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    Quote Originally Posted by camscan View Post
    If you are not going to single point the thread then I assume you will cut the thread on 1st op and punch the head 2nd op. If you read post 54 then we are looking for a precise nice looking screw. Your method will not produce this. The screw needs to be cold headed first and the thread to be rolled 2nd op.
    30,000 may be mass production for you but in the screw world it is a short run and on a cold header it is an extremely short run.
    That is my view on it,others may feel differently.
    30,000 may be mass production for you but in the screw world it is a short run and on a cold header it is an extremely short run.

    Same over here, IIRC coldformers don't want to make dies, and set them up for under 1m parts.

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    Quote Originally Posted by CarbideBob View Post
    On this subject you see many say "Of course this can be done here, Apple is wrong".
    So for all those that can or know a place that can ....Did you shoot off a e-mail to Apple helping them with your ability or knowledge?
    What was the response?
    I see lots of talking about what "could" be done, bench-racing and armchair quarterbacking but no actual doing.
    I would think the press on the subject here and more the talk inside such business would bring just about everyone who could do such out of the woodwork.

    I and Apple could care less if you think you know how such could be made. This is all theoretical and bull-poop talk.
    Can you deliver parts? If not can you say who can?
    At some point the rubber hits the road.
    Bob
    It is Apples problem. US Manufacturing is not to blame I do not think, it is a big country. It will be ok once they find a good source for the screws. It takes time.
    Last edited by Spinit; 02-28-2019 at 05:19 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by digger doug View Post
    30,000 may be mass production for you but in the screw world it is a short run and on a cold header it is an extremely short run.

    Same over here, IIRC coldformers don't want to make dies, and set them up for under 1m parts.

    Manufacturing company i use to work for put over a million parts a day (24 hours) which included about a dozen cold formers. This was a threaded part that went through a reed threader as well. I have seen 1.5 million in a day.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hodge View Post
    Manufacturing company i use to work for put over a million parts a day (24 hours) which included about a dozen cold formers. This was a threaded part that went through a reed threader as well. I have seen 1.5 million in a day.
    Good to hear some feedback from "Them That's doing".
    What was the minimum order that included making new dies ?
    As opposed to a repeat order that just requires setting the dies ?

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    Quote Originally Posted by digger doug View Post
    Good to hear some feedback from "Them That's doing".
    What was the minimum order that included making new dies ?
    As opposed to a repeat order that just requires setting the dies ?
    I bet there are people in China that will build those dies for 1/10 what a USA supplier would.

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    Quote Originally Posted by digger doug View Post
    Good to hear some feedback from "Them That's doing".
    What was the minimum order that included making new dies ?
    As opposed to a repeat order that just requires setting the dies ?
    It was a well established product/business that had been around for years. Usually just family change overs. Automotive supplier. Occasionally we would get a call for a new design but a given it would be a long running part number if it went from prototype to a regular part number.

    In all fairness i haven't worked there for quite some time and a large majority has been outsourced to Mexico. The stateside facility is still in business but just a shadow of what it once was. Several changes in ownership over the years.

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    I asked this a while ago and if anyone answered I missed it so I'll ask again.

    To be a supplier to companies like Apple don't you have to be on some kind of "approved supplier list"? I cant imagine any Tom, Dick or Harry can just make an offer.

    I'm an "approved" supplier to a couple of "the big 'uns" and there are (IMO) some weird questions asked but also answered on my part.

    One customer had me declare I didn't use slaves! Makes me wonder who some of their suppliers are

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    Nah.
    No.
    Yes.
    It depends.

    If apple needs 30k screws in 15 days, anyone can bid for it, if apple approaches them or they hear of the job.
    The supplier simply needs to be credible.

    Credible is e.g. sending a photo or sample of a high quality screw they made once.

    "Approved vendors" is for large orders and ongoing stuff.
    Ime Nokia, IBM, Hilton, Sony are quite happy to buy anything from anyone.

    The vendor suppliers credentials and guarantees and makes stuff to specs.
    Mostly a guarantee is a promise to do well.
    All big corps know that oecd small shops would never stiff them - since they won´t get paid if the stuff is not to spec.


    Quote Originally Posted by Gordon B. Clarke View Post
    I asked this a while ago and if anyone answered I missed it so I'll ask again.

    To be a supplier to companies like Apple don't you have to be on some kind of "approved supplier list"? I cant imagine any Tom, Dick or Harry can just make an offer.

    I'm an "approved" supplier to a couple of "the big 'uns" and there are (IMO) some weird questions asked but also answered on my part.

