This got my blood boiling and my brain to explode (almost)!

toorski

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https://arstechnica.com/information-technology/2019/06/apple-moves-mac-pro-production-from-texas-to-china/?comments=1

Quote from above:

Apple "struggled to find enough screws" when it began making the 2013 Mac Pro, a New York Times article explained. "Tests of new versions of the computer were hamstrung because a 20-employee machine shop that Apple's manufacturing contractor was relying on could produce at most 1,000 screws a day." The screw shortage and other problems caused a months-long delay in Mac Pro sales.

It's mentioned right there.

Manufacturing in China gets you access to state-of-the-art factories and an extremely flexible supply chain. If your partner runs out of screws, you can easily get them from someone else.

Manufacturing is often better in China. It can be worse. But it can also be way better, and makes for much easier supply chains/logistics.

And for a lot of products, the landing costs pre-tariffs were equal between China and the US.

This happens when idiotic so cold journalists, dumb-ass commentators and consumer gadget making Corps get their stories out to the public.

Apple, the so called almost trillion dollars worth (on paper) US Corp. can only find a single screw manufacturing vendor in USA with 20 employees to make screws and that’s one of the reasons why Apple decided to move their Mac-Pro production to China!

I’ve spent over 30 years in 3 largest global US Manufacturing Corporation that are involved in design, development, production and procurement of parts or part-assemblies from local US and foreign vendors. We used foreign vendors from Japan, Germany, Switzerland and Italy only when they held patents or a processing technologies that we didn’t have; not because their products or manufacturing of those products were better or less expensive.

But cheap screws? If there aren’t (rly?) enough cheap screw manufacturers in USA for a consumer level computers made by Apple, then screw you - gtfo and move to China!
 

CraigHB

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Have to see which way this thread goes before I say anything, but I have some comments I could make about manufacturing in China. I actually do have some experience with contracting production services from over there.

I also have my opinions about Chinese industry in general. It definitely a has considerable influence on various aspects of life in the USA. For sure there's some misconceptions on either side of the argument.

But yeah, claiming they had to go to China to get screws is some pretty awful journalism.
 

Crivens

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One could say that maximizing shareholder value drives you to cheap screws, and now I remove my tongue from my cheek.
 

Phishfry

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I didn't read the article but Penn makes fasteners for industry. Period.
Small screws are made on special machines and not sent to the general machine shop.
A single screw machine can turn out 3600 fasteners an hour per spindle.
Trust me when I say that Penn has more than one screw machine. They have hundreds spread over 3 facilities.
They also have many competitors in the US.

Here is an overview of a screw machine:
:
 
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Crivens

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Yes, but that are, like, expensive screws. No doubt.

In the end, they will never tell you the truth.
 

Phishfry

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Knowing how Apple likes to screw people my only guess is they wanted a special screw head for security features.
Something like that could add to delay to make custom tooling, but once in production they can chuck these parts out by the thousands an hour.
 

Spartrekus

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it is a good move to go to China, in order to make more money, reading your post. They wont find screws in US after some years.

To make good screws or fasteners, you need cost-efficient, modern, production lines. China have that, US not.
The US industry is not pushed like it is done in China. This is a new China, because China has the money.
You need alloying elements, e.g. steels with Cr, V, ... Mn.
You need electricity, cheap from Russia and new renewable energy, e.g. solar.,...
... you get all what you need in China.

China rules the world somehow.

check here.
View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T9l2yCH5wBk
 

Phishfry

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Well I read the ARS article and the accompanying NYTimes piece about Flextronics. It really seemed quite false.

This particular quote is such bull.
Another frustration with manufacturing in Texas: American workers won’t work around the clock
Last Friday night I went to work at 4pm and we had to finish the second propeller shaft for the boat to leave.
I worked until 6:30am the next day and returned at 4pm Saturday night to watch the fiberglass coating dry while rotating in the lathe.'
We had the two tailshafts done in 14 days. Our customer had his boat in the water on Tuesday as scheduled.
It was tight time schedule. I was hero and worked 14 hours all night to make the schedule happen.
Did I see anything but a few extra bucks in my check? No. It was business as usual on the waterfront.
 

