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Atlas and Bowser Factories Closed

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Atlas and Bowser Factories Closed
Posted by BigDaddy on Monday, July 30, 2018 4:03 PM

I found out about this from gmpulllman in the Diner thread.

Bowser posted on their facebook page:

We have been informed that our foreign factory is closed. This will delay HO and N Ready To Run cars, trolleys, Cal Scale and our locomotives. We are looking for a new factory. All delivery dates are now TBA (To Be Announced). Thanks for all support you have given Bowser.

And Atlas, posted on their website on 7/27:

Atlas has received notification from one of our locomotive and rolling stock suppliers that they have closed their factory. (Please note Atlas track and accessories are NOT affected by this delay.) Atlas is currently working with our network of suppliers to transfer the projects to others for completion. This will cause a delay in some previously ordered products. We apologize for this delay, thank you for your continued support, and will update you with more information as it becomes available.

Evidently this has been discussed in other forums on the internet.  One would think when one hovered over the news tab, on this national model railroad magazine site, that someone would have thought this would be a topic of interest for their subscribes. 

I guess nobody thought that.

Henry

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Posted by Doughless on Monday, July 30, 2018 4:08 PM

Well, with the tariff situation, this thread could get political.  I hope it doesn't go ther.  

Any thought Atlas might relocate to USA, or is the closure specific to that one particular factory?

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Posted by BigDaddy on Monday, July 30, 2018 4:14 PM

We don't know if it's political, only coincidental.  Shinohara closed before the tariffs.  Do we know if everyone uses the same factory, Rapido, Bachman Intermountain and all the rest?

Average factory wage in China is $850/mo, that works out to less than 5.50 an hour, assuming they only work 40/week.  I don't see a move to the US happening.

Henry

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Posted by Doughless on Monday, July 30, 2018 4:22 PM

Average factory wage.  Do you think train assembly is more or less skilled than average?  In some sense, I could see it being more skilled with the tedious nature of the parts and paint being applied these days.

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Posted by BATMAN on Monday, July 30, 2018 4:23 PM

One article I read was the factory closure was collateral damage from the current environmental rampage China is on to clean up their situation and to meet global agreements. 

Rapido opened their own factory.

Brent

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Posted by BATMAN on Monday, July 30, 2018 4:26 PM

Doughless

Average factory wage.  Do you think train assembly is more or less skilled than average?  In some sense, I could see it being more skilled with the tedious nature of the parts and paint being applied these days.

 

Rapido has videos showing the manufacturing process in their factories. Definitely an unskilled labour operation. 

Brent

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https://www.youtube.com/user/BATTRAIN1/videos 

You can never ever out-train poor nutrition.

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Posted by kasskaboose on Monday, July 30, 2018 4:27 PM

Funny this thread appears.  A few weeks ago, MB Klein told me that their supplier for turnouts is delaying shipment.  Perhaps the two issues are related.

Pls avoid the political discussion to avoid this thread getting blocked.

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Posted by richg1998 on Monday, July 30, 2018 4:49 PM

It was being discussed for a few days in the MRH forums but it got off track and locked. Kind of typical for some of the male species.

Not sure the discussion is still there.

Rich

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Posted by BATMAN on Monday, July 30, 2018 4:55 PM

I wonder if Jason/Rapido could see this as an oppourtunity to pick up some of the manufacturing slack. This is done in industry all the time with a company manufacturing parts/products for a competitor. 

Jason certainly has the knowledge as far as the MRR industry goes and if he could manage plant expansion without incurring a lot of cost in the process, he could do well.

Brent

It's not the age honey, it's the mileage.

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You can never ever out-train poor nutrition.

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Posted by richg1998 on Monday, July 30, 2018 4:58 PM

richg1998

It was being discussed for a few days in the MRH forums but it got off track and locked. Kind of typical for some of the male species.

Not sure the discussion is still there.

Rich

 

It did not take long. Another discussion stared up. lol

Rich

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Posted by BigDaddy on Monday, July 30, 2018 4:59 PM

BATMAN
Average factory wage.

BATMAN
Rapido has videos showing the manufacturing process in their factories. Definitely an unskilled labour operation.

The figure I quotes was from a google search for the average wage for an Apple phone factory worker.  They assemble very small parts into an Iphone or MAC or Ipad.  

I saw the same Rapido video.  It may not require a high level of education, but it does require craftsman-like dexterity.  David Popp and I wouldn't make it one day,  gluing grab irons on HO boxcars in China. 

Henry

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Posted by csxns on Monday, July 30, 2018 5:04 PM

kasskaboose
political discussion to avoid this thread getting blocked

Its getting political on the trains forums and it is not locked.

Russell

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Posted by Doughless on Monday, July 30, 2018 5:10 PM

Well, technically I think political editorializing is what should be avoided.  