    One customer had me declare I didn't use slaves! Makes me wonder who some of their suppliers are

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    Gordon you are in Europe, and you know full well that some of your large customers, or other companies from the same nations, have been accused of using slave labor during WWII and I suppose other such awful events. Any such thing still going on now? One would like to think not, at least in the 1st word. Some long and bitter history? You bet.

    Apple in particular (and the whole tech industry) has faced questions over minerals extracted in "blood mining" in various bits of Africa. And labor that isn't literal slavery but looked awfully similar (at least to activists and the press) has caused grief for tech companies (including Apple) and for Nike....

    So the question isnt' quite as weird as it may seem.

    There are some similar things in the US that are forced by law, and get asked in silly circumstances, but by law must be asked....

    To point - I think Hanermo nailed it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bryan_machine View Post
    Gordon you are in Europe, and you know full well that some of your large customers, or other companies from the same nations, have been accused of using slave labor during WWII and I suppose other such awful events. Any such thing still going on now? One would like to think not, at least in the 1st word. Some long and bitter history? You bet.
    Bryan, you are in the USA. You had a civil war on slavery.

    I was asked this in 2018 by a UK company.

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    Quote Originally Posted by hanermo View Post
    "Approved vendors" is for large orders and ongoing stuff.
    Ime Nokia, IBM, Hilton, Sony are quite happy to buy anything from anyone.
    Not in my case. It wasn't a large order and so far not ongoing. Who knows, maybe.

    I am though now "an approved vendor".

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    Quote Originally Posted by hanermo View Post

    If apple needs 30k screws in 15 days, anyone can bid for it, if apple approaches them or they hear of the job.
    The supplier simply needs to be credible.

    Credible is e.g. sending a photo or sample of a high quality screw they made once.

    "Approved vendors" is for large orders and ongoing stuff..
    is this statement, presented as fact, from your experience selling to Apple or did you work there?

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    I know with large companies who get their parts made outside that sometimes there are more considerations in selection than just getting a good part as a sample. Because these large companies also wish to have their vendors reflect the values of the company. They believe that it is useful to have values in sync to each other because it is good for business.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mcgyver View Post
    is this statement, presented as fact, from your experience selling to Apple or did you work there?
    I know it’s true in automotive.

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    Quote Originally Posted by camscan View Post
    I know it isn't.
    Maybe not over there.
    I work with Teir one suppliers.
    Even our nuts and bolts need to be traceable.

    As a bonus, Apple didn’t approve the vendor I was helping.
    Not because the solution didn’t work, but because they didn’t have an adequate plan for loss of critical people.

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    If they really wanted to build in USA, they could still source the screws in China. Just as fast as, well, they make them in China. At MacPro sales rates, a year's worth of screws would fit in your carryon luggage. (Heavy, but they'd fit.) So no waiting on the container ship either.

    Full disclosure: Over biz and personal, we have 10+ Macs and 4 iPhones in daily use.

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    The report about not being able to make a particular screw caught my attention as well when it was published.
    Mostly because I had worked in a screw factory in the ‘90s and could identify with how much work went into making a [screw] while employed in such a place.

    My first thought and impression before even beginning to read the story was that the report was true.
    The speculation and theories in this thread discussion as to why this is the case are humorous and sad at the same time.

    The theory I’ll toss into the pile is that a screw has become more complicated to make.
    The machines used to produce them have likely become more complex as well requiring even more skill sets to know about.
    And this is possibly what Steve Cook is referring to when he says there are simply not enough tool makers in the United States to do the job.
    Somewhat of an ironic reverse analogy unrelated to this little mini essay is…
    we’re creating a situation where FEWER skill sets are being required to operate an automobile.

    As memory serves… for a little armchair entertainment, I’ll recall an abbreviated process here for making a screw.

    The screw factory environment was the loudest place I had ever experienced, aside from firing a 106 recoil-less rifle while in the Marine Corps.
    None of the machines were surrounded by any type of noise suppression, so unless you were already deaf, like many who worked there were;
    you wore a set of ear plugs, and additional ear muff protection.

    To speak with a co-worker on the plant floor, you screamed directly at the side of their head.
    And they in turn faced their ear toward your face to hear what you had to say.

    Scrolling back to the 1990’s, (which is not really that long ago) screws were becoming more exotic in type.
    And at that time, the equipment we were using was not labeled as “great” or state-of-the-art by any means.
    Most of the cold heading machines were National’s, (likely 1960s era machines or even older) and the thread rolling equipment was void of any name plates so I don’t recall what make.
    Maybe they were Reed’s? I don’t remember.

