Plastic Injection Moulding in Australia

 
  linton78 Train Controller

Location: South Coast NSW
After reading the latest news on the Austrains website, I just can't believe the problems that manufacturers have in getting a model produced in China (candy 81 class saga). I am no expert in anything to do with model manufacture but what is going on here? The Austrains proprietor is no new kid on the block. He has been doing it for years! Are these Chinese manufactures completely hopeless with there own management, is it a communication problem, or is the same old story of Australia being a small insignificant market?

Plastic diesels are now reaching the $300 price range and for $300 you get a nice model, Auscision prove that with every release. AR kits released the 45 class many moons ago and from memory was priced around $140. The box my AR kits 45 class came in says 'Made in Australia'. Is this right, was the 45 class manufactured in Australia is it still manufactured in Australia? If so why can't it happen again/more so. Surely somebody in this country can still build tooling and squeeze some plastic in there. I am sure it will cost more money to produce Australian manufactured models but I for one would be happy to pay the extra cost. Maybe it would not be that more expensive, after all Chinese wages from what I read will be forever increasing. Maybe China will not be the cheap option one of these days. Is it too early to be looking at local manufacturing options now?

As I said I have no idea about any of this in a profession capacity, purely just a purchaser. I understand that it costs a lot of money to manufacture a model but can not understand why it seems so hard. If AR kits did it 20 something years ago and at that time built the best RTR plastic diesel model around for our market,  I just don't understand why something similar can not be repeated today. Is China the easy place to have it done, after all the whole world seems to use the same factories, and that's probably where the problem lies.

We have some excellent mechanism manufactures here in Australia and New Zealand, all we need is a market so they have something to manufacture a mechanism for.

Maybe I am being completely idealistic. I would like to hear from real world points of view.

Linton

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  Iain Chief Commissioner

Location: Concord, NSW
I doubt whether the volume produced would justify the costs involved. In years gone by Australian manufacturers would not consider short runs.

The problems in China are ones of poor customer relations and I think many manufacturers are looking at alternatives. I think Hornby were looking at Eastern Europe some of the engineering firms I have read about are looking at Eastern Europe as well and they report similar problems, production schedules changing and quality issues. This sort of poor behaviour will kill the overseas market. It is notable that when the Japanese industrialised they took a samurai style approach to customer relations: "we will strive to do the best for our customers" and this ethos and ruthless competition made companies like Mitsubishi and Matsui industrial giants.

Iain
  Poath Junction Chief Commissioner

Location: In front of a computer most of the time.
There is very little difference in costs between getting items designed (CAD) & tools made in Australia versus China. There is a MASSIVE difference in labour costs for the assembly of the various parts - the retail price of detailed RTR models such as those offered by OTM, Austrains, Auscision, etc would at least double if assembly was performed locally.

The small Australian market is not the only one affected by problems in Chinese factories, major US players are also screwed around (Athearn suffered big time last year). Beyond the developing country issues such as power shortages and industry specific labour shortages, China has also become victim of western style management & business practices - firing highly payed skilled workers because they can get people straight out of Uni for 1/4 the wages might look good for short term profits but quickly backfires.
  DQ2004 Chief Commissioner

Location: Hobart -where the rain has lumps in it
AR kits released the 45 class many moons ago and from memory was priced around $140. The box my AR kits 45 class came in says 'Made in Australia'. Is this right, was the 45 class manufactured in Australia is it still manufactured in Australia? If so why can't it happen again/more so. Surely somebody in this country can still build tooling and squeeze some plastic in there. I am sure it will cost more money to produce Australian manufactured models but I for one would be happy to pay the extra cost. Maybe it would not be that more expensive, after all Chinese wages from what I read will be forever increasing. Maybe China will not be the cheap option one of these days. Is it too early to be looking at local manufacturing options now?

As I said I have no idea about any of this in a profession capacity, purely just a purchaser. I understand that it costs a lot of money to manufacture a model but can not understand why it seems so hard. If AR kits did it 20 something years ago and at that time built the best RTR plastic diesel model around for our market, I just don't understand why something similar can not be repeated today. Is China the easy place to have it done, after all the whole world seems to use the same factories, and that's probably where the problem lies.