I'm sure politics here and in China are at least partially driving the closure, I at least hope so.  If not for politics, then its the market that's driving it.

I'm hopeful that we can get to some idea about what the possible impact of the politics has on the situation, how it will be resolved and when, etc.  without commenting on the merits of the politics themselves.

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Posted by Deane Johnson on Monday, July 30, 2018 5:31 PM
I'm inclined to think that politics have nothing to do with the model train factory closing in China. I read where the name of the factory was something like ABBA (not the music group, I hope), and the reason for the closing was the serious illness of the owner. Other factory delays have existed long before this closing came up. They seem to be a way of life.
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Posted by Mark R. on Monday, July 30, 2018 5:32 PM

The problem is purely environmental - has nothing to do with politics / tariffs ....

linkhttps://www.smartchinasourcing.com/chinas-new-environmental-regulations-can-impact-procurement-program/

So far, it has been announced by Atlas, Intermountain, Fox Valley Models and Bowser that they are affected. There are others, but I will let them announce it themselves.

Those not affected are Athearn, Walthers, Scale Trains, Bachmann and Rapido. Jason from Rapido has already posted that he apparently is willing to help where he can.

Mark.

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Posted by BigDaddy on Monday, July 30, 2018 5:32 PM

Doughless
I'm sure politics here and in China are at least partially driving the closure, I at least hope so. If not for politics, then its the market that's driving it.

I don't see that China not buying soybeans begins to be on a par with not selling model trains to the US.  It they shut down the Iphone and HP, and Apple, Dell computer factories, that would be a statement.

At any rate we aren't going to know that, unless someone writes an news story to that effect.  News isn't what it used to be, so we still won't know.

Mark R.
The problem is purely environmental - has nothing to do with politics / tariffs .... linkhttps://www.smartchinasourcing.com/chinas-new-environmental-regulations-can-impact-procurement-program/

Now that makes sense. I watch CNBC World and they have reports from China and the air there and in Hong Kong is filthy.

Henry

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Posted by Doughless on Monday, July 30, 2018 5:43 PM

Mark R.

The problem is purely environmental - has nothing to do with politics / tariffs ....

linkhttps://www.smartchinasourcing.com/chinas-new-environmental-regulations-can-impact-procurement-program/

So far, it has been announced by Atlas, Intermountain, Fox Valley Models and Bowser that they are affected. There are others, but I will let them announce it themselves.

Those not affected are Athearn, Walthers, Scale Trains, Bachmann and Rapido. Jason from Rapido has already posted that he apparently is willing to help where he can.

Mark.

 

Ok.  So some of the factors that made China attractive from a manufacturing standpoint might begin to wane.  Hopefully any plant that meets the current regulations in China is new and efficient and can hold prices down.

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Posted by Tinplate Toddler on Monday, July 30, 2018 6:11 PM

The Chinese government has taken a rather vigorous stand on environmental issues in the past two years and I am not at all surprized by the closure of a manufacturing resource. It won´t be the last one.

I visited China in 2008 and was shocked by the amount of pollution. The air was almost too thick to breathe and I developed respiratory problems which made me leave ahead of schedule.

Doughless
Hopefully any plant that meets the current regulations in China is new and efficient and can hold prices down.

That´s wishful thinking, but I doubt that this will be the case. China is finally "growing  up" to western standards, both in wages and environmental protection issues. The goldrush days are over and there are European manufacturers who already have transfered their production back to Europe.

Happy times!

Ulrich (aka The Tin Man)

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Posted by BATMAN on Monday, July 30, 2018 6:11 PM

Doughless
Ok.  So some of the factors that made China attractive from a manufacturing standpoint might begin to wane.  Hopefully any plant that meets the current regulations in China is new and efficient and can hold prices down.

My cousin is one of the top dogs at one of the worlds major pharmaceutical companies.  A lot of their products have been manufactured in China for years, worth billions to the Chinese economy. China stood to lose this business due to not meeting global environmental agreements. The writing was/is on the wall. Clean up or your customers will clear out. 

This info has been discussed in financial publications since the Paris accord was signed. Very significant to those that have retirement or other portfolios. 

Maybe some financial magazines along with Model Railroader should be put in the reading room.Laugh

Brent

It's not the age honey, it's the mileage.

https://www.youtube.com/user/BATTRAIN1/videos 

You can never ever out-train poor nutrition.

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Posted by DRfan on Monday, July 30, 2018 6:19 PM

After reading posts on several forums concerning this situation, the cause appears to be stricter environmental standards being enforced by the China's government on factories and not due to tarriffs, or trade wars.  China has horrible problems with pollution and their people are beginning to have all types of health issues.

