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United States Businesses Transportation Technology

In the World of Big Stuff, the US Still Rules 184

Posted by Soulskill
from the particularly-our-food-and-religious-symbols dept.
westlake writes "From Peoria, the WSJ a look at the giant trucks manufactured by Komatsu and Caterpillar. 'In certain areas — notably aircraft, industrial engines, excavators and railway and mining equipment — the U.S. exports far more than it imports. These industries produce relatively small numbers of very expensive goods, requiring specialized technology and labor. Their competitive advantage rests partly on expertise built by U.S. companies in making durable, high-tech weaponry and other equipment for the military — frequently applicable to other products.' It may surprise you to learn that Komatsu doesn't employee a single industrial robot. The quality of workmanship simply isn't there where it is needed."
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In the World of Big Stuff, the US Still Rules

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  • by ThorGod (456163) on Tuesday December 04, 2012 @11:20PM (#42187915) Journal

    Look, we're still in the days of "It's best if it says Made in USA" on it. I've witnessed it, anecdotally *all the way*, first-hand. I've got two thermal temperature probes. One clearly says "Made in the USA" on it and works like a DREAM. Even has a ton of memory and sensor options. Then there's the cheapo version I got for way less, DOESN'T say "Made in the USA" on it - and it's CRAP. Sure, the non-US version works...after you let the LCD "warm up" for 2 minutes! There's also no such thing as memory on it nor sensor options...You get what you pay for and to get merch from the US still requires you pay top dollar.

    Don't confuse cheap for quality. Plenty of things are better made, here, in the US. You just have to not be a cheapo.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Cool anecdote. I have one, too. My friend owns a plumbing supply business. Been in the family for 80 years. I was asking about USA vs China recently and he said that at first, the Chinese stuff was terrible. Now, the Chinese-made fittings are routinely better than the US-made stuff and cheaper to boot.
      • by pz (113803) on Tuesday December 04, 2012 @11:41PM (#42188027) Journal

        Same thing happened with Made in Japan: decades ago, you were better off saving your pennies for good old American stuff because the Japanese equivalents were horrible. Nissan's first imports to the US (when they were known as Datsun) were a joke. So were Honda's. But now, the Japanese imported goods are top-notch and deserving of hard-earned respect. Korean goods followed the same path. Taiwanese, to a certain extent, although they don't seem to have fully realized their potential, yet. Chinese goods are just starting to get better as they, as a country, learn manufacturing. Given that they have vast resources to throw at the problem, I fully expect Made in China to, within a decade or so, mean something is quality goods, and we'll be looking to Made in Viet Nam, Made in Thailand, Made in North Korea, or Made in Kazahkstan with derision.

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward

          The price and the quality generally correlate. By the time "Made in China" means something more like "Made in Japan", those goods will cost a lot more. And yes, we'll have moved on to manufacturing elsewhere for Walmart Grade goods.

          To add to the summary, we're also pretty masterful at leveraging foreign manufacturing resources.

        • we'll be looking to Made in Viet Nam, Made in Thailand, Made in North Korea, or Made in Kazahkstan with derision

          Why wait? We're already looking to 'Made in the USA' with derision.

          • by Smauler (915644)

            Made in Britain has been a joke for a long while in Britain.... even now it hangs on (in some cases deservedly), despite us producing some decent stuff (like aircraft engines, and lots of cars under license). Anyway, an example : The IT Crowd [youtube.com].

        • Cheap mass produced crap is crap when the place making it is only just getting into mass production. Like it or not (and many people try to pretend I'm getting this wrong out of some sense of misplaced patriotism) in the 1950s the military "US" for unservicable was jokingly applied to cheap mass produced crap coming out of the USA by people in former colonies of the UK. That of course does not mean that everything being exported was crap. A lot of zinc die cast stuff was especially bad until efforts were
        • by drinkypoo (153816)

          Nissan's first imports to the US (when they were known as Datsun) were a joke. So were Honda's.

