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John Smith
06-23-2013, 08:52 AM
http://www.nbcnews.com/id/45755822/ns/msnbc_tv-the_ed_show/#52285298

This is the race to the bottom. If we want quality bridges, quality government, we must be prepared to pay for it. If we are cheap, we get cheap, and cheap is not always good.

Value is good.

Paul Girouard
06-23-2013, 10:50 AM
Change the laws that state the low bidder will get the job or these type projects.

Paul Pless
06-23-2013, 10:56 AM
Value is good.

I agree. Could you up your game a bit? You're coming across as pretty whiny lately. . .;)

Bob Adams
06-23-2013, 11:38 AM
2 miles from me what what was once the worlds largest steel mill is now being dismantaled for scrap. Painful subject in these parts.

C. Ross
06-23-2013, 01:23 PM
Is Chinese steel worse?

Mr. Ed on the Ed Show claims the Bay Bridge in San Francisco had failures due to Chinese steel.

Oops. Taint so. The Chinese sections held up. The bad ones were made in Ohio.

http://www.sfgate.com/bayarea/matier-ross/article/Bay-Bridge-inspections-busted-bolts-4386943.php

BETTY-B
06-23-2013, 03:20 PM
Is Chinese steel worse?

Mr. Ed on the Ed Show claims the Bay Bridge in San Francisco had failures due to Chinese steel.

Oops. Taint so. The Chinese sections held up. The bad ones were made in Ohio.

http://www.sfgate.com/bayarea/matier-ross/article/Bay-Bridge-inspections-busted-bolts-4386943.php

No, Cris, he did not say the collapse was due to Chinese steel. He says "was repaired with the similar Chinese steel in 2009". The misleading link you provide is just an article on an inspection of some bolts, in the recent rebuilding, that were not properly made. No collapse, no nothing...bolts are being replaced-no word on where they are coming from. Someone is fabricating something here...and it aint Big Dumb Eddy.

This is twice in two days I've seen you building bridges to nowhere. However, the topic is whether Chinese steel is better than American and if it's better to use it for one reason or another. I can think of several instances that would say it's just not so. As a builder, when I see a rusting stainless kitchen sink, I dont wonder where that sink came from. From what I am seeing, the steel inspection process is largely done by private inspection services. Is that a good idea?

And how about the environment in the manufacturing process? A quick look there shows the US Steel has surpassed the Kyoto target by a whopping 240%! I realize the environment isnt something the average Republican give a crap about, but you have to admit, those are some pretty impressive numbers! Here it is in graph form:

http://americanmanufacturing.org/files/wordpress/2009/04/steelpollution1.jpg

So what are you saying, Cris? Is it only cost that matters?

I guess I really dont understand why you bothered to take this stand. Other than you dont like Ed. But, then again, who does?

C. Ross
06-23-2013, 05:21 PM
I guess I really dont understand why you bothered to take this stand. Other than you dont like Ed. But, then again, who does?

LOL. Nice. I don't know Ed since I had never seen him before, but I'll take your advice not to like him.

Why bother? Because I'm interested in facts. Your facts about the pollution associated with Chinese steel are important, and provable.

Mr Ed, on the other hand, obliquely implied that Chinese steel was inferior, and in particular was a problem on the Bay Bridge. So I thought I'd check it out.

Basically, I don't understand what you think is misleading about the SF Gate article I posted. There are many others that have the same conclusion, including the fact that most of the steel was fabricated in the U.S. And/or that Ohio-sourced steel was defective. Other articles point out the inability of American firms to fabricate the long spans needed for the bridge, and the $400 million price premium for building it domestically.

http://www.sfexaminer.com/sanfrancisco/bad-bay-bridge-steel-rods-originated-in-ohio/Content?oid=2336169
http://www.nytimes.com/2011/06/26/business/global/26bridge.html?pagewanted=all
http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/bay-bridge-quake-safety-bolts-fail-test-article-1.1300679
http://agmetalminer.com/2013/03/28/steel-rods-the-latest-metal-sourcing-debacle-for-sf-oakland-bay-bridge/

How about the Verrazono Narrows bridge, the original focus of the Ed Show bit? I looked at that, too. The stories all read like this one, which includes an interesting quote from the guy representing companies that make bridges and bridge parts:


The MTA said it tried to find a contractor who plans to use American steel, but there was only one such bidder, with a bid twice as high as the contractor that won.


Surprisingly, price is not the only consideration. Chinese companies have become specialists in making parts for bridges across the U.S., MTA officials said.


Bill McEleney of the National Steel Bridge Alliance, whose members make bridges and bridge parts, said many U.S. companies can build bridges, but not many are experienced with the flat-deck design being used these days to build or renovate heavily trafficked bridges.


"The Chinese are building many more of these kinds of bridges, so they have more fabricators," McEleney added.


http://www.ibtimes.com/verrazano-narrows-bridge-repaired-chinese-steel-chinese-steel-makers-dominate-american-market

It's too bad that American steel companies aren't gearing up to make parts for bridges at lower prices and higher quality. It's curious, because they are protected by federal buy-American provisions that come into play on every federally funded road project. In California, the CTA is rebuilding the Bay Bridge entirely with state dollars because even with federal subsidies the cost of domestic steel was too high, and in addition apparently could not be sourced effectively from a domestic firm.

Fnally, this isn't primarily due to labor cost differentials, as anti-Chinese steel advocates claim. Nowadays labor is only a very small part of delivered, fabricated steel. Your point about their crappy environmental record and use of cheap high-polluting coal in particular is why they compete on price, not labor. I'd be happy to talk about environmental standards in trade agreements...that one is complex, too.

Bob Adams
06-23-2013, 05:28 PM
It's a bloody shame the rebuilding of the United States infrastructure can't help revitalize other industires besides contractors. In my opinion, the solution is simple-level the playing field by requiring a minimum precentage of US made materials. That way no contractor can undercut by using all cheap imports.

C. Ross
06-23-2013, 05:50 PM
It's a bloody shame the rebuilding of the United States infrastructure can't help revitalize other industires besides contractors. In my opinion, the solution is simple-level the playing field by requiring a minimum precentage of US made materials. That way no contractor can undercut by using all cheap imports.

It is required, in every transportation contract using federal dollars.

http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/construction/cqit/buyam.cfm

California decided the federal contribution wasn't worth the higher cost of domestic steel, so it rebuilt the bridge only wi state dollars.

John Smith
06-23-2013, 06:30 PM
I agree. Could you up your game a bit? You're coming across as pretty whiny lately. . .;)

I see a lot to whine about. I have often argued that if one is buying a product, like a desk, if one can get the SAME desk at a lower price, it is a wise decision to do so. When one is building something, quality probably costs some money. The lowest bidder is more apt to cut corners.

