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With supermarkets in Britain issuing recalls and rumours of more toys of Chinese origin failing to meet CE requirements it could be a very good holiday season for Hornby and Bachmann as their products could literally be the only toys left on the shelves this Xmas!

It is absolutely absurd to think that Hornby and Bachmann will fall into the same trap as other toy manufacturers who appear to have been lackadasical with CE. Hornby take their CE very seriously and no doubt Bachmann do also.

I do wonder though about some of the American imports into the UK as it does seem on the evidence presented that the Americans have less than rigourous quality control procedures.

Whilst not wishing to sound puritanical it does make me slightly angry that companies take capital advantage of poor CE control procedures for commercial gain and I hope every single one of culprits gets caught and locked up for 20 years!


Happy modelling
Gary
 

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Since bachman are chinese owned I'm sure that they would be less likely to cut corners because it's their own profits that would be affected !
 

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Bachmann have had a "lead free" reassurance on the front page of their websites for a couple of weeks now.

Adherence to CE standards probably comes under the jurisdiction of local authority Trading Standards departments. Whilst I am sure that they all have teams dedicated to checking product compliance, I suspect the volume of goods being traded makes it difficult to catch everything. Even so they still take a lot of product off the shelves each year.

The constant pressure to reduce costs will always lead some manufacturers or sub contractors into the temptation of cutting corners such as the lead content in paint. Those who complain vocifierously about high prices should remember that sometimes these calls will tip suppliers over the edge into taking those short cuts.

David
 

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This issue does refer to the paint in some Chinese made products.

I think that if there was a problem, we would know about it already. I hope we don't have a problem though, but I don't know if guys our age are going to lick any locos, so I don't know if the problem would surface...
 

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"I do wonder though about some of the American imports into the UK as it does seem on the evidence presented that the Americans have less than rigourous quality control procedures."

I think you need to see a chinese factory!
Its very difficult to translate "quality control" into chinese!

Peter
 

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Hi Gary - Hornbys QC and product spec is pretty average really. There is NO relevance in your question. Why blame the chinese - its the company product managers and buyers who are careless and who want stuff for nothing that are to blame.

We shouldn't blame the source - we should blame the buyer and reseller for such problems.

Hornbys record in this area is pretty poor actually.... (Their disastrous Digital is a perfect example - Select should never have been sold as it was and is not fit for market)

Apart from that... In the last week I've seen from new hornby over-oiling, no oiling, bad assembly, poor wiring practice & loco's wrongly wired, poor assembly procedures etc. This is a HORNBY product specification and QC specification problem, NOT a Chinese issue... they get what they ask for and specify - and their results are based on what they are prepared to pay for it, no less.

Hornbys better detail and sharper tooling quality on the other hand is largely down to the better quality engineers and machinery that Sanda-Kan have compared to Margates antique gear, and the experience they gained thanks to US brands giving them the expertise during their learning curve.

Frankly, ANY brand could make products as good or better than the current H products - providing their cashflow and product management skills were up to it.... and the chinese could well and truly build a better Rolls Royce if the client would specify appropriately and agree to pay them properly to do it!

On the up side: Their new Royal Scots tooling and general design is a credit to Hornby - Thanks mainly to Sanda-Kans world class engineers, modern machinery and skilled manufacturing staff :) :)

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Hi Peter - not sure where U are coming from with this comment...

Quote "I think you need to see a chinese factory! Its very difficult to translate "quality control" into chinese!"

****I have long experience dealing with China (including indirectly with Sanda-Kan more recently) and the truth is that they can produce with at least as good a quality as any Japanese, EU, UK or US manufacture - and do so at a lesser price because of lower labour costs and controlled costs for materials / services.

example: When Alpine, one of the premiere brands in car stereo moved much of their manufacture to China, their warranty failure rate (already very low) actually dropped close to a further 50% - this was largely down to the fact that the Japanese laid down a rigid QC procedure and materials standards specification. They were amazed that things got better not slightly worse, but then realised they had ASSUMED that Japanese factory people would always do a perfect job, while they rode the chinese hard all the time....