          A joke, how? Many of the early Datsuns are still on the road, the B210 is still highly sought after as is the 510. The 240Z is one of the best sports cars ever made, and indeed are still competitive today if you have a 240ZVG. And the original Honda CVCC is the only vehicle since increased emissions testing to pass California's emissions restrictions without a catalytic converter.

        • by Smauler (915644)

          Hate to tell you this... but it's already happened. All consumer goods are made in China, or somewhere else with cheap labour, basically. No one cares where they come from. Even if they say "Manufactured in the USA", if means they import all the parts and assemble them in the US.

          There are notable exceptions, like some of the famous chip manufacturers. They don't produce most of the world's chips though, they only produce the best ones. Everything that is relatively easy to manufacture will have been m

          • by Alioth (221270)

            For any complex piece of electronics this is true even if you live in China, or Taiwan or wherever. Wherever you live, and wherever the "Made in..." says, where it was made in had to import the majority of the parts. The last device I designed, every IC on that board came from a different country so basically there is nowhere in the world (not even China) you can assemble some electronics and not end up importing most of the semiconductors.

      • by Buminatrain (1737926) on Tuesday December 04, 2012 @11:57PM (#42188103)
        Yeah I'm gonna have to disagree with this. I tend to think your friend is just more fond of his profit margins with Chinese goods. I have a "fallback" job with a construction company and mainly do plumbing when working there. In general we use Chinese materials but on government/military jobs we have to use US materials. I'll tell you now the difference is night and day in terms of quality, on top of prevailing wage it's a joy working these jobs just due to how much better the quality of the US stuff is.
        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward

          There's plenty of outright shit Made in the USA. Here's what you are missing, it's not about origin, it's about making things to spec. Generally the spec for people contacting manufacturing to China is as-cheap-as-possible, and that's exactly what they get. Sure, labor and environmental costs less over there, but shipping, customs and other overhead associated with outsourcing eats a bunch of that, so to significantly increase the profits (as promised to shareholder) companies tend to drop quality as well.

          • by drinkypoo (153816)

            There's plenty of outright shit Made in the USA. Here's what you are missing, it's not about origin, it's about making things to spec.

            You mean like how when the first Raspberry Pis came out of China, the manufacturer had replaced the ethernet connector with an inferior one that didn't have the filtering required by the design, so that there are problems with ethernet transfer rates?

            Chances are you will get quality stuff, if not, try the factory next door

            Right, so you can pay for setup all over again, and get fucked all over again? Or you could move production to a more scrupulous country, which is what they did, and problem solved.

        • China is a big place, just because you have some crap from China, doesn't mean all stuff from China is crap. I used to work for a clothing manufacturer where EVERYTHING was made in China. From the cheap $5 T-shirts to the $300 jeans and dress shirts, the difference is only the raw materials used and the QA required.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 04, 2012 @11:37PM (#42188005)

      For the rest of the world 'Made in the USA' means 'Heavy, will break down, and none of your tools will fit'.

      May sound harsh, but that is my experience of industrial equipment and the feelings of those who work with it.

      • by EETech1 (1179269)

        I can almost hear the frustration now...

        Hey can you grab me the 10" box end wrench.

        WTF you mean you only got a 250MM one? That wont fit, its too small ya dumbass!

        Well i got a 275 MM one...

        I don't wanna round off this gigantic fucking nut, then I'll have to use a chisel! Where the hell'd ya get that setta tools? Don't you know that Komatsu is made in the USofA?

        Will this big ass pliers work...

        Guess it'll have to, My adjustable wrench ain't big enough! Got a cheater bar for it?

        Who would buy a 6 million dollar

      • by Viceice (462967)

        So Sony is an American company now?

      • by Waccoon (1186667)
        By "rest of the world", are you referring to nations like Germany and Canada, or nations like Romania and Venezuela?
      • Doesn't so much sound harsh as ignorant. If the equipment was so bad, then why does the world keep buying it by the gross lot - especially since there are other sources?

      • For the rest of the world 'Made in the USA' means 'Heavy, will break down, and none of your tools will fit'.

        May sound harsh, but that is my experience of industrial equipment and the feelings of those who work with it.