I grew up with some very old and very heavily trafficked highways (routes 3 and 46 in NJ) They have needed relatively little repair over the years. Highways constructed many years later have needed a lot of repair. Buying cheap does not usually save money.

John Smith
06-23-2013, 06:37 PM
It is required, in every transportation contract using federal dollars.

http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/construction/cqit/buyam.cfm

California decided the federal contribution wasn't worth the higher cost of domestic steel, so it rebuilt the bridge only wi state dollars.

It may be a poor analogy, but when we had gas lines and people went to imported cars they found higher quality. That may be true in other American industries where management was more concerned with immediate profit than long term profit.

The auto industry appears to have learned the lesson. I imagine other industries can learn the same lesson and make high quality stuff here.

As to the question of costs: they can be deceiving. If the state, or the feds, pay more for supplies made here, it has the potential to create more tax paying jobs, which will offset some, if not all or more, of the higher price.

John Smith
06-23-2013, 06:44 PM
I found this: http://wepartypatriots.com/wp/2013/05/29/sf-bay-bridge-partially-built-with-chinese-parts-and-labor-experiencing-dangerous-bolt-failures/ To me it reads like a cop-out. Blame the workers.

If the welding was the problem, who was doing the inspecting?

Why can't we properly repair bridges that were built properly in the first place?

epoxyboy
06-24-2013, 02:31 AM
It's a bloody shame the rebuilding of the United States infrastructure can't help revitalize other industires besides contractors. In my opinion, the solution is simple-level the playing field by requiring a minimum precentage of US made materials. That way no contractor can undercut by using all cheap imports.

Since when was introducing trade barriers "levelling the playing field"?
Don't forget, the Chinese have to ship these bridge sections clear across the Pacific. If a domestic manufacturer without that overhead cant compete, then sorry, they don't deserve to be in business.
And if other countries were to do tit for tat " local content" trade barriers, how many jobs do you think would disappear in your export sector? They are a big, blunt double edge sword that reward overpriced, inefficient businesses - why get better when you can keep on ripping off the locals, thanks to a protectionist government? And you can guarantee in that environment, those same companies wont have a hope in hell of ever competing globally.

hokiefan
06-24-2013, 03:41 AM
Since when was introducing trade barriers "levelling the playing field"?
Don't forget, the Chinese have to ship these bridge sections clear across the Pacific. If a domestic manufacturer without that overhead cant compete, then sorry, they don't deserve to be in business.
And if other countries were to do tit for tat " local content" trade barriers, how many jobs do you think would disappear in your export sector? They are a big, blunt double edge sword that reward overpriced, inefficient businesses - why get better when you can keep on ripping off the locals, thanks to a protectionist government? And you can guarantee in that environment, those same companies wont have a hope in hell of ever competing globally.

That is all well and good. Until you consider the impact on the world's environment. See post #6 for the chart highlighting the difference.

epoxyboy
06-24-2013, 04:25 AM
That is all well and good. Until you consider the impact on the world's environment. See post #6 for the chart highlighting the difference.
Mmmmm. Are we comparing apples with apples? It looks like a huge chunk of that nice low pollution American steel is recycled, while I assume most Chinese steel is from ore - which is going to be a much grubbier process any way you do it.The high recycled content should make American steel producers that much more competetive, and yet? I dont get it - lower freight cost, lower raw material cost, lower energy input, but with all that in their favour they still cant compete. I think the difference in wages is probably a minor factor, when you look at the big picture. Maybe the chinese are buying the business. I dunno - did the unions kill the goose that laid the golden egg, certainly wouldnt be the first time.

https://steel (https://<strong>steel</strong>).org/~/media/Files/AISI/.../50_Fun_Facts_About_Steel.pdf

Almost 69 percent of all steel is recycled in North America each year – more than ... For every ton of steel recycled, 2,500 pounds of iron ore, 1,400 pounds of ... The amount of energy needed to produce a ton of steel has been reduced by 34.

Some intersting stats on global crude and recycled steel production here. Chinese production of recycled steel as a percentage of their total is low compared to the US, which means that chart is more than a little misleading.
http://www.bir.org/assets/Documents/publications/brochures/WorldSteelinFiguresIIIFINLoRes.pdf

Andrew Craig-Bennett
06-24-2013, 06:36 AM
+1.

pipefitter
06-24-2013, 07:37 AM
As a welder, and someone who often works on govt projects, I can attest to Chinese materials to be inferior. First being they often go to the metric equivalent on the lower side. Half inch, will end up somewhere around 15/32". They would opt for 12mm as an equal instead of the slightly larger 13mm.

Here where I live, govt projects insist on domestic material.

Much of the import material that we get is unusable. Just got some 12"x3/8" flat that was cupped 1/8"-3/16" across it's face. Some import pipe I get, an alloy designation which should be suitable for bending, won't. The thing is, it will not appear as faulty if say you don't end up bending it a full 90 degrees and will seem normal otherwise. This requires pretesting of the materials, which starts closing the gap on any savings gained by the initial purchase price.

I have never seen good quality, imported material, that is cheaper than domestic, or significantly cheaper. If it even comes close, it will be in around the same price range. By the time you have to finish it, correct it, and prepare it with regard to quality service expectations, it will equal, or even exceed the price of domestic, especially with regard to future warranty concerns, that you will have to (or should) add into the bid.

LeeG
06-24-2013, 07:44 AM
I don't get the emotional content over this topic, there are more heavy construction industries in China so that's where you go to get the most competitive bid. If we want to use more expensive domestic firms simply increase taxes to pay for them.

After being in Los Angeles for a week where there are more 5000lb SUVs than hybrids it's obvious folks can pay $4.00/gal.

John Smith
06-24-2013, 08:04 AM
Since when was introducing trade barriers "levelling the playing field"?
Don't forget, the Chinese have to ship these bridge sections clear across the Pacific. If a domestic manufacturer without that overhead cant compete, then sorry, they don't deserve to be in business.
And if other countries were to do tit for tat " local content" trade barriers, how many jobs do you think would disappear in your export sector? They are a big, blunt double edge sword that reward overpriced, inefficient businesses - why get better when you can keep on ripping off the locals, thanks to a protectionist government? And you can guarantee in that environment, those same companies wont have a hope in hell of ever competing globally.

It's hard to compete with companies who can use child labor.

Someday we'll wake up to the idea that a major barrier to our companies competing with companies elsewhere is our employer based health insurance.