So... The whole issue of quality control SPECIFICATION is down to the company buying the product.

Another much smaller and less significant example, for my my own electronics & other items made in Asia I specify acceptable brands for key components and pay more because of it - as to assembly, all are are 100% QC checked with an active test procedure on every single one - and I pay more because of that too.

As a result I add a few percent to my costs but can confidently offer a goof proof warranty knowing that problems will be consumer created not product related....

The real culprits for supposed "chinese quality" are the brands who drive the brands down at any cost so they can buy cheap and sell dear.... and the cost of their heavy handed approach is usually in lesser material, less time taken (so less checking) and lack of ability so apply standards they won't pay for, so they pay nothing and get equivalent quality.

Anyway... As to the rash of "quality problems" recently, this is largely a political spin issue:

Did you notice that just before it happened, the US had demanded that China revalue their currency or else.. and then China had reminded the US that they could easily dump a HUGE amount of in US bonds if they so wished, effectively lowering the USD value so raising a middle finger to US heavy handedness...

Personally... Give me well specified product out of china in place of most other places every time - they have the skills, the most modern technology and the finest production machinery money can buy, and will respect a Mfr who sepcifies properly and will pay the small amount extra for an excellent product - and do it faster and cheaper than any EU, UK or US source...

Richard
 

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QUOTE (Richard Johnson)Hi Peter - not sure where U are coming from with this comment...

Quote "I think you need to see a chinese factory! Its very difficult to translate "quality control" into chinese!"

****I have long experience dealing with China (including indirectly with Sanda-Kan more recently) and the truth is that they can produce with at least as good a quality as any Japanese, EU, UK or US manufacture - and do so at a lesser price because of lower labour costs and controlled costs for materials / services.

example: When Alpine, one of the premiere brands in car stereo moved much of their manufacture to China, their warranty failure rate (already very low) actually dropped close to a further 50% - this was largely down to the fact that the Japanese laid down a rigid QC procedure and materials standards specification. They were amazed that things got better not slightly worse, but then realised they had ASSUMED that Japanese factory people would always do a perfect job, while they rode the chinese hard all the time....

So... The whole issue of quality control SPECIFICATION is down to the company buying the product.

Another much smaller and less significant example, for my my own electronics & other items made in Asia I specify acceptable brands for key components and pay more because of it - as to assembly, all are are 100% QC checked with an active test procedure on every single one - and I pay more because of that too.

As a result I add a few percent to my costs but can confidently offer a goof proof warranty knowing that problems will be consumer created not product related....

The real culprits for supposed "chinese quality" are the brands who drive the brands down at any cost so they can buy cheap and sell dear.... and the cost of their heavy handed approach is usually in lesser material, less time taken (so less checking) and lack of ability so apply standards they won't pay for, so they pay nothing and get equivalent quality.

Anyway... As to the rash of "quality problems" recently, this is largely a political spin issue:

Did you notice that just before it happened, the US had demanded that China revalue their currency or else.. and then China had reminded the US that they could easily dump a HUGE amount of in US bonds if they so wished, effectively lowering the USD value so raising a middle finger to US heavy handedness...

Personally... Give me well specified product out of china in place of most other places every time - they have the skills, the most modern technology and the finest production machinery money can buy, and will respect a Mfr who sepcifies properly and will pay the small amount extra for an excellent product - and do it faster and cheaper than any EU, UK or US source...
Richard

I think i should have worded my comment far more carefully.