        ==
        When is the USA going to switch to metric measurements, including screws, nuts, bolts, lengths, and weights.
        The USA is in a minority position when I buy products, as my metric tool set works with all products but those made in the USA.
        A close match to an American size is my 13mm wrench, which is a half-inch.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      "Look, we're still in the days of "It's best if it says Made in USA" on it. I've witnessed it, ..."

      That's why you are such export-champions then I guess.

      Real American companies, with real American names like 'Komatsu'.

    • You're confusing well-made with made in the USA.

      Not trolling, but the US is not the only place well engineered stuff is made.

      Also, don't confuse expensive with good quality. There's a correlation, but not always.

    • by iserlohn (49556)

      Actually, the quality issue isn't the only thing. Apart from the intrinsic qualities of a product, you also have to consider the wider implications. After all, buying things is just a way of voting with your wallet. If I'm spending money buying a premium product, I wouldn't want to encourage exploitative behavior. If there were two products that were comparable, one made in a country like China or Vietnam, the other made in the US, South Korea, Japan, Taiwan, the UK, or Europe, I would chose the latter with

    • by dbIII (701233)
      Computers on the other hand ...
      I used to get servers from a place called Racksaver, and alarm bells should have rung after a bit when they changed their name to Verari. By the time I gave up on them they were just packaging Taiwanese motherboards in Taiwanese chassis and when I sent one in for repair (half way around the fucking world at my own expense because they'd closed their local service centre), there was a long wait while they got parts shipped in from Taiwan. Then on the way back another fine US
    • by mjwx (966435)

      Don't confuse cheap for quality. Plenty of things are better made, here, in the US. You just have to not be a cheapo.

      Don't confuse expensive for quality.
      Don't confuse country of origin for quality.

      Good quality products is about having good production with low failure rates backed up by a rock solid QA process. I can trust companies from any country if they've got a proven track record of this. Boeing of America has such a reputation for me, Ford of America does not, I'd sooner by a Thai made Honda CRV and I hate SUV's with a passion.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    > It may surprise you to learn that Komatsu doesn't employee a single industrial robot. The quality of workmanship simply isn't there where it is needed."

    It has nothing to do with "quality of workmanship." These are super-value goods. They are made in very small batches (usually one-offs) and they are stationary during production. The assembly line moves around them. Not vice versa. A robot is good for doing one thing over and over again. It's only cost effective when you are producing 10,000+ unit

    • Re:Super Value Goods (Score:5, Informative)

      by mrbcs (737902) on Wednesday December 05, 2012 @12:03AM (#42188137)
      I worked as a welder-fitter at Komatsu Dresser in Cambridge Ontario a number of years ago. The "quality" issue is a red herring.

      Robots haven't been invented that can fit a gusset plate made of 3/4" steel that doesn't quite fit right because a guy hand made it in a 500 ton press brake. The plates would have to be clamped, heated and hammered with a 10lb sledge hammer to fit properly.

      We had about 20 - 35 ton trucks on the assembly line at any given time. There is simply no cost effective way to make a robot do the tasks that these guys were doing.

      • by rthille (8526)

        Couldn't the parts be made to closer tolerances? Perhaps by using robots? :-)

        • Re:Super Value Goods (Score:5, Informative)

          by mrbcs (737902) on Wednesday December 05, 2012 @12:50AM (#42188427)
          They could have used a press and die set up. That would cost upwards of 100 grand. Since they only made 20 units at a time, it's just not cost effective.... and you still don't need a robot.
          • by Gordonjcp (186804)

            Since they only made 20 units at a time, it's just not cost effective.... and you still don't need a robot.

            Exactly - robots are great if you're building a hundred a day, all identical. They suck when I say "yeah I need ten 80-tonne trucks, and I need five of them to be made 300mm narrower". A bunch of guys cutting parts by hand can do that easily.

        • It's the same issue GM had back when they started Saturn. If you don't design the whole vehicle to be assembled by robots it just doesn't work.
          • by mrbcs (737902)
            Interesting that you should mention Saturn. I also used to work at an automotive plant in Toronto. They made the seat recliners. They couldn't find anyone else (besides me the poor prototype tech) that could weld a one inch bead and three spot welds with a mig welder.