John Smith
06-24-2013, 08:14 AM
I don't get the emotional content over this topic, there are more heavy construction industries in China so that's where you go to get the most competitive bid. If we want to use more expensive domestic firms simply increase taxes to pay for them.

After being in Los Angeles for a week where there are more 5000lb SUVs than hybrids it's obvious folks can pay $4.00/gal.

The emotional part comes from our failing economy. The economic health of this nation REQUIRES the "middle class" to have good jobs with decent pay so they can spend money and support businesses in the country, allowing those businesses to pay decent wages and hire more help.

Some here are afraid of China's growing military; that China will overtake us as the world's power. Why help them?

All these things, though discussed in different threads, are connected to one another. More good paying jobs in this country will mean less people on welfare, food stamps, unemployment, etc. and will result in more revenue via taxes going into the federal treasury, cutting the deficit.

How many times have we heard it promised that we'll stop subsidizing companies moving out of this country, but we still subsidize the moves.

We often hear about labor costs here being high, but, aside from myself, who puts our employer based healthcare system into the equation as part of the higher cost of labor here?

Our president has been blocked from repairing/modernizing our infrastructure under legislation that would require American made materials. These bills have not been blocked so much for the requirement of materials made here, but they've been blocked in order to prevent this president from getting something done.

It is argued that we cannot afford to do this today. I say it won't cost less by postponing it: it will cost more. At one point our infrastructure was the envy of the world. No more.

Tom Wilkinson
06-24-2013, 08:20 AM
Sounds to me (from the linked articles) like more often than not, chinese bridges are the only option. They are the ones making them and have the most experience at it. Do you have specific info that shows them to be of lesser quality, or that they are using child labor to built them? Or ar we just trotting out the usual stereotypes.

Tom Wilkinson
06-24-2013, 08:27 AM
Our president has been blocked from repairing/modernizing our infrastructure under legislation that would require American made materials. These bills have not been blocked so much for the requirement of materials made here, but they've been blocked in order to prevent this president from getting something done.

Did you read post 9?
http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/programadmin/contracts/bas182.cfm

John Smith
06-24-2013, 08:27 AM
Sounds to me (from the linked articles) like more often than not, chinese bridges are the only option. They are the ones making them and have the most experience at it. Do you have specific info that shows them to be of lesser quality, or that they are using child labor to built them? Or ar we just trotting out the usual stereotypes.

Are you of the opinion that no American company is capable of making these things?

Dan McCosh
06-24-2013, 08:33 AM
The overwhelming issue with the cost of imports is the relative value of the currency. Buying steel priced in yuan with expensive U.S. dollars makes sense, since the difference is larger than the cost of shipping raw materials and processing. Canadian fish are flown to China, thawed, filleted, refrozen, and then flown back to Canadian restaurants. Most trade makes little sense, if the actual cost of production calculated in the local currency is comparable--and it usually is. Bridges are a little different, since the Chinese today are in effect mass-producing them and have the infrastructure in place to do so. The U.S. no longer has the intellectual capacity, nor the productive capacity, to build them, since only a handful are built in a decade. Oddly, machine tools went to Germany for the same reason.

Mrleft8
06-24-2013, 08:35 AM
I assume that grade 8 is grade 8 whether it's Chinese grade 8 US grade 8 or Brazilian grade 8... Is this not so?

Tom Wilkinson
06-24-2013, 08:40 AM
Are you of the opinion that no American company is capable of making these things?

From the articles quoted it's not opinion. One US bidder on the project for that article. Do you have a list of US bridge manufacturers that can handle it? Do you have any proof of the supposed lower quality or child labor being used as you have suggested?

Dan McCosh
06-24-2013, 08:44 AM
I assume that grade 8 is grade 8 whether it's Chinese grade 8 US grade 8 or Brazilian grade 8... Is this not so?Steel is notoriously variable in quality. The good stuff is made in Japan.

LeeG
06-24-2013, 09:28 AM
The emotional part comes from our failing economy. The economic health of this nation REQUIRES the "middle class" to have good jobs with decent pay so they can spend money and support businesses in the country, allowing those businesses to pay decent wages and hire more help.

Some here are afraid of China's growing military; that China will overtake us as the world's power. Why help them?

All these things, though discussed in different threads, are connected to one another. More good paying jobs in this country will mean less people on welfare, food stamps, unemployment, etc. and will result in more revenue via taxes going into the federal treasury, cutting the deficit.

How many times have we heard it promised that we'll stop subsidizing companies moving out of this country, but we still subsidize the moves.

We often hear about labor costs here being high, but, aside from myself, who puts our employer based healthcare system into the equation as part of the higher cost of labor here?

Our president has been blocked from repairing/modernizing our infrastructure under legislation that would require American made materials. These bills have not been blocked so much for the requirement of materials made here, but they've been blocked in order to prevent this president from getting something done.

It is argued that we cannot afford to do this today. I say it won't cost less by postponing it: it will cost more. At one point our infrastructure was the envy of the world. No more.


Got a interesting clip for you to watch. "Growth has an expiration date" The concept applies here. We had industries appropriate for growth and now that growth is no longer sustainable, and we aren't planning for a no growth economy we have to look elsewhere.


http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=o_8b6ej0U3g

Canoeyawl
06-24-2013, 09:29 AM
There was a flurry of interest in Japanese grade 8 bolts after the Jimmy Carter rescue mission to Iran.
Something to do with Boron steel alloy being substituted.
Google (http://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=799&dat=19860714&id=S5RPAAAAIBAJ&sjid=n1EDAAAAIBAJ&pg=5240,1098903)

Keith Wilson
06-24-2013, 09:56 AM
Smugness isn't a good idea. I'm old enough to remember when "Made in Japan" meant cheap poorly-made crap. The Chinese are no stupider than we are, and they're learning fast.

MiddleAgesMan
06-24-2013, 09:58 AM
Speaking of Grade 8 bolts, when I worked in the heavy machinery business grade 8 bolts were specified for critical applications. On one project we had to fully assemble one of a pair of wing-wall cranes so the Navy could verify function and quality. Grade 8 bolts were used. After testing the crane was disassembled for transport to Norfolk and the grade 8 bolts used during testing were replaced with new bolts. I was the QC guy so of course I wanted to know why. The engineers told me you can only stress grade 8 bolts once after which they are much more likely to fail.

Does that rule apply in all or most situations or was it just the stringent requirements we had to meet to satisfy the US Navy?

Keith Wilson
06-24-2013, 10:29 AM
I've never heard that. OTOH, in my business we don't normally stress things near their limits (at least not deliberately); it's usually far cheaper to put in a bigger bolt than to do the necessary calculations.

Lew Barrett
06-24-2013, 10:45 AM
The Chinese are no stupider than we are, and they're learning fast.