We have some excellent mechanism manufactures here in Australia and New Zealand, all we need is a market so they have something to manufacture a mechanism for.

Maybe I am being completely idealistic. I would like to hear from real world points of view.

Linton
linton78

Linton, obviously you haven't taken the time (and it would take time) to trawl through the squillions of post on here, but this subject has been done to death.

In addition to the other responses, all I will point out is that $140 in 1989 becomes around $250 when you take into account inflation over that period of time. And you can order L, 45, 46, 86, C44 & GT46 class locos from Auscision for... $250!!  Until recently Austrains' pre-order price for the G/BL/81's was $245.

And you may be willing to pay the extra cost, but the over-riding theme of many threads discussing these issues has been that Australian outline is too expensive. I don't agree that it is, but I make the point to highlight that you won't win your case by arguing people should pay more.

Kind regards,

Toby
  Geekboy Train Controller

Location: Banned
.
  Aaron The Ghost of George Stephenson

Location: University of Adelaide SA
where does Mr SEM get his high quality stuff done?
"Geekboy"
In the poorly paying, non union award sweatshop that is his own shed...
  David Peters Dr Beeching

Location: "With Hey Boy".
SAR Model Company got the Red Hens Done here in South Australia from memory and considering all things they were not bad for the price paid, they were a kit though but a simple enough one. The only problem was getting them at one stage they were like Hen's teeth but are now available again over the counter almost, well they are at my local hobby shop any way.

These I think would be the last Australian model made in Australia except for the original power bogie in them which was a Spud but is now a Black Beetle.
  linton78 Train Controller

Location: South Coast NSW
Linton, obviously you haven't taken the time (and it would take time) to trawl through the squillions of post on here, but this subject has been done to death.

In addition to the other responses, all I will point out is that $140 in 1989 becomes around $250 when you take into account inflation over that period of time. And you can order L, 45, 46, 86, C44 & GT46 class locos from Auscision for... $250!!  Until recently Austrains' pre-order price for the G/BL/81's was $245.

And you may be willing to pay the extra cost, but the over-riding theme of many threads discussing these issues has been that Australian outline is too expensive. I don't agree that it is, but I make the point to highlight that you won't win your case by arguing people should pay more.

Kind regards,

Toby
"DQ2004"



So what your saying is that in today's money $140 is equivelant to $250 today. Your also saying that a high quality locomotive out of China costs $250 today. Therefore if an australian built locomotive once upon a time cost $140 i.e. AR Kits 45 class and today that would equate to around $250, the australian built locomotive should be very competitive with the imported product. Not sure what your point was really.

The Austrains 81 class is now priced at $295. That is quite a large price increase. I may be wrong but these price increases probably won't affect just Austrains.

This kind of means that if $140 is now $250 an australian model manufacturer if using a similar set up to what AR Kits used has $50 latitude to play with.

I don't agree with you in regards to modellers not paying more money. It seems it doesn't matter what things cost, to a certain point, they still sell. Look at the 422s, there all pretty much gone. People will now pay up to $500 for a desirable liverie on eBay.

I do realise that raising this topic is once again going around the buoy but I do find it interesting and strange. This is what forums are for. I completely agree with Poath and can see that the assembly of RTR models would be the real labour cost. There used be such a big influence on Australians to buy Aussie made. I guess its a hard task to accomplish when there is barely an option. Good on the Aussie kit manufacturers I say.

I wonder how difficult it was in the 1970s, 80s and 90s for guys importing brass models from Korea? Did they have the same problems? I am not sure where the latest brass models are built but things seem to come together for those guys with out too much fuss. Maybe we just don't hear it?

Good discussion, I sound like bloody Dick Smith! Ha ha.