Some of your points i agree with but i'm afraid others i do take issue with. My criticisms of chinese manufacturing are really on 2 main points. the first is perhaps not relevant to your field of electronics (at least not mainstream) and that is the general level of clenliness in the chinese factories. Many chinese simply dont realise that in order to produce precision items (such as model railway equipment) you have to keep the room clean. i am sure we have both watched the programmes on telly where they show the modern call centre spotlessly clean. i am sure buy your writing that you have been to china on a few occations and will know as i do that this represents a very small part of chinese working culture. often if you go up a floor you will see what its really like.
This is not me making out that chinese factories are slums. but this is a fact that is readily recognized buy the chinese government (who are doing their best to sort out the problem).
As i am sure you are aware, in chinese manufacturing, maintainance of equipment very much takes a back seat. and preventative maintanance practicies that we would concider routine in the west are virtually non existant. Again i accept you are from an electronics backround and so things may well be better in that area.
Also this is not an issue of cost. how much does it cost to tell an employee not to keep spitting on the floor

The second point i take issue with is that in your reply you quoted an examply of a japanese manufacturer that moved production to china. to start with i dont think it is fair to compare an ordinary japanese manufacturer to any other one that has someone breathing down their necks all the time (i would also like to know how the figures you have quoted have changed over time. and not just after the initial move. again as the factory starts to degrade and the building that was put together in a hurry starts to leak and the lack of maintanance kicks in)
I would far rather have a japanese product than a chinese one. because the japanese take pride in their work. generally speaking the chinese dont (my girlfriend being the exception of course!!)
If i buy a japanese model, i know it has been put together carefully, i know it has been properly washed before painting, i know the paint shop was imacculatly clean and i know there is absoloutly no contamination whatsoever in the paint (i am talking about dust and foreign object contamination and not lead) i know it has been handled with care throughout the manufactuing process. i simply cant have that confidence with a chinese manufacturer.

You are from an electronics backround so you may have a different slant on this and i think this may be a case of different industries doing things differently. but i would be astonished if a chinese manufacturer could maintain a high standard without building a new factory about evry 2 years.

My initial thoughts about the lead contamination issue was spin as well. but it wouldnt supprise me in the slightest if it was true. The food stories that the chinese government are passing off as spin are totally believe

Peter
 

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You mean I have to stop licking my locomotives ... how else am I to keep them clean?

PS. Not to get in the middle of any argument but I've been to a number of Chinese factories as I suspect Peter has and they run the gamut. From Wafer Fabs in Taiwan (TSMC) to paper goods factories in China and Singapore.
 

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Interesting comments Peter,

If correct about the lack of preventive maintenance, H & S in Chinese manufacturing it makes me wonder how people that perhaps work in a well regulated industry, with good H & S,would feel if they were told that there would be no more preventive maintenance, PA Testing & so on to compete with the far east ?

Double standards ?

So, is the purchaser happy for someone on the other side of the world to make his goods in less than accepted "western" conditions for a lower price, provided the same principles do not apply to him/her in their work.

Personally, I would prefer to pay a little more (& still no actual figures from anyone) & have my goods manufactured closer to home.

Be interesting to see how Chinese made models "stand the test of time" !
 

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QUOTE (dbclass50 @ 23 Sep 2007, 09:39) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>Interesting comments Peter,

If correct about the lack of preventive maintenance, H & S in Chinese manufacturing it makes me wonder how people that perhaps work in a well regulated industry, with good H & S,would feel if they were told that there would be no more preventive maintenance, PA Testing & so on to compete with the far east ?

Double standards ?

So, is the purchaser happy for someone on the other side of the world to make his goods in less than accepted "western" conditions for a lower price, provided the same principles do not apply to him/her in their work.

Personally, I would prefer to pay a little more (& still no actual figures from anyone) & have my goods manufactured closer to home.

Be interesting to see how Chinese made models "stand the test of time" !

I agree with that!

Much better to have the items built closer to home and pay that little bit extra for, would make it so much easier for replacement parts and spares me thinks.

I wonder what the actual price difference is on a per model basis, from those built overseas and here?