I very much doubt that they don't already know the differences in the vast majority of cases. As you say, they aren't stupid; it's the customers who put faith in inferior products who are being foolish.

John Smith
06-24-2013, 11:38 AM
From the articles quoted it's not opinion. One US bidder on the project for that article. Do you have a list of US bridge manufacturers that can handle it? Do you have any proof of the supposed lower quality or child labor being used as you have suggested?

Admittedly this is an interesting turn. Funny though, where'd all the steel come from when all these bridges were first built?

I guess this is all part of how America has been losing ground and keeps losing ground. The America we like to think we live in no longer exists.

John Smith
06-24-2013, 11:42 AM
Got a interesting clip for you to watch. "Growth has an expiration date" The concept applies here. We had industries appropriate for growth and now that growth is no longer sustainable, and we aren't planning for a no growth economy we have to look elsewhere.


http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=o_8b6ej0U3g

Can't get it open. I'll try later.

John Smith
06-24-2013, 11:44 AM
Smugness isn't a good idea. I'm old enough to remember when "Made in Japan" meant cheap poorly-made crap. The Chinese are no stupider than we are, and they're learning fast.

How true. Remember how our auto makers snickered at Japanese cars? More recently, a Ford dealer I was at snickered at Kia and Hyundai. They never learn.

I still think that, ultimately, money ends up in the country of manufacture, and we are suffering from that big time.

Waddie
06-24-2013, 11:56 AM
I've seen some inferior steel over the years, but not sure where it was made. However, while collecting stainless steel flatware a couple of years ago ( a job assigned to me by the wife, she wanted to give all the grown kids 12 place settings each), I did find that Chinese stainless steel is often of poor quality.

The pattern I was buying is called Oneida Michelangelo and was made in the USA until (I think) about 2004. After that it was made in China, and now probably Vietnam. The American made flatware carried a "Cube" logo, and is very high quality, and is what I bought, second hand, of course. It was also more pricey, as it is well known that the foreign stuff is crap. (The foreign flatware has no logo). It often rusts when run through a dishwasher, or even when hand washed, will leave black marks on plates, and is thinner that the American made. (Almost all flatware is now made off shore). I attribute the problems to poor quality control in the making of the 18/10 stainless. I further discovered that most Chinese stainless isn't even real 18/10. If the stainless is 18/8.2 or more, it can be sold as 18/10. Poor quality control is a major issue throughout Chinese and most Asian manufacturing. It's even showing up in marine products made of foreign stainless steel. You may get a product that works and lasts, or a piece of rust prone junk.

regards,
Waddie

Dan McCosh
06-24-2013, 12:09 PM
Smugness isn't a good idea. I'm old enough to remember when "Made in Japan" meant cheap poorly-made crap. The Chinese are no stupider than we are, and they're learning fast. The Japanese were famous for very high-quality steel in the 14th century.

Canoeyawl
06-24-2013, 12:19 PM
Speaking of Grade 8 bolts. The engineers told me you can only stress grade 8 bolts once after which they are much more likely to fail.

Does that rule apply in all or most situations or was it just the stringent requirements we had to meet to satisfy the US Navy?

Sometimes fasteners are "torqued to yeild", loosely interpreted as "one time only". Many modern turbocharged automotive engines (especially small Diesels) are spec'd that way. Not sure about bridges and cranes that would be subject to overloading, it doesn't seem like a good idea.

pipefitter
06-24-2013, 12:27 PM
American made does not always mean quality anymore, either. You can tell the trend of competition with China is not only forcing American tooling and manufacture of lesser quality. at least on some mass produced items, but also the people's acceptance of lesser quality, for real lack of a comparison anymore. It's why they have to push the "Made in USA" label. The quality is not visibly obvious. nor obvious in service. Often times, you will find yourself looking for the fine print on the label, or if it's just the label itself that is Made in USA.

BETTY-B
06-24-2013, 12:52 PM
Why bother? Because I'm interested in facts. Your facts about the pollution associated with Chinese steel are important, and provable.

Mr Ed, on the other hand, obliquely implied that Chinese steel was inferior, and in particular was a problem on the Bay Bridge. So I thought I'd check it out.

Basically, I don't understand what you think is misleading about the SF Gate article I posted. There are many others that have the same conclusion, including the fact that most of the steel was fabricated in the U.S. And/or that Ohio-sourced steel was defective. Other articles point out the inability of American firms to fabricate the long spans needed for the bridge, and the $400 million price premium for building it domestically.

The reason I think it is misleading is because the collapse is from 2009. The Ohio bolt problem was discovered in 2013. I'm not seeing the cause of the 2009 incident. Ed may indeed be wrong about where the steel came from on that collapse. But in a brief look at your relatively new articles, most of the steel is coming from China. Even though I dont know if the two are related, I do see your point of view a bit better-as well as realize once again that when looked at with fresh eyes, my words seem a bit more critical then intended. I do apologize for that, Cris. I like facts too.



It's too bad that American steel companies aren't gearing up to make parts for bridges at lower prices and higher quality. It's curious, because they are protected by federal buy-American provisions that come into play on every federally funded road project. In California, the CTA is rebuilding the Bay Bridge entirely with state dollars because even with federal subsidies the cost of domestic steel was too high, and in addition apparently could not be sourced effectively from a domestic firm.

Fnally, this isn't primarily due to labor cost differentials, as anti-Chinese steel advocates claim. Nowadays labor is only a very small part of delivered, fabricated steel. Your point about their crappy environmental record and use of cheap high-polluting coal in particular is why they compete on price, not labor. I'd be happy to talk about environmental standards in trade agreements...that one is complex, too.

Maybe they should ship American workers over there to be paid at an American wage then? I'm only half kidding there.