    The size and mass of a machine to make a little ole screw is immense. The repetitive back and forth action
    of these hulks running day and night requires the attributes of a heavy, robust item.
    Tooling to fit these machines came from places on the east coast of the United States like Rhode Island.
    Stenciled lettering on a thread rolling die for say a 10-32 screw for example would read:

    P040-6-24576-F REED
    10-32 X 1/2 RH SWAGE FORM 1
    LONG POINT SW-1

    To operate a cold heading machine, or a thread rolling machine required more than a minute to learn or a lifetime to master.
    They were complex machines with a zillion adjustments.

    The master craftsmen in the plant had been there for decades.
    Yet, in spite of their long learned craft, the types of screws these machines were being tasked to make were becoming more difficult to set up.
    TORX head, tamper-resistant screws come to mind as one I recall being a real bastard to run.

    Among some of the other types of fasteners I remember making were brass adjustment screws for carburetors,
    the typical screw found on various sizes of hose clamps, and screws that required additional steps to complete
    such as certain brass screws requiring the slot to be sawed into its head… opposed to being set up by the heading process.

    Raw material in the form of wire (1018, 1022, etc), 420 stainless… or various non-ferrous materials was received wound on large rotatable spools.
    The wire was first drawn through a specific sized die by a massive Reeves drive fitted with a large winding drum.
    For gripping the wire, it was first wrapped several turns around the drive’s drum before heading toward the drawing die fixture.

    A comical memory (and there were lots working in a screw factory) was when the large spool of wire
    became entangled causing the whole spool rack to slowly walk its way to the drive before being mangled
    into a complete mess of useless material. It didn’t happen very often but when it did, it was called an “ass-hole”.

    The speed setting of the Reeves drive was carefully set to coincide with the rate of the cold header.
    Not keeping an eye on the feed could present problems if one was not paying attention.

    As the wire was drawn through the specifically sized drawing die, it was further gripped and pulled to a specified dimension and cut to length by the cold heading press.
    In setting up this operation, the huge flywheel of the press was manually moved slowly to “walk” the process through…
    to make sure the cut length and shaped head was adequate for the next operation etc.

    I’ll skip the process of how the machine had to be set up or how the tooling may have had to be slightly modified.
    It would take several more paragraphs to explain. And I’ve forgotten most of it anyway.

    As all of the required tooling was installed and secured in place, the process of running test pieces began.
    The length of the blank was important, but the centering of the punch over the end of it was crucial as well.
    Some of you have likely noticed for yourself a screw head that was off center from its shank. Or perhaps your screw driver was unable to adequately grip it for driving.
    The cold heading process determined these outcomes. If it was not properly set up, the machine produced an out-of-spec part.

    Certain screws were very difficult to get running successfully. The blame was pointed to many factors.
    The material selected. The tooling set up. The choice of operating speed. The screw design. The caliber of the person doing the job. The machine chosen to produce the part etc.
    It may sound like a myth, or farfetched… but sometimes it could take all day, or all week to get a particular machine properly set up to run production. Just to make a screw.

    Once a part was successfully being made on a machine, you would move on to setting up another job,
    or continue to monitor the machines previously set up and running. Certain jobs were a breeze to run.
    In those situations, you could find a stool to sit on and day dream a little.

    The attached drawing is something I sketched-out… on one of those easy days at the screw factory.
    It was drawn on the back side of a screw print and evidently shows cold header number 172.
    The clip board hanging up on the machine held the screw print drawing and paperwork related to the job.

    In deciding to contribute to this thread, I did look up REED and National to point you to the URLs below
    of manufacturers that remain here in the United States devoted to making machines that make screws.
    A lot has changed since my days in the screw factory. I’m guessing it has not become any easier but more
    complex as eluded to earlier above.

    John

    URLs to a couple machine manufacturers still here in the United States.

    Plant Tour

    Reed Machinery, Inc. specializes in thread rolling machines, assembly and replacement parts, Worcester, MA
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails national-heading-machine.jpg  

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    Quote Originally Posted by d'Arsonval View Post
    The report about not being able to make a particular screw caught my attention as well when it was published.
    Mostly because I had worked in a screw factory in the ‘90s and could identify with how much work went into making a [screw] while employed in such a place.

    My first thought and impression before even beginning to read the story was that the report was true.
    The speculation and theories in this thread discussion as to why this is the case are humorous and sad at the same time.