Linton
  Poath Junction Chief Commissioner

Location: In front of a computer most of the time.
This kind of means that if $140 is now $250 an australian model manufacturer if using a similar set up to what AR Kits used has $50 latitude to play with.
linton78

A 25yr old ARkits 45 class has nowhere near the detailing compared to new models (from China or Australia). Auscisions upcoming 45 class has about 100+ more individual detail items, etched brass mesh inserts, etc than the AR model. This equates to higher tooling costs and considerably longer production line assembly times. Research who AR kits originally were and you'll get a better understanding of why they, and similarly SEM, were able to manufacture in Australia. The CPI type increase in the $ over 25yrs is just one factor to be looked at, the cost of raw materials (metal in particular) has skyrocketed, as have Australian labour costs. Taxation law has completely changed, costs of complying with workplace laws have increased, the list goes on.

RMM tried to do their SCT in Australia a few years ago and things didn't go well. Its now been moved to China for development and manufacture.

Smart / shrewd business people (lets use John Eassie as our example) would jump ship and bring everything back home in a second if Australian production facilities could undercut or equal the Chinese. John doesn't like being smegged over by the Chinese, he keeps sending work there because Australians will smeg him just as much and charge a considerable premium to do it!
  GT46C-ACe Deputy Commissioner

Location: Gold Coast QLD
$140 then might equal $250 now but how much has the minimum wage also gone up in that same amount of time? Doubt you'd find a sweatshop in Australia that'll assemble models for what the Chinese can get away with.
  linton78 Train Controller

Location: South Coast NSW
A 25yr old ARkits 45 class has nowhere near the detailing compared to new models (from China or Australia). Auscisions upcoming 45 class has about 100+ more individual detail items, etched brass mesh inserts, etc than the AR model. This equates to higher tooling costs and considerably longer production line assembly times. Research who AR kits originally were and you'll get a better understanding of why they, and similarly SEM, were able to manufacture in Australia. The CPI type increase in the $ over 25yrs is just one factor to be looked at, the cost of raw materials (metal in particular) has skyrocketed, as have Australian labour costs. Taxation law has completely changed, costs of complying with workplace laws have increased, the list goes on.

RMM tried to do their SCT in Australia a few years ago and things didn't go well. Its now been moved to China for development and manufacture.

Smart / shrewd business people (lets use John Eassie as our example) would jump ship and bring everything back home in a second if Australian production facilities could undercut or equal the Chinese. John doesn't like being smegged over by the Chinese, he keeps sending work there because Australians will smeg him just as much and charge a considerable premium to do it!
"Poath Junction"



Hey Poath,

Agree that the models these days are more detailed however in regards to rolling stock people say that the extra detail hardly increases the base price of models, not sure? I guess even having an etch done in Australia these days might be challenging though.

As for the material cost, yes it may be more expensive. One thing for sure is that CAD designing and industrial processes have come along way since the 80s/90s. Maybe like electronic manufacture this may now be, in relation to the CPI cheaper. Don't know, I don't think anyone would know unless they are in the business.

I wonder how long it takes for the Chinese factory to actually build one of the models from parts? Would it take them two hours? This is after all what they do for a job. What would you have to pay an Australian worker for two hours of assembly work? Is it skilled labour. Maybe it could be a new work for the dole scheme ha ha. It would be great to talk to John Smithers, I think he is the proprietor of RMM wasn't he.

I don't / didn't know either Arthur Robinson or Rodney James. I remember reading the article on 'Wingam' in an AJMR and the theme of supporting Australian manufactures is strong. Would you enlighten us as to why, if I knew more about them, I would understand how they were able to manufacture models in Australia. I am genuinely interested.

Anyway it does not really matter I suppose. I might box my AR Kits 45 class and stick it on the top shelf of my cabinet, for it seems it will/is an Australian marvel of model engineering and manufacture, never to be seen again.
  TheBlacksmith Chief Commissioner

Location: Ankh Morpork
The actual cost of making injection moulded items is quite low, however the cost of making the tooling is the exact opposite, and the main reason it is not done in Australia any longer is that the manufacturers took everything to China, sold the machinery and laid off the workers.

So in order to get back into business, you would have to buy new machinery, find workers with the necessary skills (just a clue here, no-one is training in those skills any more because there is no demand for them), and set up from scratch. All of that in a highly regulated and expensive workplace. It is just not going to happen.

David Foulkes of Steam Era Models is an example of something that does not exist any longer. He mostly makes his own tooling, then gets the plastic run off by a small company, sources all his packaging and documentation locally and employs local workers to come in and package the product. Then he sells it at an outrageously low price considering the work involved.