Phishfry

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They wont find screws in US after some years.
You need to come visit this country before talking smack.
This article is pure propaganda.
Yes US manufacturing is ill, that does not mean it is down. The problem is optics.
Your silly barchart assumes a Communist future for China.
Me think them all them kids are going to act up soon and hopefully they chop off some Reds heads. They deserve it. That system needs to be eliminated.
See Hong Kong. People can be pushed too far. I hope the Chinese overthrow the commies one day. Then your chart goes POOF.
No more "Glorious Leader" and all this sick stuff we ignore and pretend is normal.
 

Spartrekus

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You need to come visit this country before talking smack.
This article is pure propaganda.
Yes US manufacturing is ill, that does not mean it is down. The problem is optics.
Your silly barchart assumes a Communist future for China.
Me think them all them kids are going to act up soon and hopefully they chop off some Reds heads. They deserve it. That system needs to be eliminated.
See Hong Kong. People can be pushed too far. I hope the Chinese overthrow the commies one day. Then your chart goes POOF.
No more "Glorious Leader" and all this sick stuff we ignore and pretend is normal.
Hanging posters everywhere of your dear leader is brainwashing. That is the communist way. One channel on TV.
Descent is not tolerated. Truth be damned.
That is what China is about. Who cares if they turn it into a waste dump. Smog so bad you cant see. No problem. We saved a few bucks.
Communism is not a good thing. You are right.
What to do?
 

Phishfry

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I think the kids there will settle it and hopefully this race to the bottom ends.
 

Phishfry

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To make good screws or fasteners, you need cost-efficient, modern, production lines. China have that, US not.
The US industry is not pushed like it is done in China. This is a new China, because China has the money.
How many innovative devices have Chinese companies themselves developed? They seem to be great at copying things. But designing?
Just how far can you get by copying other people?
 

Spartrekus

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How many innovative devices have Chinese companies themselves developed? They seem to be great at copying things. But designing?
Just how far can you get by copying other people?
Sorry but research is today more advanced and innovative in China than the research in US.
Maybe 10 years ago, this was likely true, but today US are copying on China. Look research and scientific publications, China rules again.
China is equipped with best technologies for research. Check in Nature how many manuscripts are from Chinese Universities.

Because China can invest in most advanced technologies for education, industry,... China have an huge advantage.
Since China exists, the system has considered education and knowledge to be of major importance.

You can buy a production line, designed by engineers in China.

Next, Japan was always ahead, top research, top innovation,...
 

Crivens

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One example: paper money was first done in china.

They also are pretty efficient in getting things done. Renovating a busy bridge over a river does not take years but hours. And yes, copying gets you only up to the original, but they copy from everyone, and they don't copy stupid things. Or have you seen a chinese student loan bubble?
 

Phishfry

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Next, Japan was always ahead, top research, top innovation,...
Man you need to read some.
You see, after we nuked them into submission (after they attacked Pearl Harbor) we sent our best scientists to help rebuild their society.
This was called the Marshall Plan.Japan Reconstruction
We helped rebuilt their country and trained their manufacturing people in SPC.
25 years later they were like China today. Flourishing. Making US companies really compete and requiring R&D to keep up.
Where is Japan now? In the 1980's they were buying NY skyscrapers and everyone was afraid of them taking over.
 

scottro

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To the point where Michael Critchton wrote a novel warning of the danger of Japan. By the way, I would recommend everyone who can, go to Peace Park in Hiroshima and look at the museum there, including the section of sidewalk with a body's imprint on it.

Crivens, the loan bubble joke did make me literally laugh out loud.

As for the original post--Apple probably wanted some unusual,difficult to remove and replace screw, because that's how they roll. It may have been easier to find in China, and no doubt, was much cheaper to make. But if your head is going to explode when a large company in the US tells a lie, or screws <heh, see what I did there> people, I would suggest no one stand too close, lest they be covered in brains and skull fragments.

But it is good to get angry about things like that. I'm old now, but one hopes the younger generations will help shape the world into a better place. When you see things like that, see if there's anything you can do to change it, and boring though it sounds, a letter or phone call to your representatives might be the place to start. That goes for any of you angry about anything. If you see laws making someone's life harder, look at what you can do to change it. I'm speaking for the US now, I know little enough about it, let alone other countries, but a lot of them do have options for you to let your elected representative know. And regardless of their honesty, they want to stay in office, so sometimes they actually do the right thing if enough of their constituents demand it.
 