    The theory I’ll toss into the pile is that a screw has become more complicated to make.
    The machines used to produce them have likely become more complex as well requiring even more skill sets to know about.
    And this is possibly what Steve Cook is referring to when he says there are simply not enough tool makers in the United States to do the job.
    Somewhat of an ironic reverse analogy unrelated to this little mini essay is…
    we’re creating a situation where FEWER skill sets are being required to operate an automobile.

    As memory serves… for a little armchair entertainment, I’ll recall an abbreviated process here for making a screw.

    The screw factory environment was the loudest place I had ever experienced, aside from firing a 106 recoil-less rifle while in the Marine Corps.
    None of the machines were surrounded by any type of noise suppression, so unless you were already deaf, like many who worked there were;
    you wore a set of ear plugs, and additional ear muff protection.

    To speak with a co-worker on the plant floor, you screamed directly at the side of their head.
    And they in turn faced their ear toward your face to hear what you had to say.

    Scrolling back to the 1990’s, (which is not really that long ago) screws were becoming more exotic in type.
    And at that time, the equipment we were using was not labeled as “great” or state-of-the-art by any means.
    Most of the cold heading machines were National’s, (likely 1960s era machines or even older) and the thread rolling equipment was void of any name plates so I don’t recall what make.
    Maybe they were Reed’s? I don’t remember.

    The size and mass of a machine to make a little ole screw is immense. The repetitive back and forth action
    of these hulks running day and night requires the attributes of a heavy, robust item.
    Tooling to fit these machines came from places on the east coast of the United States like Rhode Island.
    Stenciled lettering on a thread rolling die for say a 10-32 screw for example would read:

    P040-6-24576-F REED
    10-32 X 1/2 RH SWAGE FORM 1
    LONG POINT SW-1

    To operate a cold heading machine, or a thread rolling machine required more than a minute to learn or a lifetime to master.
    They were complex machines with a zillion adjustments.

    The master craftsmen in the plant had been there for decades.
    Yet, in spite of their long learned craft, the types of screws these machines were being tasked to make were becoming more difficult to set up.
    TORX head, tamper-resistant screws come to mind as one I recall being a real bastard to run.

    Among some of the other types of fasteners I remember making were brass adjustment screws for carburetors,
    the typical screw found on various sizes of hose clamps, and screws that required additional steps to complete
    such as certain brass screws requiring the slot to be sawed into its head… opposed to being set up by the heading process.

    Raw material in the form of wire (1018, 1022, etc), 420 stainless… or various non-ferrous materials was received wound on large rotatable spools.
    The wire was first drawn through a specific sized die by a massive Reeves drive fitted with a large winding drum.
    For gripping the wire, it was first wrapped several turns around the drive’s drum before heading toward the drawing die fixture.

    A comical memory (and there were lots working in a screw factory) was when the large spool of wire
    became entangled causing the whole spool rack to slowly walk its way to the drive before being mangled
    into a complete mess of useless material. It didn’t happen very often but when it did, it was called an “ass-hole”.

    The speed setting of the Reeves drive was carefully set to coincide with the rate of the cold header.
    Not keeping an eye on the feed could present problems if one was not paying attention.

    As the wire was drawn through the specifically sized drawing die, it was further gripped and pulled to a specified dimension and cut to length by the cold heading press.
    In setting up this operation, the huge flywheel of the press was manually moved slowly to “walk” the process through…
    to make sure the cut length and shaped head was adequate for the next operation etc.

    I’ll skip the process of how the machine had to be set up or how the tooling may have had to be slightly modified.
    It would take several more paragraphs to explain. And I’ve forgotten most of it anyway.

    As all of the required tooling was installed and secured in place, the process of running test pieces began.
    The length of the blank was important, but the centering of the punch over the end of it was crucial as well.
    Some of you have likely noticed for yourself a screw head that was off center from its shank. Or perhaps your screw driver was unable to adequately grip it for driving.
    The cold heading process determined these outcomes. If it was not properly set up, the machine produced an out-of-spec part.

    Certain screws were very difficult to get running successfully. The blame was pointed to many factors.
    The material selected. The tooling set up. The choice of operating speed. The screw design. The caliber of the person doing the job. The machine chosen to produce the part etc.
    It may sound like a myth, or farfetched… but sometimes it could take all day, or all week to get a particular machine properly set up to run production. Just to make a screw.

    Once a part was successfully being made on a machine, you would move on to setting up another job,
    or continue to monitor the machines previously set up and running. Certain jobs were a breeze to run.
    In those situations, you could find a stool to sit on and day dream a little.