For someone to set up a company like the Chinese ones, you would have to employ CAD engineers to design everything, tooling, paint, graphics, packaging etc. Then acquire the necessary machinery, CNC spark erosion machines for producing the moulds, plus CNC machines for creating turned, milled and stamped components. Next, buy injection moulding machines, set-up workstations for assembly of the plastic components, paint stations, pad-printing stations. Then source packaging and printed materials, boxes etc.

The cost would be enormous, with no guarantee that having done so, you would have any on-going products to manufacture. The Chinese can only make this work because they have a queue of people waiting to get their product made.

Many years ago we embarked on a one-way road, we wound down, disposed of, sacked and closed all the manufacturing of this type in Australia. And now there is no going back in the foreseeable future.
  linton78 Train Controller

Location: South Coast NSW
The actual cost of making injection moulded items is quite low, however the cost of making the tooling is the exact opposite, and the main reason it is not done in Australia any longer is that the manufacturers took everything to China, sold the machinery and laid off the workers.

So in order to get back into business, you would have to buy new machinery, find workers with the necessary skills (just a clue here, no-one is training in those skills any more because there is no demand for them), and set up from scratch. All of that in a highly regulated and expensive workplace. It is just not going to happen.

David Foulkes of Steam Era Models is an example of something that does not exist any longer. He mostly makes his own tooling, then gets the plastic run off by a small company, sources all his packaging and documentation locally and employs local workers to come in and package the product. Then he sells it at an outrageously low price considering the work involved.

For someone to set up a company like the Chinese ones, you would have to employ CAD engineers to design everything, tooling, paint, graphics, packaging etc. Then acquire the necessary machinery, CNC spark erosion machines for producing the moulds, plus CNC machines for creating turned, milled and stamped components. Next, buy injection moulding machines, set-up workstations for assembly of the plastic components, paint stations, pad-printing stations. Then source packaging and printed materials, boxes etc.

The cost would be enormous, with no guarantee that having done so, you would have any on-going products to manufacture. The Chinese can only make this work because they have a queue of people waiting to get their product made.

Many years ago we embarked on a one-way road, we wound down, disposed of, sacked and closed all the manufacturing of this type in Australia. And now there is no going back in the foreseeable future.
"TheBlacksmith"



Thanks Geoff. Your right the start up cost would be enormous. It's such a shame that we have found ourselves here. I myself like to earn enough money so I can buy things like trains. I guess we have simply priced ourselves out of a the small time manufacturing business. It willbe interesting to see what happens when China does eventually become the not so cheap place. Like already said, other companies are already looking for alternate sources for manufacture.

Maybe with new manufacturing technology, a possible advancement in rapid prototyping, we may see something change? I know where you can buy a mechanism for that Australian made body shell ha.

Linton
  a6et Minister for Railways

Thanks Geoff. Your right the start up cost would be enormous. It's such a shame that we have found ourselves here. I myself like to earn enough money so I can buy things like trains. I guess we have simply priced ourselves out of a the small time manufacturing business. It willbe interesting to see what happens when China does eventually become the not so cheap place. Like already said, other companies are already looking for alternate sources for manufacture.

Maybe with new manufacturing technology, a possible advancement in rapid prototyping, we may see something change? I know where you can buy a mechanism for that Australian made body shell ha.

Linton
linton78

Linton

The issue in China these days, has its embryo since the new owners of SDK who also are those who own the Bachmann brand, which primarily is the branch that makes the Bachmann China Rail products, as well as others. This is pretty well the 3rd owner from its original one, those modelling China rail also have been getting a rough end as models promised them for around 3 years now have not eventuated as the owners shift & change from one product to another, & lucky to bring out reruns of the old.

The problems beyond that are that models built at SDK now, & then shifted off to other factories require retooling to fit the new factories machinery, also the new factories motors, a factor TOR acknowledged with their diesels & a part reason behind the 48cl delay.  Looking into it, you will find the models that have been delayed by Austrains & Eureka are those being made at the old factory rather than the new one.