Here's a couple interesting links if anyone else has the time:

"For Integrated steelmaking, the primary sources of GHG emissions are blast furnace stoves (43 percent), miscellaneous combustion sources burning natural gas and process gases (30 percent), other process units (15 percent) and indirect emissions from electricity usage (12 percent)," the report said, estimating that the U.S. steel industry produced 117 million tons of carbon dioxide in 2010. (http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=cleaner-cheaper-way-to-make-steel-uses-electricity)"

http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=cleaner-cheaper-way-to-make-steel-uses-electricity


"Carbon from either coke or tuyere-level injectants, such as coal, natural gas, tar or oil can be used in the raceway zone of the blast furnace to generate some of the energy and reducing gases needed to reduce iron oxides, preheat the burden and produce molten metal and slag. In the 1960's, U.S. Steel Corporation began evaluating the technological feasibility for the injection of pulverized coal into the blast furnace as a means of reducing coke rate and hot metal costs. In these early tests it was found that coke rates could be reduced 36% by injecting 230 kg of coal/metric ton of hot metal without enriching the oxygen content of the hot blast. With oxygen enrichment a further reduction of coke rate to 48% could be obtained by injecting 290 kg of coal/ metric ton of hot metal. At the beginning of the 1990's blast furnace injection of coal became the rule rather than the exception as injection rates reached 200 kg of coal/metric ton of hot metal in Europe and Japan." (http://www.steel.org/en/Making%20Steel/How%20Its%20Made/Processes/Processes%20Info/Coal%20Utilization%20in%20the%20Steel%20Industry.a spx)

http://www.steel.org/en/Making%20Steel/How%20Its%20Made/Processes/Processes%20Info/Coal%20Utilization%20in%20the%20Steel%20Industry.a spx

Oddly enough, I dont have time at the moment to dig into this very interesting subject. The reason? Because I'm frantically trying to put stuff in order as I am on my way to the marina right below that bridge Wednesday morning! :) I'll take fresh pics from the water.

MiddleAgesMan
06-24-2013, 04:03 PM
I'm pretty sure we didn't "torque to yield," we torqued to a variety of specs. But they were torqued even though it was a trial assembly. Of course it was load tested, too, so the bolts got a bit of a work-out but certainly nothing close to failure or stretch. Our wing-wall cranes had gobs of safety factor built in so you would think the bolts were never over-stressed. Yet brand new ones were delivered for the final assembly on the dry dock they were made for.

A funny thing happened during the testing. The cranes were supposed to revolve at a pretty slow rate, 1 complete revolution in 60 seconds, or something like that. When the operator set the crane to revolve someone hit a stop watch and waited, and waited, and waited. It took about 2 1/2 minutes! That created lots of excitement for the engineers. First they verified the top speed of the drive motor (it was right) and looked at the spec plate on the Italian-sourced gear box (the plate indicated the correct reduction ratio). But when they pulled out the second gear box for the crane not yet assembled they counted the turns as it was rotated by hand. The Italians had put the wrong spec plates on someone else's gear boxes! But as one of the engineers observed, those Italians sure made some beautiful and stylish pieces of machinery. :)

Ted Hoppe
06-24-2013, 08:13 PM
The eastern span replacement of the San Francisco–Oakland Bay Bridge (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/San_Francisco%E2%80%93Oakland_Bay_Bridge) has been under construction since 2002. Originally scheduled to open in 2007, several delays caused it to now be scheduled to open to traffic on or just after Labor Day (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Labor_Day) 2013[2] (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eastern_span_replacement_of_the_San_Francisco%E2%8 0%93Oakland_Bay_Bridge#cite_note-blog.sfgate.com-2) at an estimated cost of $6.3 billion. A recent revelation of certain bolts failing under in-situ testing may (or may not) delay the projected Labor Day opening in early September 2013.

The bridge was to be built for 1.7 billion dollars with chinese steel... Whole sections were dismantled do to inferior products but not to offend the Chinese government or factory, the state of California ended up paying for the poor steel and bought new steel from the same company. They also soipped the poor steel back at the state costs. The bolts in question are American made and are being changed out as practicality permits. They too are making double providing poor quality...

LeeG
06-24-2013, 09:57 PM
The eastern span replacement of the San Francisco–Oakland Bay Bridge (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/San_Francisco%E2%80%93Oakland_Bay_Bridge) has been under construction since 2002. Originally scheduled to open in 2007, several delays caused it to now be scheduled to open to traffic on or just after Labor Day (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Labor_Day) 2013[2] (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eastern_span_replacement_of_the_San_Francisco%E2%8 0%93Oakland_Bay_Bridge#cite_note-blog.sfgate.com-2) at an estimated cost of $6.3 billion. A recent revelation of certain bolts failing under in-situ testing may (or may not) delay the projected Labor Day opening in early September 2013.

The bridge was to be built for 1.7 billion dollars with chinese steel... Whole sections were dismantled do to inferior products but not to offend the Chinese government or factory, the state of California ended up paying for the poor steel and bought new steel from the same company. They also soipped the poor steel back at the state costs. The bolts in question are American made and are being changed out as practicality permits. They too are making double providing poor quality...

Remember how long it took to replace the Cypress Viaduct in Oakland after the '89 earthquake?

hokiefan
06-24-2013, 10:11 PM
I don't think there's much reason to complain about China when it comes to this bridge... the steel was needed fast and the choices were not likely to be vast... it just has to last a short while and the rebuild will start...

The article isn't talking about the recently collapsed bridge in Washington. It is talking about one in New York and referencing another one in California. The picture of the collapsed Washington bridge was just an intro shot.

Cheers,

Bobby

The Bigfella
06-25-2013, 02:27 AM
"Torque to yield"?

What strange terminology. I've heard of "torque to specification"... but not yield. Yield to me signifies failure.

I've worked with torque to spec. bolts. The process was to torque it to a specific ft/lb torque setting, then a specified number of degrees turn beyond that.

epoxyboy
06-25-2013, 02:41 AM
The eastern span replacement of the San Francisco–Oakland Bay Bridge (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/San_Francisco%E2%80%93Oakland_Bay_Bridge) has been under construction since 2002. Originally scheduled to open in 2007, several delays caused it to now be scheduled to open to traffic on or just after Labor Day (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Labor_Day) 2013[2] (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eastern_span_replacement_of_the_San_Francisco%E2%8 0%93Oakland_Bay_Bridge#cite_note-blog.sfgate.com-2) at an estimated cost of $6.3 billion. A recent revelation of certain bolts failing under in-situ testing may (or may not) delay the projected Labor Day opening in early September 2013.

The bridge was to be built for 1.7 billion dollars with chinese steel... Whole sections were dismantled do to inferior products but not to offend the Chinese government or factory, the state of California ended up paying for the poor steel and bought new steel from the same company. They also soipped the poor steel back at the state costs. The bolts in question are American made and are being changed out as practicality permits. They too are making double providing poor quality...


Ted, I've read through both of the articles youve linked, and as far as i can see, those allegations are total BS. The article mention brittle bolts, allegations (disproved) of sustandard welds by workers on site, flaws in the foundation construction and eyebars cracking due to poor assembly. I didnt see a single mention of sub standard chinese anything.
The "made in America" clause was waived because "Even though controversial, authorities decided to allow bids to include major components and materials not made in the United States.[19] This was partly due to the cost of materials, but more substantially, required by the lack of suitable fabrication facilities within the United States, or even within the western hemisphere. Since such facilities would have to be built new and the prospects of additional work (at that time) would be either low or uncertain, the cost of fabrication would be much higher due to the facilities cost being supported by a single job".

hokiefan
06-25-2013, 02:41 AM
"Torque to yield"?