OJ

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I don't think that kind of "journalism" is worth reading past the first fanciful mistake. Twenty employees making 1000 screws per day - assuming an 8 hour work day, that's 6.25 screws per employee per day. That is just garbage, and not fact. For sure there are complicated screws that may be hand made, but certainly not for computers. The rest of the "facts" are likely to be just as fanciful. Perhaps it wasn't Apple. Perhaps it wasn't China. Perhaps none of this happened.
 

Phishfry

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Maybe working for Apple in prototyping is a nightmare.
It seemed to me that a prototype would not need 28,000 fasteners.
It also sounded like they were changing the design a bunch at the last minute.
I know them type customers. You finally have to put your foot down and say "no more changes" or we charge more.
If you showed up to Flextronics or Jabil with some actual schematics and blueprints I am sure they could build whatever you need.
Would it be competitively priced? Probably not. $3 dollars an hour versus $25 is a long way to bridge.
For a $3000-$6000 dollar computer I would say they could still make money.
 

Crivens

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Cost of labor is not that problem as many would like you to think. The more expensive a thing is, the smaller is the labor part in it. I have only the figures for a VW Golf (one Porsche manager did one shop talk too much for his career) but the labor part is about 5% there for VW. And now consider the threat about relocating factories again. That has more to do with tax evasion or cost of environment protection.
What apple does here is slimming down the parts chain. Instead of shipping all parts separately, they ship the complete box.

Edit: also keep in mind that now a MacPro is sold from China to the US, not the other way. Pinning that on screws is a huge binary-4 salute to those who want trade regulated.
 

Crivens

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OJ that is 20 per day per person or 2.5 per man hour. Or it is 90 persons management, 7 sales, 2 beancounters and one poor sod to run the shop.

scottro That was not a joke. They also learn what not to do.
 

unitrunker

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Well I read the ARS article and the accompanying NYTimes piece about Flextronics. It really seemed quite false.
Flextronics in Austin seems to run two shifts. There is no graveyard shift yet. This based on the number of cars in the parking lot.
 

hitest

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Interesting read, thank you. Apple makes 70% of its profits from iPhones, the rest comes from hardware and services. I would never buy an Apple laptop for myself. I may buy an Apple laptop for my daughter when she enters university depending on which faculty she selects. The free market will decide the fate of Apple.
 

Spartrekus

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Interesting read, thank you. Apple makes 70% of its profits from iPhones, the rest comes from hardware and services. I would never buy an Apple laptop for myself. I may buy an Apple laptop for my daughter when she enters university depending on which faculty she selects. The free market will decide the fate of Apple.
For students, there is nothing better than learning opensource software.
You may give at your home an Unix machine, BSD or even Linux.
Bring it KDE if you would like or think good, there is a cool desktop and it is libre.

The use of opensource, free, libre software is important for educative perspective. Certainly the first step is to use libreoffice, gnuplot, tex, ...
 
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toorski

toorski

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At least Elon Musk admitted that his experience from developing software for on-line payment system did not help him much when he got involved with manufacturing of EV, solar panels, deep cycle rechargeable batteries, building rockets and boring tunnels . R&D, design, testing, manufacturing, QA and compliance of tangible things or products are not ez, very expensive and take much longer to make and profit from than gluing, screwing and packaging of cheap electronic components from China or developing software for screwing people out of their minds and money over Internet.
 

CraigHB

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Missed my chance to get in on the first talk of China industry. Lay me say, a little belated, China is like the wild West of industry right now, little regulation and cheap labor. They're profiting hugely and not by chance, there's some shrewd political maneuvering behind it as well. They have the money and ownership of industry to be of great influence in the world economy. It's actually pretty scary.

That said, China comprises a fascist government with less stability. Things can go ugly with them, and I think they will sooner than later (look at the unrest in Hong Kong). When that happens overseas companies so heavily vested in Chinese production will be hung out to dry. They'll either rebuild or the tables will turn demoting first world countries to third world ones.
 
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