The other reason is that for around 3-4 years now the Government has built in wage rises every year which begin at the end of the Chinese New Year, usually at least 10% for the lower paid migrant workers. These workers cause the huge travel problems each year with more than usual overcrowding as they travel days to get home once a year to their families, before they venture back for another year, IF they decide to go back.

The last bit is the crunch part. Even at the low wage end the assembly & low end factory workers receive its actually a furtune back in the villages, my last trip to China for myself & wife (her first) two years ago this month I paid out the most expensive meals in Beijing of 2 course each at the rate of RMB42 = $AU8.00 the Aus dollar at the time was well over parity with the US $ so it would make the cost around $10.00 at the moment, but no more than $12 perhaps. That restaurant was within an 8 minute walk to the entrance of the Forbidden City, the costs in the provinces would be much less than half of that.

What it means is that what the worker earns for a year in the places such as Shen zhen could allow their family to survive for several years at least, also the prices for westerners is more than for the locals. This issue of how much they get is a two headed serpent for the government as the workers need the extra to live in the cities & the factories to offer enough for the workers to return, which has been a big problem since the Olympics.

The less workers return after CNY, the more they have to train again which takes some months, meaning lost production, some of the factories in the past & likely still do offer incentives such as on return to reimburse the return train tickets for the holiday, also a cash payment as bonuse, both have worked but seems to be less & less an incentive though.

The thing is that the factories that these exporting companies have are not the backyard sweat shops that many think but quite well equipped & lit I was sent & still have a series of photo's taken in one of them taken some years back & is on par with many here & in some cases better.

Consider also that even low paid workers here do it tough as the basic wages for many are less than $20.00 an hour, & subject to threats.

In saying all of this, while the prices are rising & will continue to do so, there will come a price point when resistance will take hold & I think we are very close to that now, I for one am at the point of not really needing much more & a couple of mates I know have actually closed their wallets. The only thing that we will not know in all of this is what are the said as against the real in regard to margins between costs & returns.  The initial costs are high but what about reruns, with no extra tooling needed?
  TrainTree Train Controller

Location: Eltham
The manufacturing industry is quietly starting to go through yet another revolution. 3d printing will eventually eliminate the need for the tooling aspect. While I agree that it has a long way to go, it will get there in time.

The initial revolution wont come from home based 3d printers for quite some time, but from industrial quality printing devices which will be able to supply on demand. You don't need to change over your tooling to change the production line, you simply say print me 10 of these and 2 of something else.

3d Printing need to solve the definition issues and eventually they will need to be able to produce correctly coloured items, but remember how long ago we went from dot matrix printers to full colour laser printers.  

A smart hobby shop a long way into the future will have its own 3d printers and a customer will order on line and come in a day later and pick up their item freshly printed. They will pay royalties to the cad designer and pay for maintenance and raw materials for the printers. This is the revolution Australia will need to happen to get back into the manufacturing industry. But right now we should be making the 3d printers and then redeveloping our manufacturing skills.

Just my thoughts.
  Iain Chief Commissioner

Location: Concord, NSW
"David Foulkes of Steam Era Models is an example of something that does not exist any longer". Are you going to tell him Geoff or should I?

Iain Stuart
  Kevin Martin Chief Train Controller

Location: Melbourne
Thanks Geoff. Your right the start up cost would be enormous. It's such a shame that we have found ourselves here. I myself like to earn enough money so I can buy things like trains. I guess we have simply priced ourselves out of a the small time manufacturing business. It willbe interesting to see what happens when China does eventually become the not so cheap place. Like already said, other companies are already looking for alternate sources for manufacture.

Maybe with new manufacturing technology, a possible advancement in rapid prototyping, we may see something change? I know where you can buy a mechanism for that Australian made body shell ha.

Linton
linton78

No we 'haven't priced ourselves out of the small time manufacturing business'. We decided to GIVE IT AWAY, by buying a cheaper product, made by 3rd world workers on lousy sweatshop wages and conditions. At the same time, we wondered why we can't compete.
Then when it goes pear shape in China, we want to re-invent the wheel and make it locally & surprise, surprise, we don't have any suitable tooling any more, because what we had, went for scrap and replacement tooling is WAY too expensive.