            The company brought in a robot and a huge 100% duty cycle mig welder. They made this massive jig that held 8 assemblies at a time. They had two people load and unload the jigs and about 200 people to do all the other assembly and packing. If t

  • Thank Goodness (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 04, 2012 @11:43PM (#42188047)

    Thank goodness there's no possible way for this thread to degenerate into a hodgepodge of anecdotes disguised as fact. I'm certain the Slashdot audience will rise above the low hanging fruit.

    • by iONiUM (530420) on Wednesday December 05, 2012 @12:44AM (#42188389) Homepage Journal

      I don't know, my friend read this Slashdot story once that had no anecdotes in it at all. So, it does happen.

    • by tool462 (677306)

      rise above the low hanging fruit.

      At least the rest of us aren't making inappropriate penis jokes.

    • by evilviper (135110)

      I'm certain the Slashdot audience will rise above the low hanging fruit.

      They used-to... They used-to. Before /. editors became professional trolls, and the site tried to copy digg and reddit, increasing story count to the point that discussion has a half-life of a few seconds... /. was once an inspiring place to be, with extremely high concentrations of experts in every technical fields, which would often chime-in on many subjects, and lead to extremely insightful discussions, and moderation which would

  • I think the US should declare robots a munition subject to export control and extreme secrecy. With the increase in robotic soldiers, it will become important, and as the US learns to make better robots for the military, they will make better industrial robots. At some point the robots will be more cost effective than slaves in China... If they cannot be exported then manufacturing will return to the US. At least for a while Americans will be able to get high skill jobs building and fixing robots...

  • by Grayhand (2610049) on Wednesday December 05, 2012 @01:11AM (#42188545)
    It's impractical to build robots to make equipment that is made in the hundred of units and individual parts weighs in the tons. Humans are more flexible so it's easier for humans to do short runs and American workers have a fairly long history of doing this work. For China it's workers are one generation off the farm and it's one thing to slap two halves of an iPad together but a very different issue aligning 5 ton metal castings. Ultra heavy equipment is just shy of being one offs so it requires a much higher skill set which the US still excels at. This is nothing new. I remember reading decades ago about Russian Subs couldn't match the US for quiet operation because we had the only mills that could make the propellers for quiet running. The largest metal castings we did were for the turrets for WW II battle ships and even the US can't reproduce those now.
  • by girlinatrainingbra (2738457) on Wednesday December 05, 2012 @01:16AM (#42188577)
    Well, if we're talking about the category of large airplanes [wikipedia.org], then the undisputed winner is the Antonov An-225 Mriya [wikipedia.org] which was built in the Soviet Union and the Ukraine to be the equivalent of the USA Space Shuttle's transport aircraft [wikipedia.org]. It tops the categories of :
    -- world's heaviest aircraft ever (max. takeoff weight greater than 640 tons)
    -- world's largest aircraft ever
    -- largest aerodyne (in length and wingspan) ever entering operational service
    -- absolute world record for airlifted payload at 189,980 kilogram (418,834 pounds)
    ;>)
    Of course, the largest wingspan ever is owned by Howard Hughes' Spruce Goose, the Hughes Aircraft H4-Hercules [wikipedia.org]. It was never really an operational aircraft: it only flew once, and it was really made of birch instead of spruce. But hey, in terms of largest wingspan ever built, USA-ians can chant "We're Number One! We're Number One!"
    • Isn't this about current production capabilities? Is the An-225 Mriya still being produced?

      I ask because the summary seemed to imply that this was about who could build big, specialized equipment right now. There are several technologies (steel presses come to mind) which have been built in the past, but for which there is no capacity (yeah - actually zero) to build today. The fabrication shops and foundries would have to be built from scratch to reproduce the old equipment. Heck, you couldn't build another

      • Isn't this about current production capabilities? Is the An-225 Mriya still being produced?

        Depends. They've been threatening to finish the other one on and off for decades now.