This situation has affected several companies as noted and will defintely impact the hobby for the coming years.  I honestly rather have limited items available that are produced in facilities safe for the workers and areas surrounding the factory.  Let's face it, we love to proclaim that we all support fair wages and working conditions until it impacts something we want at a cheap price.  The US had some factories with horrible conditions a little over 100 years ago such as the Triangle Shirt Factory where hundreds died in a fire.  China is finally trying to protect their people and environment. 

Lets just enjoy what we have and be patient waiting for new items.

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Posted by BATMAN on Monday, July 30, 2018 6:22 PM

Tinplate Toddler
China is finally "growing  up" to western standards, both in wages and environmental protection issues. The goldrush days are over and there are European manufacturers who already have transfered their production back to Europe.

China has arrived and it is only because of the great wealth they have gained over a relatively short few decades that affords them the ability to change their environmental policies. And so it should go for other countries around the globe as more countries are included in trade agreements.

Brent

It's not the age honey, it's the mileage.

https://www.youtube.com/user/BATTRAIN1/videos 

You can never ever out-train poor nutrition.

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Posted by riogrande5761 on Monday, July 30, 2018 7:16 PM

If anyone has a sub on TrainOrders, apparently Jason had commented on the cause of the closure.  My sub expired so I am unable to read what he said but it may have nothing to do with environmental concerns.  The truth is out there.

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Posted by BATMAN on Monday, July 30, 2018 7:18 PM

I think it is also on Rapidos Facebook page.

Brent

It's not the age honey, it's the mileage.

https://www.youtube.com/user/BATTRAIN1/videos 

You can never ever out-train poor nutrition.

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Posted by xboxtravis7992 on Monday, July 30, 2018 7:31 PM

ExactRail products were also being made at the factory which closed; but they seem to handling it with a good sense of humor (the faux-image of Chris Brimley throwing his desk and punching a wall as he humorously described is pretty funny in my mind). Their tongue is firmly planted in cheek here: https://exactrail.com/blogs/announcements/now-for-some-bad-news

If anything... it sounds like most of the companies will just be experiencing a hiccup while they transfer the molds and tooling from the closed factory to new ones. Then buisness as usual!

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Posted by Doughless on Monday, July 30, 2018 7:34 PM

The FB page says that a major model train factory in China has closed and it has affected many model train companies in North America and Europe.

It also says the Rapido plant will expand in anticipation of getting many new customers.

 

- Douglas

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Posted by Mark R. on Monday, July 30, 2018 7:46 PM

xboxtravis7992

ExactRail products were also being made at the factory which closed; but they seem to handling it with a good sense of humor (the faux-image of Chris Brimley throwing his desk and punching a wall as he humorously described is pretty funny in my mind). Their tongue is firmly planted in cheek here: https://exactrail.com/blogs/announcements/now-for-some-bad-news

If anything... it sounds like most of the companies will just be experiencing a hiccup while they transfer the molds and tooling from the closed factory to new ones. Then buisness as usual!

 

This "hiccup" could last anywhere from six months to a year. Those molds are not accessible by the companies that own them. When the Chinese government closes a plant, EVERYthing in that plant is considered to be an asset of that company. Nobody can remove anything.

Mark.

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Posted by ATSFGuy on Monday, July 30, 2018 7:54 PM

At least Atlas and Bowser are still in business...

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Posted by BigDaddy on Monday, July 30, 2018 8:12 PM

BATMAN
I think it is also on Rapidos Facebook page.

"As many of you have heard, a major model train factory in China just closed. This has affected many model train companies in North America and Europe. Thankfully, it has not affected Rapido.

"Rapido's two factories are still very much in business, and they are expanding to meet the expected influx of new customers. NP boxcars and N scale 8600 coaches are leaving the factory next week, and TurboTrains will follow at the end of August."

Bowser has a line of RS-3's that were supposed to be out at the end of 2017 and then the end of 2018.  If their molds are really locked up in a factory, that is a big hurt on them.

Henry

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Posted by gmpullman on Monday, July 30, 2018 10:11 PM

BigDaddy
Bowser has a line of RS-3's that were supposed to be out at the end of 2017 and then the end of 2018.  If their molds are really locked up in a factory, that is a big hurt on them.

It is my understanding that the tooling, molding and development work on the RS-3 is being done in Pennsylvania. Assembly and painting may be another issue.

http://www.bowser-trains.com/docs/RS/Bowser%20RS3%20Project%20PRR%20Historical%20Society.pdf

 

Cheers! Ed

 

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Posted by SeeYou190 on Tuesday, July 31, 2018 6:12 AM

Tinplate Toddler
there are European manufacturers who already have transfered their production back to Europe.

.

I heard Games Workshop was one of the first to move their Chinese manufacturing back to the UK.

.

-Kevin

.

Living the dream and happily modeling my STRATTON AND GILLETTE Railroad in HO scale. The SGRR is a freelanced Class A railroad as it would have appeared on Tuesday, August 3rd, 1954, in my personal fantasy world of plausible nonsense.

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