What strange terminology. I've heard of "torque to specification"... but not yield. Yield to me signifies failure.

I've worked with torque to spec. bolts. The process was to torque it to a specific ft/lb torque setting, then a specified number of degrees turn beyond that.

Torque to yield fasteners. Never used them in my field, but here they are...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Torque-to-yield_fastener

The Bigfella
06-25-2013, 02:52 AM
Fair enough. Never heard it here though.

hokiefan
06-25-2013, 02:57 AM
Fair enough. Never heard it here though.

I've heard the term, but that's as far as it goes. Definitely not a fastener expert.

Cheers,

Bobby

The Bigfella
06-25-2013, 03:35 AM
I had it drummed into me when I rebuilt the M5 engine. I'd got new cylinder head bolts, but hadn't got the crankshaft damper bolt... and it has a very specific set of installation instructions... It cost me $35 to get one locally, rather than $7 from the US. Ouch.

Andrew Craig-Bennett
06-25-2013, 05:55 AM
I have occasion to buy steel for ship repairs. It is a simple fact that some grades and sizes of steel plate and sections are not regularly obtainable in North America or in Europe.

Some years ago Matson Line decided to prove that the Jones Act was not a problem by building a 2,200 TEU containership in the States, to an Odense standard design (Odense are Maersk's in house shipbuilder)

She cost 2.2 times the same ship built in Denmark.

Dan McCosh
06-25-2013, 07:41 AM
Mmmmm. Are we comparing apples with apples? It looks like a huge chunk of that nice low pollution American steel is recycled, while I assume most Chinese steel is from ore - which is going to be a much grubbier process any way you do it.The high recycled content should make American steel producers that much more competetive, and yet? I dont get it - lower freight cost, lower raw material cost, lower energy input, but with all that in their favour they still cant compete. I think the difference in wages is probably a minor factor, when you look at the big picture. Maybe the chinese are buying the business. I dunno - did the unions kill the goose that laid the golden egg, certainly wouldnt be the first time.

https://steel (https://<strong>steel</strong>).org/~/media/Files/AISI/.../50_Fun_Facts_About_Steel.pdf

Almost 69 percent of all steel is recycled in North America each year – more than ... For every ton of steel recycled, 2,500 pounds of iron ore, 1,400 pounds of ... The amount of energy needed to produce a ton of steel has been reduced by 34.

Some intersting stats on global crude and recycled steel production here. Chinese production of recycled steel as a percentage of their total is low compared to the US, which means that chart is more than a little misleading.
http://www.bir.org/assets/Documents/publications/brochures/WorldSteelinFiguresIIIFINLoRes.pdf It's certainly unfair to compare an industry that has invested for the past 40 years in low-energy and lower-pollution processes to one that relies on antiquated factories, dirty coal and murderous working standards. The chart misleads you into thinking that modern industrial practices are a good thing.

Andrew Craig-Bennett
06-25-2013, 08:23 AM
It's certainly unfair to compare an industry that has invested for the past 40 years in low-energy and lower-pollution processes to one that relies on antiquated factories, dirty coal and murderous working standards. The chart misleads you into thinking that modern industrial practices are a good thing.

Sorry, Dan, with respect, you are mistaken here.

The Chinese steel industry is the most modern in the world - it was not, fifteen years ago, but fifteen years ago it was producing ten per cent of what it produces today - and all the old "dirty" plants have been shut down.

You do yourself and your nation no service by repeating this slurs - the higher pollution levels in Chinese steel production as against the USA are indeed because as Epoxyboy has said the US steel industry today is essentially remelting rather than converting from ore.

In other words, in steel industry terms, the US industry is a bit player, and this may explain why it is often unable to supply particular grades and sizes.

Please take the time to inform yourself - the USA is out of date in this field. Pretending that there isn't a problem won't fix it.

Dan McCosh
06-25-2013, 08:52 AM
Sorry, Dan, with respect, you are mistaken here.

The Chinese steel industry is the most modern in the world - it was not, fifteen years ago, but fifteen years ago it was producing ten per cent of what it produces today - and all the old "dirty" plants have been shut down.

You do yourself and your nation no service by repeating this slurs - the higher pollution levels in Chinese steel production as against the USA are indeed because as Epoxyboy has said the US steel industry today is essentially remelting rather than converting from ore.

In other words, in steel industry terms, the US industry is a bit player, and this may explain why it is often unable to supply particular grades and sizes.

Please take the time to inform yourself - the USA is out of date in this field. Pretending that there isn't a problem won't fix it. The reference was mainly to the practice of using recycled steel vs. processing iron ore. About 150 have been killed in Chinese coal mines so far this year, a major component of steelmaking from raw materials. The modernization of the U.S. steel plants has largely consisted of continuous casting operations initiated mainly in the 1980s. Nucor's growth from meeting at McDonald's to one of the largest steelmakers in the world was one side effect. Steelmaking isn't exactly a popular industry, as most phases of its production are highly toxic. Like chemical production and refinery operations, it is almost impossible to do a green site new facility in the U.S. today. It's interesting that the existing sites are running near capacity at the moment. Still, I would argue that steelmaking based on recycled steel is the end game, as opposed to being out of date. Maybe you would have to see the dramatic changes in air and water quality that result to appreciate it. It's certainly visible around here.

John Smith
06-25-2013, 09:16 AM
American made does not always mean quality anymore, either. You can tell the trend of competition with China is not only forcing American tooling and manufacture of lesser quality. at least on some mass produced items, but also the people's acceptance of lesser quality, for real lack of a comparison anymore. It's why they have to push the "Made in USA" label. The quality is not visibly obvious. nor obvious in service. Often times, you will find yourself looking for the fine print on the label, or if it's just the label itself that is Made in USA.

US made cars were crappy for a good chunk of time. Management was not concerned with quality; only profit.

It was when the country started buying imports, driven by the gas crisis, and discovered better quality that this began to change. Iacocca's "They're beating our brains out" speech was about quality.

I wish I could remember specifically the plant in California I read about many years ago (70's I believe). Motorola was making something there and most didn't work when they came off the assembly line. Management blamed the work force. Sony bought the plant. Kept the workers. Talked to the workers, which Motorola hadn't done. Based on those talks the assembly line was re-arranged a bit and slowed down a bit. Units didn't come off the line as fast, but all of them worked.