        It's basically a juiced AN-124 with a barrel extended fuselage and longer wings (with more of the same engines), but is otherwise quite similar. The 124 is still in production. If they can build 124s they can build 225s except that it would be a custom job since there are no production lines, makeing it very expensive. I think it's a

      • by mjwx (966435)

        Isn't this about current production capabilities? Is the An-225 Mriya still being produced?

        The An-225 is a bad example, the Airbus A380 would have been better.

  • not big, important (Score:5, Informative)

    by slashmydots (2189826) on Wednesday December 05, 2012 @01:39AM (#42188691)
    If you pay half for construction equipment and it breaks within a month, that throws off the expensive estimate just a bit. Any cheap-manufacturing country does not offer sufficient quality for business use of quarter million dollar machinery. They make cheap, hastily designed stuff out of inferior materials to undercut everyone because that's what they do. They can't make a perfect machine because then they'd need a vast engineering infrastructure and high purity metal manufacturing and all that. That's primarily the US and not a whole lot more.
    • by mwvdlee (775178)

      The only reason the US has an advantage in building these big machines is because they needed these big machines when there wasn't anybody else building them yet. There isn't some inherent quality in of the US. It's the same reason the US is way behind the curve in fuel-efficient, reliable and nimble cars; they never needed cars to be fuel-efficient due to low fuel prices, reliable due to economy nor nimble due to relatively morestraight-line distances. Now all of a sudden they do, and now they're trying ha

      • by drinkypoo (153816) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Wednesday December 05, 2012 @07:38AM (#42190109) Homepage Journal

        The only reason the US has an advantage in building these big machines is because they needed these big machines when there wasn't anybody else building them yet

        That's just not true. The reason the US has an advantage in building these big machines is that we're good at building these big machines. We have the best of everything; the best raw materials, for example. And the biggest corporations which can spend the most money.

        If China would suddenly need machines twice the size as the US builds, they'd soon be leaders in building big machines.

        There is no such thing as machines twice the size as the US builds, because if someone wants a bigger machine, we'll build it. And China buys its heavy equipment from other countries, but now isn't buying any to speak of [wsj.com], because their building boom has gone bust and they have entire cities lying empty [bbc.co.uk] because their economic model does not permit the citizenry to have sufficient wealth to be able to inhabit them, and yet their government is not actually communist, and will therefore not simply place people into those cities based on merit.

        Yes, most of China's economy revolves around cheap labour and low costs, that doesn't mean they don't have any highly skilled engineers or the ability to create top quality.

        It's not that they don't have any highly skilled engineers, but they don't have the ability to create top quality because that is not their goal. The goal is always to maximize profit. This does not set them apart, of course, from most "American" companies, but if you take a look I think you'll find that the so-called American companies that don't give a shit about quality are having their shit made in China. They might as well be a Chinese company with an American sign. As well, if you consider the history of Chinese manufacturing, there is actually no evidence they have ever had great engineers. When they rip off a design they copy it so faithfully that it contains the original flaws, even obvious ones. This has been obvious for as long as industrial goods have been coming out of China. They might be technically capable of producing the highest quality product, but they appear to be culturally uninterested in doing so.

  • by manu0601 (2221348) on Wednesday December 05, 2012 @01:39AM (#42188695)

    There are two ways of being competitive. The first one is to lower all costs, (and especially labor costs) and make a weak product cheaper than competitors. The second one is to make better products with high price.

    The cut-all-costs approach has a problem: there is always someone in a poor country ready to work for lower wage. Being competitive this way means making workers poorer and poorer. And there are environmental issues: costs can be cut by wreaking the environment in countries where there is no regulation to protect it. And since the ecosystem is global, environmental issue created in poor countries will bite back rich countries later.

    Cutting all costs to be competitive leads to social and environmental destruction. I am glad there are still some success stories of good products with high price. Of course I do not take for granted that the high-price product is driving up wages and environment preservation, but at least it is not incompatible with it.

    • "The cut-all-costs approach has a problem: there is always someone in a poor country ready to work for lower wage. Being competitive this way means making workers poorer and poorer."

      How does giving work to someone who wants it make them poorer?

