
 

EPAIII

Diamond
Joined
Nov 23, 2003
Location
Beaumont, TX, USA
But I bet your company paid the bill.



About 10 years back, the company who owned our company had an erection in China. This erection was of a large factory with full machine shop, etc. After a couple years, the factory was in need of loading so the parent company made all of the companies it owned send a certain dollar volume of business there.

We really didn't have much they could even attempt to build, but eventually we sent an order for 10 exciter diode wheels. These are about 24" diameter, made of a complex aluminum casting with lots of machining. These are used on large generators (200MW and above) and spin at 3600RPM all day, every day, for decades. The wheels in bare form were about $25K each.

When the wheels arrived, we QA'd them and found the Chinese had 'substituted' materials, cut corners, and mis-machined them to the point we couldn't even remedy them...they all were scrapped.
 

GregSY

Diamond
Joined
Jan 1, 2005
Location
Houston
You have a point, manny. Luckily, the way you comb your hair covers it up.

Did my company pay the bill? No. It was an inter-company transaction, and each piece was written off as scrap as it was identified as such...thus money never changed accounts. By the time all that took place, the genius who wanted to fill the Chinese plant was long gone and the initiative disappeared. Anyone who has worked in a large corporation within the last 15 years knows how that happens....
 

Seesecurity

Plastic
Joined
Jun 20, 2017
They start making small parts, run the competition out of business trying to compete and then eventually bankrupt them, because some cheap buyer wanted a bargain plus some consumer wanted a bargain. Look at Walmart and where most of the products they sell for cheap are made. Look how they have bankrupted Ma, Pa small town stores, bankrupting them. Who's fault was it? The consumers who went to Walmart.. Your seeing it in small parts manufacturing now, in 20 years it will be countries going bankrupt. When I was rebuilding machines full time, I had a customer go to the $20.00 per hour rebuilder when I was charging $55.00 per hour. I was talking to the purchasing agent and he told me he knew the quality wasn't as good as mine and the machines would wear out faster, but their books looked better quarterly and he wasn't concerned what would happen in 10 years. It's sad how we've screwed ourselves and it won't get better anytime soon.
Welcome to unfettered capitalism...
 

Strostkovy

Stainless
Joined
Oct 29, 2017
I don't think I saw anybody mention this yet: rework or modication of other people's parts should be expensive, because you have the risk of damaging that parts and being expected to replace them.
If you make the parts, you could be out time and material. But now you could be out time, material, and some shitty shop's profit. Combined with the effort to fix trash and it's more than the original shop charged to get them made, and very near the price for you to just make them right.
IMO. I do mostly fabrication stuff but I expect the concept to transfer.
 








 
Top