For arguments sake lets say a a RRP of £100 what does it cost to make here and overseas, taking into account all the shipping costs etc.

To have the model built here what would that RRP increase to?

It would be interesting to know!

Ian
 

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QUOTE (wiggy25 @ 23 Sep 2007, 11:03) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>I wonder what the actual price difference is on a per model basis, from those built overseas and here?

For arguments sake lets say a a RRP of £100 what does it cost to make here and overseas, taking into account all the shipping costs etc.

To have the model built here what would that RRP increase to?

H & B are, of course well aware of what the RRP would be if the models were built here.

There's about as much chance at H or B telling us an honest answer to that one as a traffic free M25 at 8 in the morning !
 

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The Hornby factory in China is owned by an American company and not the Chinese. So yes, the products are manufactured in China, however the buck for any issues stops with the factory owners who are American.

The Bachmann factory in China is Chinese owned. The fact that both companies talk about production slots makes me think that they both have a similar relationship with their production facilities.

A profile of The Kader Group:-

http://www.kader.com.hk/profile.htm

Now what all this means in terms of quality control and the current spate of toy recalls it is hard to say. Mattel have recently apologised to the Chinese as it appears that Mattel now admit that in part it was their designs and specifications that were flawed. It could be that the Chinese have gone to Mattel and said that unless Mattel make an apology they won't manufacturer any more toys for them!

What this saga suggests is that it does not pay to have all your eggs in one manufacturing basket and whilst this may be impossible for Bachmann to consider certainly Hornby should contemplate manufacturing in more than one country.

Happy modelling
Gary

Richard said:- "(Their disastrous Digital is a perfect example - Select should never have been sold as it was and is not fit for market)"

I do wish Richard would curtail his one man crusade as as he is wrong on both counts. What he means to say is that the Hornby Select is not right for him and that is all he needs to say. As it does exactly what it says on the box and in fact more than it says on the box then emotive words such as "disastrous" make no sense. Chris Leigh and Phil Grainger have a very sensible discussion about Hornby DCC in this months Model Rail magazine (although with Phil not actually answering any of Chris's questions properly in my view but choosing to answer his own) with none of the flowery words used by Richard here. Phil concludes that the Hornby Elite is a DCC machine of high quality and that in his view all Hornby need to do is bring the Select up to the standard of the Elite to satisfy the DCC cognoscenti.

I would ask if the DCC cognoscenti are the customers that Hornby had in mind for their Select?
 

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QUOTE (dbclass50 @ 23 Sep 2007, 11:13) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>H & B are, of course well aware of what the RRP would be if the models were built here.

There's about as much chance at H or B telling us an honest answer to that one as a traffic free M25 at 8 in the morning !

If you read some of the 'spin' they didn't move just because of the cost......yeh right!

http://www.chinabusinessservices.com/blog/?p=368

I couldn't find the review they are talking about in the Sept 2006 issue though, that would be interesting.

EDIT- found it :- http://www.cbbc.org/the_review/review_arch...rofiles/21.html

This is the case study on Hornby moving to China.

Ian

Traffic free M25............mmmm it's not going to happen then!
 

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Hornby now require 4000 Chinese staff to manufacture their models.

Hornby had 600 manufacturing staff in the UK just prior to the move to China.

Hornby turnover has doubled since the move to China so you could argue that it takes 2000 Chinese staff (half of 4000) to produce the models that we see today compared with 600 staff to produce the models of the type Hornby produced 10 years ago.

So the amount of labour required to provide models with great detail is over 3 times what it used to be to produce models with moulded detail.

That might give you some idea as to the likely cost of such a model if manufactured in the UK!


It could be argued that the detail on todays Hornby models is greater than that of current Marklin suggesting higher prices than Marklin!

Happy modelling
Gary

PS I thought Fleischmann was a big company. Model Rail reports that they have just 360 employees!

Compare that with Hornby keeping 4200 in full time jobs!
 