      If someone is willing to work for a lower wage, then that person needs the work worse. Right? Shouldn't we always give the work to that person? Then both parties benefit the most? So you are saying that instead we should give the work to people who will only do it for
      • by manu0601 (2221348)

        How does giving work to someone who wants it make them poorer?

        You have to ask yourself how that person lived before

        One of the dirty tricks USA and UE have in globalization is to flood southern markets with food so cheap that local farmers cannot compete. I do not know for USA, but the UE even subsidize food production to be exported. At first look it seems nice to have cheap food, but that destroy southern countries food sovereignty, and people that cannot live from agriculture anymore join the pool of the southern poors ready to work for nearly nothing.

  • by dutchwhizzman (817898) on Wednesday December 05, 2012 @02:34AM (#42188953)

    The USA has resorted to buy everything imported, since their consumers would rather whine about quality than pay for it. The thousands of billions spent on clothing, electronics, food, cars and building materials to name a few industries don't weigh up to the few that come in by exporting planes or mining equipment and such.

    Also, quite a lot of these products are assembled from imported materials or half-products, the owners or shareholders are often foreign so apart from providing actual manufacturing and producing jobs to the USA, a lot of the profit is often not staying in the USA.

    The Netherlands used to have a very prosperous ship building industry. That died out, competition from lower wage countries with good sea access made the cheaper, worse quality ships still a good investment. Then the competitors got better at building ships with the experience they gained and even the high quality ships could be purchased from lower wage countries. By now, these countries have lost most of their ship building industry to the far east, where they build ships in assembly lines by the dozens per year, on dozens of assembly lines. Imagine an iPhone 5 manual assembly line, building 1000 yards and larger ships. Now imagine 20 of those lines in a shipyard. This is reality now. If mining excavators, planes trains or any other product named in this list ever gets produced in numbers big enough to warrant mass production sites, cheap labour countries will start producing. We may laugh at India or China's plans to produce their own aerospace or commercial flight equipment, but in 10 years, Boeing and Airbus will most likely be buying 90% of their parts prefabricated from those very countries and in 20 years, they will probably be reduced to a manufacturing and assembly location for them.

    • by bytesex (112972)

      It's returning though - Damen now build in Romania.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by strikethree (811449)

      The USA has resorted to buy everything imported, since their consumers would rather whine about quality than pay for it.

      I hate to be too rude, but go fuck yourself. It was not consumers that decided, it was the business owners trying to squeeze a few extra dollars of profit and forcing the crap quality stuff down our throats.

      If I have $200 to spend on shoes, would i be better off buying 4 pairs at $50 or 1 pair at $200? Considering that the 1 pair will likely outlast those 4 pairs and will be far more comfortable, I am going to spend the $200 on the one pair. I have that choice in shoes currently, but not for most other prod

    • by evilviper (135110)

      The USA has resorted to buy everything imported, since their consumers would rather whine about quality than pay for it.

      In the late 90s, it ceased to be POSSIBLE for consumers to pay for quality. Instead, formerly high-end brands leased out their names, and stamped them on low-quality junk. Retailers did absolutely nothing to stem the tide of junk. There was nowhere consumers could go, and nothing they could look for, to ensure the extra money they were paying, was actually going to mean higher quality (

  • Once upon a time, you expect things to last.
    Cell phone? Should work for 5 years atleast without hitch.
    TV - Well 20 years is no big deal
    Washing machine - 20 years, no big deal

    However, the consumerist culture has started to change the psych of the consumers all over the world.
    "Use and throw" is the buzz word?

    Phone : One year later dump your old, get new one on contract at 100$/month or whatever
    Washing machine : 3 years is great, thats why we give only 3 years warranty
    Car ? 50,000 miles for a clutch replacemen

    • by JaredOfEuropa (526365) on Wednesday December 05, 2012 @05:54AM (#42189699) Journal
      Quality is still there... if you pay for it.