Even corporate customers are having problems getting their products made on time & to specifications.

Kevin Martin
  Aaron The Ghost of George Stephenson

Location: University of Adelaide SA
I'll be honest and say I don't think Chinese manufacturing is that bad, and these days I don't think Australian manufacturing is/was that good. I semi regularly send some manufacturing work to china because to be frank the product arrives quicker and is of higher standard than I can get locally. The cost is of course lower too, but for me it's the speed of service that I rate above all else when prototyping, I just cannot wait 3-6 weeks at any cost when the Chinese will run my production within five business days and despatch here in about the same time. A week and to a week and a half (to nearly five weeks) makes a big difference when you need a prototype result urgently in order to continue on a project. 99% of errors in the design when it gets back to me are my own doing, 1% of errors (probably twice ever) have been errors featured in the prototype and not represented in my design. Getting these things manufactured in Australia would mean a substantially longer lead time (why, it's not as though they're that busy), and much higher cost. Then when there is the invariable error, several days of checking the product against the design to identify who's error I am seeing, most often this being resolved to an incorrect production of the design.

The AU auto industry is not a great deal different, YEARS of continuously manufacturing cars that quite frankly nearly no one wanted and hence bought, under equipped, over priced and roughly built in comparison with imported product.

I used to work at the very top end of TV sales, we're talking hand made TVs here, not general release gear, no machines, assembled in Japan (on occasion Germany) by dudes with screwdrivers and white suits and gloves. Even as TV production moved from Japan to China/Malaysia and Thailand my customers would constantly say 'Why are all TVs made in China these days?' Invariably my response was 'because you couldn't afford to buy the product if it was made here, and even if you could afford it, you wouldn't want to buy it...' And that was the truth, as confronting as that was.
  TheBlacksmith Chief Commissioner

Location: Ankh Morpork
"David Foulkes of Steam Era Models is an example of something that does not exist any longer". Are you going to tell him Geoff or should I?

Iain Stuart
Iain

He knows already.....
  TheBlacksmith Chief Commissioner

Location: Ankh Morpork
The manufacturing industry is quietly starting to go through yet another revolution. 3d printing will eventually eliminate the need for the tooling aspect. While I agree that it has a long way to go, it will get there in time.

The initial revolution wont come from home based 3d printers for quite some time, but from industrial quality printing devices which will be able to supply on demand. You don't need to change over your tooling to change the production line, you simply say print me 10 of these and 2 of something else.

3d Printing need to solve the definition issues and eventually they will need to be able to produce correctly coloured items, but remember how long ago we went from dot matrix printers to full colour laser printers.

A smart hobby shop a long way into the future will have its own 3d printers and a customer will order on line and come in a day later and pick up their item freshly printed. They will pay royalties to the cad designer and pay for maintenance and raw materials for the printers. This is the revolution Australia will need to happen to get back into the manufacturing industry. But right now we should be making the 3d printers and then redeveloping our manufacturing skills.

Just my thoughts.
TrainTree

It would have to be a long way off, because the quality of the print and the durability of the materials leaves a lot to be desired at present, dare I say near unusable. Plus the cost of production of a 3D print is probably around 20 times what it costs to make an injection moulded item, even costing in the tooling.

Also, with regard to the colour, you can already get multi coloured items out of a 3D printer, but again, completely unsuitable for models. Even in the injection moulding world, self-coloured items look like lollypops.

I have worked with 3D printers for a long time, and about a year ago was seriously looking at buying a fairly top-end machine. But the economics did not stack up and I dropped the idea. The main reason is that few people are willing to go the route you suggest, because it also means having to source a mechanism (can't be 3D printed) plus decals etc. And modellers are increasingly unable to do any of these basic modelling tasks any long.

Much easier to buy a RTR Chinese made model.
  a6et Minister for Railways

It would have to be a long way off, because the quality of the print and the durability of the materials leaves a lot to be desired at present, dare I say near unusable. Plus the cost of production of a 3D print is probably around 20 times what it costs to make an injection moulded item, even costing in the tooling.