All this said, I believe the simple truth of economics is money ends up in the country of manufacture. There was obviously a time when we made good stuff. Everyone has their own theory, but I think GREED happened. Those in a position to make more money by cutting costs (quality) fell into that temptation. They got richer. The roads and such they were involved in building needed more repair sooner, but that was someone else's problem.

Bob Adams
06-25-2013, 09:19 AM
You are correct John, greed is what it's all about. For the most part, CEOs know only cost cutting and outsourcing. No one seems to want to grow a business domesticly anymore.

John Smith
06-25-2013, 09:25 AM
You are correct John, greed is what it's all about. For the most part, CEOs know only cost cutting and outsourcing. No one seems to want to grow a business domesticly anymore.

For all the twists this thread has taken, the bottom line point is that we apparently are no longer in a position to make steel. Just like we no longer make televisions and a long list of other things.

This is why our economy sucks.

C. Ross
06-25-2013, 10:01 AM
For all the twists this thread has taken, the bottom line point is that we apparently are no longer in a position to make steel. Just like we no longer make televisions and a long list of other things.

This is why our economy sucks.


Actually, our economy is increasingly sucking less, and it has nothing whatsoever to do with steel and televisions.

Peak employment in manufacturing in the US was 40-50 years ago. We have continued to grow manufacturing and continue to lead the world. But it is with less people and more automation.

The future is in higher value added manufacturing, distribution of all kinds, energy development, agriculture and food industries, some extraction industires, services and few other industries. Period. I would much rather live in a country that was focused on this. I have some hope that the US will continue to do so, and not be pulled back into the abyss by nostalgia about labor-based manufacturing.

Dan McCosh
06-25-2013, 10:28 AM
For all the twists this thread has taken, the bottom line point is that we apparently are no longer in a position to make steel. Just like we no longer make televisions and a long list of other things.

This is why our economy sucks. We make lots of steel. Of course the Russians own the local steel mill at Ford's now.

Dan McCosh
06-25-2013, 10:31 AM
Actually, our economy is increasingly sucking less, and it has nothing whatsoever to do with steel and televisions.

Peak employment in manufacturing in the US was 40-50 years ago. We have continued to grow manufacturing and continue to lead the world. But it is with less people and more automation.

The future is in higher value added manufacturing, distribution of all kinds, energy development, agriculture and food industries, some extraction industires, services and few other industries. Period. I would much rather live in a country that was focused on this. I have some hope that the US will continue to do so, and not be pulled back into the abyss by nostalgia about labor-based manufacturing. We do lead the world in lawsuits. Turning dirt into suspension bridges may well be an anachronism.

Andrew Craig-Bennett
06-25-2013, 10:40 AM
A Wiki page:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_steel_production

leikec
06-25-2013, 11:04 AM
Actually, our economy is increasingly sucking less, and it has nothing whatsoever to do with steel and televisions.

Peak employment in manufacturing in the US was 40-50 years ago. We have continued to grow manufacturing and continue to lead the world. But it is with less people and more automation.

The future is in higher value added manufacturing, distribution of all kinds, energy development, agriculture and food industries, some extraction industires, services and few other industries. Period. I would much rather live in a country that was focused on this. I have some hope that the US will continue to do so, and not be pulled back into the abyss by nostalgia about labor-based manufacturing.


Well said, Cris. Now if we could only get our political leaders to focus on positioning us properly for this future--instead of the return to the 1950's that they seem to be trying to engineer....

Jeff C

Keith Wilson
06-25-2013, 11:06 AM
We have continued to grow manufacturing and continue to lead the world. But it is with less people and more automation.That's what I've been doing for the past 30 years; figuring out ways to make more stuff more quickly, more efficiently and with fewer people. Nostalgia for labor-intensive manufacturing makes about as much sense as nostalgia for agriculture with shovels and horses. Trust me, you wouldn't want most of the jobs I've automated.

Dan McCosh
06-25-2013, 01:55 PM
A Wiki page:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_steel_production Certainly shows how protectionism really works.

Andrew Craig-Bennett
06-25-2013, 02:32 PM
Well said, Cris. Now if we could only get our political leaders to focus on positioning us properly for this future--instead of the return to the 1950's that they seem to be trying to engineer....
Jeff C

The problem is that this future does not contain much in the way of jobs for unskilled and semi-skilled males, and only skivvying jobs for females. The E's may not vote but the D's and C2's do - and they are intelligent enough not to vote for a future that offers them nothing.

Andrew Craig-Bennett
06-25-2013, 02:33 PM
Certainly shows how protectionism really works.

Explain please?

Dan McCosh
06-25-2013, 02:58 PM
Explain please? If China's demand for steel was not protected from imports, it would show up in the production of major exporters--notably Japan and Korea, which are in the best position to ship to China. Korea still imports more Japanese steel than China does.

Dan McCosh
06-25-2013, 03:02 PM
That's what I've been doing for the past 30 years; figuring out ways to make more stuff more quickly, more efficiently and with fewer people. Nostalgia for labor-intensive manufacturing makes about as much sense as nostalgia for agriculture with shovels and horses. Trust me, you wouldn't want most of the jobs I've automated. Figuring out ways to make more with less effort is pretty much the definition of the industrial revolution. The recent changes have been minor compared to the early days. The loss of jobs that resulted has generally been offset by the jobs in making machinery, plus increased consumption due to the higher income levels. Interrupting the latter seems to have become a problem. Abandoning the entire effort is yet another.

leikec
06-25-2013, 05:24 PM
The problem is that this future does not contain much in the way of jobs for unskilled and semi-skilled males, and only skivvying jobs for females. The E's may not vote but the D's and C2's do - and they are intelligent enough not to vote for a future that offers them nothing.

The present doesn't offer much either, but it doesn't stop our many of our leaders from playing the same tired old tune--and the reason this is so is because the target demographic in the electorate is the 50+ aged voter. Patriotism, religion, a return to the good old days, and apple pie still plays well there, at least in local and off year elections.

Jeff C

C. Ross
06-25-2013, 05:25 PM
The problem is that this future does not contain much in the way of jobs for unskilled and semi-skilled males, and only skivvying jobs for females. The E's may not vote but the D's and C2's do - and they are intelligent enough not to vote for a future that offers them nothing.

You are completely correct.

As a father of teenage girls who have zero interest in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), I have (tried to) have lots of conversations with them about the need to develop skills in abstraction, communication, interpretation, narrative, and so on. Jobs that required a good work ethic and a strong back used to be in agriculture, then they were in manufacturing and now they are mostly gone. The crappy "industrial jobs " now are in low end consumer services - retail, food service, call centers. The interesting work is either in STEM jobs or in jobs that require the kinds of interpersonal and conceptual value-generating skills that I hope my daughters and their friends will develop.