    The attached drawing is something I sketched-out… on one of those easy days at the screw factory.
    It was drawn on the back side of a screw print and evidently shows cold header number 172.
    The clip board hanging up on the machine held the screw print drawing and paperwork related to the job.

    In deciding to contribute to this thread, I did look up REED and National to point you to the URLs below
    of manufacturers that remain here in the United States devoted to making machines that make screws.
    A lot has changed since my days in the screw factory. I’m guessing it has not become any easier but more
    complex as eluded to earlier above.

    John

    URLs to a couple machine manufacturers still here in the United States.

    Plant Tour

    Reed Machinery, Inc. specializes in thread rolling machines, assembly and replacement parts, Worcester, MA
    Apple mentioned toolmakers . What toolmakers no longer exist? I am thinking what you describe about the screw making in the nineties is pertinent just as you say. I do think the machines today are much newer tech. I know the ones in China are newer. To move the work to China there was likely a lot of benefit provided in the best equipment and the setup of a new workforce there. This did not happen overnight and if we are that far behind as Apple declared then it will take time to overcome. Seems when they placed the order they did not have a properly equipped vendor to do them.

    That is on Apple as they moved all the way across the world and made sure the right equipment and workforce were there to do the job. Did Apple lose their ability to choose a proper supplier? If it is true that there are not any companies that can make the screws it remains neither proven nor unproven at this point really.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ries View Post
    Regardless of what you think of Apple products, this was an experiment to see if they could manufacture in the USA.
    So, they picked a low volume product, and one that is the most expensive computer they sell, figuring it would cost more in the USA, but that the high end computer could more easily absorb higher costs than a cheaper one could.

    The shop that made this is a pretty modern, high tech shop, with a mix of old screw machines, modern swiss machines, and VMCs and CNC lathes. its not some garage shop.

    turns out they are a shoulder screw with a torx drive. kind of like these- Screws - VEX Robotics

    and here is the shop- Homepage - Caldwell Manufacturing
    its not a job shop- its a custom screw machine shop.

    The fact is- everything Apple builds is full of custom parts. Usually tricky custom parts.
    They dont use off the shelf fasteners for anything.
    And since this is such a low volume product, they needed small parts runs.

    Of course they could have imported these screws from China, and saved money.
    But the whole point was to try to see if they could make the product in the USA.
    And they did- they still do make this here.
    My guess is that by now, 6 years later, the screws are being made to spec.

    To me, what this article talks about is the actual real world problems of reshoring products.
    Even with the most expensive products, its not easy.

    With cheap products, its really really hard.
    I get told all the time that you could buy a product, drop shipped from China, for 1/10 my bid.

    So, how do we address this-

    do we only build the most expensive, fancy stuff here?
    (this is kind of how CAT and Deere do it- they make the cheap, run of the mill excavators and mini-loaders in China, and they make the giant, expensive, electric mining dump trucks and 400hp 8 wheel diesel tractors with GPS satellite height adjustment in the USA)

    do we go to all automated factories?

    There are definitely companies that are competitive manufacturing in the USA- and even exporting.

    BMW, for example, exports SUVS from South Carolina to China.
    Boeing exports planes from Washington to China.
    Haas exports CNCs from California to China.

    It can be done.
    Do Cat and Deere import the Chinese made equipment for the US market?

    A few years ago Cat bought Bucyrus , which was next door in South Milwaukee. Surface mining electric shovels were made there. But last year Cat vacated the site and sold it to a New York real estate developer who intends to lease it out to commercial tenants.

    Komatsu , not wanting to be left behind, bought Joy Global. P&H MinePro , which was a Joy Global brand , is also next door in Milwaukee and along with Cat/Bucyrus the global leader in surface mining electric shovels. Komatsu' Joy Global/P&H MinePro division is still here.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Miguels244 View Post
    Maybe not over there.
    I work with Teir one suppliers.
    Even our nuts and bolts need to be traceable.

    As a bonus, Apple didn’t approve the vendor I was helping.
    Not because the solution didn’t work, but because they didn’t have an adequate plan for loss of critical people.
    This is part of what can be a years long process with suppliers like Apple and Applied Materials. That companies must constantly work with the suppliers and sink or swim. By degrees they jump through certain hoops and get various audits approved and over time they earn a status with a large supplier. That is is they are tough enough and also if they decide you benefit the big company. It is not so simple as to call and get a part to quote on and then you are in. Not always that easy unless you are really good and well equipped.


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