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Politicians answer Gary !

What I (& others) are asking is how much ? - not how many - your answer only tells me that it would take 3.3 Chinese to do my job !

Yes, the newer models are highly detailed, but what about the stuff that has not really changed - (the HST springs to mind) - AFAIK it's not changed at all.

Regarding Richards "One Man Crusade" that sounds like the pot calling the kettle black - what about yours then ?
 

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i really didnt want this to become a Hornby issue.
I dont think hornby is a good example anyway. the models hornby were making before they departed our shores were frankly shockingly bad. if they could be concidered models at all. i would love to be able to say they were good in their day but i dont that can honestly be said.
Thats why at the time i was modelling american.

Peter
 

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QUOTE What I (& others) are asking is how much ? - not how many - your answer only tells me that it would take 3.3 Chinese to do my job !

The Chinese put in a 48 hour week in a plant that has more automation than the old Margate factory. The old Hornby models had about 8 body components to assemble. Current Hornby models have over 100!

I have started another topic which includes figures.

QUOTE Regarding Richards "One Man Crusade" that sounds like the pot calling the kettle black - what about yours then ?

I do not crusade. I provide balance. Model Rail Forum is not here as a knocking shop and the fact is Hornby claim to be selling large numbers of Select units and decoders and if they are this suggests that Hornby understand their customers requirements rather better than DCC experts! This may worry Richard and others in the trade as it could affect sales of their higher margin consoles so their comments may not be entirely without prejudice and this has to be factored in.

New visitors (and we do get a lot!) will read the comment and will not understand the context in which the comment is made.

The Hornby Select has been described by Richard and other DCC cognoscenti as a throw away console. Surely if they are in the trade they should see this as a positive rather than a negative! The fact is the Select can be used in conjuction with an Elite so it is not so throw away as the DCC cognoscenti claim.

And the Select is bringing DCC to the people and many of these people eventually trade up if they want more. No other console to date in the UK (even Bachmann's EZ-Command) has succeeded in bringing DCC to the people. This is all a big positive for UK DCC if only Richard and others could see that!


Happy modelling
Gary
 

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QUOTE (Gary @ 23 Sep 2007, 12:17) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>The Chinese put in a 48 hour week in a plant that has more automation than the old Margate factory. The old Hornby models had about 8 body components to assemble. Current Hornby models have over 100!

I have started another topic which includes figures.
I do not crusade. I provide balance. Model Rail Forum is not here as a knocking shop and the fact is Hornby claim to be selling large numbers of Select units and decoders and if they are this suggests that Hornby understand their customers requirements rather better than DCC experts! This may worry Richard and others in the trade as it could affect sales of their higher margin consoles so their comments may not be entirely without prejudice and this has to be factored in.

New visitors (and we do get a lot!) will read the comment and will not understand the context in which the comment is made.

The Hornby Select has been described by Richard and other DCC cognoscenti as a throw away console. Surely if they are in the trade they should see this as a positive rather than a negative! The fact is the Select can be used in conjuction with an Elite so it is not so throw away as the DCC cognoscenti claim.

And the Select is bringing DCC to the people and many of these people eventually trade up if they want more. No other console to date in the UK (even Bachmann's EZ-Command) has succeeded in bringing DCC to the people. This is all a big positive for UK DCC if only Richard and others could see that!


Happy modelling
Gary

Please lets not drag up this debate again. Gary the concensus of evryone apart from you and Hornby is that it simly is not DCC. there are many questions of it that you conveniently ignored on "that thread".
Now can we drop it unless there are any new developements.

This thread was about chinese manufacturing. NOT DCC in any way, shape or form.

Peter
 

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QUOTE Gary the concensus of evryone apart from you and Hornby is that it simly is not DCC

A consensus of 5?


Also agree that comment on DCC product should stay in the DCC section.

Agreed that this topic is about Chinese manufacturing.

Happy modelling
Gary
 
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