      Take tools for an example: in the old days, all tools sold were pretty good, and pretty expensive. If I visit the hardware store today, I see a lot of inexpensive crap on the shelves but the good stuff is still there, so I now have a choice that I didn't have before. If I expect to be building a couple of houses, it makes sense to buy expensive power tools that are dependable and will last forever. However, if I will only have occasional use for a tool, the cheaper version makes better economic sense. My electric screwdriver is top of the line as it sees a lot of use, however my drill press is a cheap Chinese one that only sees occasional use. It's still going strong after 10 years; the point is that in the old days, I probably couldn't have afforded it, or justified the cost.

      My washing machine? Over a decade old without any servicing whatsoever; this brand still has an expected useful service life of 20 years
      TV? I got rid of my old glass tube dog kennel model to get a flatscreen, but that old TV found a new home and still works... 10 years old.
      Cell phone? People throw them out because technology moves fast these days; the difference between a 2 year old phone and a new one is significant. But my old iPhone still works perfectly after nearly 5 years, and it's getting a new lease on life as a home automation control panel.
      • by drinkypoo (153816)

        If I visit the hardware store today, I see a lot of inexpensive crap on the shelves but the good stuff is still there, so I now have a choice that I didn't have before

        But that's not true at all. Hardware stores haven't gotten bigger, except for the home Despot, and I know from experience that while they do have some made in the USA tools there, in general their shelves are longer so that they can store a second option "made in china" next to the first one. In most hardware stores, they have had to take out "made in usa" stuff in order to make room for the cheaper crap. My primary example is Sears. They used to sell one brand of tools, Craftsman, and all hand tools had a

        • Of course Made in China has pushed out some of the quality tools out of some shops. I'm not in the US though so things might be different here. Larger hardware stores usually carry various levels of quality, and smaller shops will favour the cheap brands, while certain other hardware stores only have top tier brands. One just has to know where to go.
          • by drinkypoo (153816)

            One just has to know where to go.

            Well, there's absolutely nowhere in my county to purchase a broad selection of quality tools. Granted, I live in bumfuck. But we have three hardware stores and they're all ACE.

        • by dywolf (2673597)

          sears is no more a hardware store than home depot. they are the walmarts of tools and sell products to match. your exmaple sucks so you're wrong, to use your elegant logic.

          want real hardware store with quality stuff? try ACE or TrueValue. they havent yet succumbed to the big box store mentality.

          • want real hardware store with quality stuff? try ACE or TrueValue. they havent yet succumbed to the big box store mentality.

            ACE and TrueValue are hardware cooperatives that allow locally owned hardware store owners purchase name brand tools at a lower cost since they purchase them as a collective. Also they are able to carry their cooperative branded items which are comparable to items sold with a national hardware store brand. There are no inherent differences in quality of goods sold except that you'll fi

  • by gelfling (6534) on Wednesday December 05, 2012 @07:39AM (#42190123) Homepage Journal

    I see the typical idiot USA bashing going on here but anyone who needs to use construction or mining equipment world wide already knows this. Likewise anyone dealing with oil and gas discovery-recovery and industrial farm equipment. But slashdot faux Marxists are free to buy those Angolan built passenger airplanes.

    • But slashdot faux Marxists are free to buy those Angolan built passenger airplanes.

      You may have heard of this small first world area of the globe with a high tech manufacturing base and a larger economy than the USA known as "Europe".

      They also produce planes, and engines, which are entirely competitive with the USA produced ones. Look up Airbus and Rolls Royce engines. Given that Rolls Royce is a for profit company with a £11bn turnover and listed on a public stock exchange, it's a little bit of

      • by gelfling (6534)

        They're not Marxist countries, but their apologists pretend to be.

        • They're not Marxist countries, but their apologists pretend to be.

          I really -seriously- have no idea what you are talking about. Would you care to explain?

      • by dywolf (2673597)

        yes. a whole entire continent has a bigger economy than the lone single country of the US of A. Barely. You showed him!

      • You may have heard of this small first world area of the globe with a high tech manufacturing base and a larger economy than the USA known as "Europe".

        This wouldn't be the same Europe that has corporations opening production and engineering facilities in the southeastern United States?

        As for the larger economy? Multiple countries versus a single country... sounds like a fair comparison.

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