Also, with regard to the colour, you can already get multi coloured items out of a 3D printer, but again, completely unsuitable for models. Even in the injection moulding world, self-coloured items look like lollypops.

I have worked with 3D printers for a long time, and about a year ago was seriously looking at buying a fairly top-end machine. But the economics did not stack up and I dropped the idea. The main reason is that few people are willing to go the route you suggest, because it also means having to source a mechanism (can't be 3D printed) plus decals etc. And modellers are increasingly unable to do any of these basic modelling tasks any long.

Much easier to buy a RTR Chinese made model.
TheBlacksmith

3D printing does have its proponents, & they are likely to drive it, & perhaps it may mean it gets higher up the list of future production prospects.

On the other hand I think that the next primary move to new methods will be in the brass hybrid method that has been adopted by BLI in the U.S, the quality is up there & the price is very much in the plastic arena.  Some manufacturers here have adopted other methods which provide for limited run processes but can also keep costs down, so I do not think the hobby is standing still in regards to developments.
  David Peters Dr Beeching

Location: "With Hey Boy".
One thing I hate about Chinese made top of the range models is in later years you will not get them fixed when something goes astray. If out of warranty you end up with a very expensive set of ornaments after a while. If you cannot fix them yourself or get similar models for parts. They are not made to really last and to be honest how many will still be around in thirty years or more.

Old Tri-ang models while many will laugh at the crudeness of the actual models will still be around and some running because you can still get or make parts for these locomotives simply. Modern locomotives nice as they are, are not in the same league though, if they last a couple of years without problems most are happy, but watch for a lot of unhappy modellers in a few years that went out and bought all these Chinese made Australian locomotives when they all start to fail, I include myself in this as well as I have a fair few of them now.
  Hendo Deputy Commissioner

One thing I hate about Chinese made top of the range models is in later years you will not get them fixed when something goes astray. If out of warranty you end up with a very expensive set of ornaments after a while. If you cannot fix them yourself or get similar models for parts. They are not made to really last and to be honest how many will still be around in thirty years or more.

Old Tri-ang models while many will laugh at the crudeness of the actual models will still be around and some running because you can still get or make parts for these locomotives simply. Modern locomotives nice as they are, are not in the same league though, if they last a couple of years without problems most are happy, but watch for a lot of unhappy modellers in a few years that went out and bought all these Chinese made Australian locomotives when they all start to fail, I include myself in this as well as I have a fair few of them now.
David Peters

David,

It is not the fault of the Chinese, it is the fault of the importers who do not want to spend the money on additional runs for spare parts. Look at the US manufacturers, they use the same Chinese factories and factor in spare parts.


Cheers,
Hendo
  a6et Minister for Railways

David,

It is not the fault of the Chinese, it is the fault of the importers who do not want to spend the money on additional runs for spare parts. Look at the US manufacturers, they use the same Chinese factories and factor in spare parts.


Cheers,
Hendo
Hendo

I would agree here, especially when reruns are being commissioned, the importers should bring in & allow for spares to be produced, the question is though especially in Oz is how many & what spares do they bring in?

In the U.S there is almost a constant state of reruns, & so spares are possibly limited in each run but, enough to cover any problems, likewise they would have the benefit like those here of having duds & faulty models to provide spares from as well.  

The thing is though, as I asked, how many & for how long do they bring in spares for. & in many cases, what are the spares that will be needed?  On AMR this question was raised but a reply from one of those involved at TOR regarding motors told of how many spares were brought in, but ATM there are none left, & many of those sold also went into other models as well.  

At least TOR did provide spares/replacements but with the change of factories, they can apparently no longer access certain spares from the old factory, & reruns when they come from the new factory, will have different motors & other components, that will be not suitable for those produced at the old one, although in the news was they were getting new wheel gears for the problems associated with the 44cl.

I also understand that Eureka also has some spares for their models as well especially with their loco's.
  FirstStopCentral Chief Train Controller

Talking to at least one of the local manufacturers / importers, the Chinese will not do a run of individual parts as spares (even at the same time as the locos), so the importer just has to order additional complete locos to utilitise as spares. Packaging, handling, etc. of the spares has to be done, so just easier to ship complete locos.

Paul

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