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  1. #61

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    Back to the topic ... I certainly no expert like Ron is, but I'd imagine that making a high-quality fillm
    is every bit as much art as science, and that you can't just hand someone a formula and expect
    quality results. In other words, there has to be a tradition of trained personnel, and in this respect,
    combined with a much greater technical control needed - if anyone were to get back in the game
    with color film per se, it would probably be in the Germany or somewhere else in the heart of the EU.
    But why??? I'd much rather spend my money keeping Kodak and Fuji incentified, because they already have high-quality product. The Chinese are certainly proactive in terms of education - you
    should see how many grad stundents they sent over here to UCB etc - but that's all related to anticipated high-volume electronics, chemical engineering, medicine, etc. They know what film is,
    esp large format. But the Chinese govt isn't going to subsidize a tuition in anything like that. It's a
    mfg path that needs continuity with existing experience. And I bet some of the coating and cleanrm
    systems already in place are pretty fussy setups that need very specialized maint.

  2. #62
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    Drew;

    You are correct. In fact, if EK ever shut down the film line, it would take years and millions of dollars to restart it with no trained people. Everyone trained would scatter to other jobs.

    China is certainly able to do the job that EK does or that Fuji does, but would they want to? IDK. I suspect not.

    The patents are out there describing Portra, but can anyone make it? I doubt it. It probably would be better if the Chinese did the R&D on their own material working from scratch so to speak.

    They are doing some fine R&D, but whether they want to invest the millions of dollars into what most feel is a dying market, is problematical.

    PE

  3. #63
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    Quote Originally Posted by DREW WILEY View Post
    but that's all related to anticipated high-volume electronics, chemical engineering, medicine, etc.
    It's not anticipated, it's actually happening.


    Steve.
    "People who say things won't work are a dime a dozen. People who figure out how to make things work are worth a fortune" - Dave Rat.

  4. #64

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    Steve - I'm far more connected to what's actually happening in Chinese mfg than most people. They
    are keenly interested in industrial espionage as it applies to defense, weapons-related computer systems, etc., which is actually a giant industry locally here in the Bay Area. Consumer electronics
    is also a big hit, and medicine. These are smart people. Corporate resolve at our end is a completely
    different story. Most US publicly traded companies and retail chains have exactly one reason to outsource to China - cheap junk and no labor law responsibility. There are certain privately-held
    companies who go there simply so they can put up highly automated plants quickly, which in fact
    use very little human labor at all, cheap or otherwise. But in terms of metallurgy, basic quality control, etc, most Chinese goods at the moment are awful. The very concept of prototyping or
    quality control is almost nonexistent. These simply mass-mfg by copying something, and if something
    goes terribly wrong, adjust after the fact, if at all. I can't imagine anyone putting R&D money into
    traditional color film over there, unless it was somewhow cinematic.

  5. #65
    Steve Smith's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DREW WILEY View Post
    Steve - I'm far more connected to what's actually happening in Chinese mfg than most people..
    Me too. I work for a Chinese manufacturing company: http://www.johnsonelectric.com/en/index.html

    EDIT: Actually, it's a bit more complex than that. I work for the British part (Parlex Europe) of an American company (Parlex) owned by Johnson Electric.


    Steve.
    "People who say things won't work are a dime a dozen. People who figure out how to make things work are worth a fortune" - Dave Rat.

  6. #66

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    I don't know how the system in Britain works, but here in the US we seem to have mastered the skills of putting students under a mountain of debt while at the same time training them for nonexistent "jobs of the future" rather than realistic trades. The Chinese govt subsidizes significant
    numbers of their best students and sends them to major universities here for higher education, with
    an emphasis of physics, chem eng, elec eng, pharm, medicine. These folks are very bright, respect Western values, and certainly aren't Commie lackeys. But due to certain obvious natl security sensitivites, they don't have education access to just anything. But there are huge gaps in the system when it comes to general manufacture - for instance, in steel they're way way behind even the Taiwanese in terms of predictable quality. Things over there are just done far too off the cuff, and if there is serious investment and attention to detail, it's almost certainly going toward high-volume consumer electronics.

  7. #67
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    Chinese steel is very poor. A family member works at a steel plant and has said that imported Chinese stainless steel is very unpredictable and filled with imperfections.

    PE

  8. #68
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    Quote Originally Posted by DREW WILEY View Post
    I don't know how the system in Britain works, but here in the US we seem to have mastered the skills of putting students under a mountain of debt while at the same time training them for nonexistent "jobs of the future" rather than realistic trades.

    It's much the same here. When I was leaving school, I was going to go to university but didn't in the end. I would have been able to get a government grant which just about paid for accommodation and the tuition fees would have been paid by the government.

    Now our students have to pay for everything and unless they have rich parents, this means taking out a student loan. The only good thing about the loan is that you don't have to pay anything back until you are earning at least 75% of the national average wage. As most students don't walk straight into high paying jobs but are more likely to gain employment where the phrase "do you want fries with that?" is used a lot, many of these loans never get paid off. I think they are written off after twenty five years.


    Steve.
    "People who say things won't work are a dime a dozen. People who figure out how to make things work are worth a fortune" - Dave Rat.

  9. #69

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    Quote Originally Posted by DREW WILEY View Post
    But in terms of metallurgy, basic quality control, etc, most Chinese goods at the moment are awful. The very concept of prototyping or
    quality control is almost nonexistent.

    Absolutely wrong. I work for a company that supplies the manufacturer of Apple's MacBook and MacBook Pro cases. They take a solid block of aluminum and machine it into the final laptop case. EVERY single hole (and there are many dozens if not hundreds) on EVERY SINGLE piece is QC'ed. EVERY SINGLE surface is QC'ed for the proper roughness. Parts are rejected OFTEN for failing to meet the specs. Thousands of parts are manufactured every day there.

    My line of work takes me into Chinese plants very often, all customers who machine metal. I see NO WORSE QC than I would in the US and VERY OFTEN much better. Certainly the equipment that the Chinese have in their plants is WORDS better than what is used in the US. All their equipment is brand new whereas in most cases in the use the machines being used are older than the operator!

  10. #70

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    Quote Originally Posted by DREW WILEY View Post
    I don't know how the system in Britain works, but here in the US we seem to have mastered the skills of putting students under a mountain of debt while at the same time training them for nonexistent "jobs of the future" rather than realistic trades. The Chinese govt subsidizes significant
    numbers of their best students and sends them to major universities here for higher education, with
    an emphasis of physics, chem eng, elec eng, pharm, medicine. These folks are very bright, respect Western values, and certainly aren't Commie lackeys. But due to certain obvious natl security sensitivites, they don't have education access to just anything. But there are huge gaps in the system when it comes to general manufacture - for instance, in steel they're way way behind even the Taiwanese in terms of predictable quality. Things over there are just done far too off the cuff, and if there is serious investment and attention to detail, it's almost certainly going toward high-volume consumer electronics.
    China is making a massive push forward towards commercial aircraft design and manufacture. Airbus assembles the A319 in Tianjin and China is more than half way towards certifying their first passenger jet. Just opened here in Shanghai is a massive (and I mean massive, the size of several football stadiums) aircraft R & D center.



 

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