Andrew Craig-Bennett
06-25-2013, 06:04 PM
If China's demand for steel was not protected from imports, it would show up in the production of major exporters--notably Japan and Korea, which are in the best position to ship to China. Korea still imports more Japanese steel than China does.


Dan, you are overlooking the possibility that China holds the comparative advantage in steelmaking - newest plants, all adjacent to Capesize deepwater berths, most modern equipment and processes...

15-14 years ago I was involved in setting up this shipyard:

http://www.nacks.com.cn/

It's a very good one - the best in China. As you see, it's a Chinese-Japanese 50/50 JV. It was intended to use Japanese steel, imported, so the plate lines were designed for JIS. But we found that the same grades were readily available, much cheaper, locally, so we had to redesign the plate lines for GB sections and sizes.

Andrew Craig-Bennett
06-25-2013, 06:12 PM
The present doesn't offer much either, but it doesn't stop our many of our leaders from playing the same tired old tune--and the reason this is so is because the target demographic in the electorate is the 50+ aged voter. Patriotism, religion, a return to the good old days, and apple pie still plays well there, at least in local and off year elections.

Jeff C

Dead right, Jeff. And the Republicans are seeing where reliance on the pensioner vote gets you - the pensioners desert you when they die - and then what?

Andrew Craig-Bennett
06-25-2013, 06:14 PM
You are completely correct.

As a father of teenage girls who have zero interest in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), I have (tried to) have lots of conversations with them about the need to develop skills in abstraction, communication, interpretation, narrative, and so on. Jobs that required a good work ethic and a strong back used to be in agriculture, then they were in manufacturing and now they are mostly gone. The crappy "industrial jobs " now are in low end consumer services - retail, food service, call centers. The interesting work is either in STEM jobs or in jobs that require the kinds of interpersonal and conceptual value-generating skills that I hope my daughters and their friends will develop.

Cris, I have ruthlessly pointed my two boys at the STEM subjects although my own degree is in English. I have taken the view that they go to school to learn the stuff that I cannot teach them - the history, literature, music and painting they get at home.

Dan McCosh
06-25-2013, 06:24 PM
Dan, you are overlooking the possibility that China holds the comparative advantage in steelmaking - newest plants, all adjacent to Capesize deepwater berths, most modern equipment and processes...

15-14 years ago I was involved in setting up this shipyard:

http://www.nacks.com.cn/

It's a very good one - the best in China. As you see, it's a Chinese-Japanese 50/50 JV. It was intended to use Japanese steel, imported, so the plate lines were designed for JIS. But we found that the same grades were readily available, much cheaper, locally, so we had to redesign the plate lines for GB sections and sizes. Sounds reasonable. I also recently toured an Italian plant in Tennessee, making high-precision plastic moldings. Oddly, the Italian plant featured all Italian equipment, including robots, molding equipment, support machinery, etc. They said the Italians had outbid all the other companies in the world who could have supplied the equipment. I was in Korean car plant in Georgia. The robots, forklift trucks, presses, etc., all were made by Hyundai. They said nobody else was competitive. I was in a German plant in Mexico, and even the shelving was made in Germany, along with the presses, molding equipment, etc. And guess what?
Maybe I'm getting a little cynical on this issue.

Hugh Conway
06-25-2013, 06:24 PM
the higher pollution levels in Chinese steel production as against the USA are indeed because as Epoxyboy has said the US steel industry today is essentially remelting rather than converting from ore.

Until recently a fair bit of the steel production in China was "illegal" and barely regulated. This has changed in the past couple years but to suggest there's a similarity in pollution regulation is comical. China chose to invest much funds in steel production and greatly expand capacity; it's currently over capacity (as is it's ship building business) so things will change particularly with the overall macro economic picture for China.

While, yes, China is currently leading many production metrics there's a woeful lack of innovation infrastructure and back end to build a future economy. There are shiny airports, bridges, and office buildings, those usually fool gweilo.

Andrew Craig-Bennett
06-25-2013, 06:38 PM
Sounds reasonable. I also recently toured an Italian plant in Tennessee, making high-precision plastic moldings. Oddly, the Italian plant featured all Italian equipment, including robots, molding equipment, support machinery, etc. They said the Italians had outbid all the other companies in the world who could have supplied the equipment. I was in Korean car plant in Georgia. The robots, forklift trucks, presses, etc., all were made by Hyundai. They said nobody else was competitive. I was in a German plant in Mexico, and even the shelving was made in Germany, along with the presses, molding equipment, etc. And guess what?
Maybe I'm getting a little cynical on this issue.

Dan, you'll notice that in our case we ended up sourcing our steel, and in due course almost everything else, in China; this was quite a shock to Kawasaki but their interest in making a profit overcame their interest in shipping in stuff from Japan!

Andrew Craig-Bennett
06-25-2013, 06:41 PM
Until recently a fair bit of the steel production in China was "illegal" and barely regulated. This has changed in the past couple years but to suggest there's a similarity in pollution regulation is comical. China chose to invest much funds in steel production and greatly expand capacity; it's currently over capacity (as is it's ship building business) so things will change particularly with the overall macro economic picture for China.

While, yes, China is currently leading many production metrics there's a woeful lack of innovation infrastructure and back end to build a future economy. There are shiny airports, bridges, and office buildings, those usually fool gweilo.

With respect, Hugh, I have lived in China for five years; I speak some Putonghwa, I work for a Chinese SOE, I visit China two or three times a year.

I also lived in Hong Kong for eight years; "gweilo" is Cantonese for "white ghost" - the Mandarin equivalent is "lao wai" "old foreign"

C. Ross
06-25-2013, 07:16 PM
I have taken the view that they go to school to learn the stuff that I cannot teach them - the history, literature, music and painting they get at home.

You have clearly been more successful than I.

It became clear early on that my girls are liberal arts people. They, perhaps like your boys, can expect to have joyful lives filled with appreciation for art, music, theater, history, language and literature. Now, how to pay for it?

[Doting Dad]It seemed to me that there was no stopping or turning this tide, but it might be ridden. The one core skill that my kids may take with them is an uncanny ability to recognize and extract, or create, narrative. They see connections and relationships and correlations and causalities and can explain them with brilliance. I have encouraged and cultivated this in all ways, but in fact this love is kudzu that grows without a farmer to till it. The fact that rocket #1 is very proficient with Mandarin and is learning Russian, and torpedo #2 is fluent in German and gaining fast in French, with more than a smattering of Italian, helps.[/Doting Dad]

Hugh Conway
06-25-2013, 08:12 PM
With respect, Hugh, I have lived in China for five years; I speak some Putonghwa, I work for a Chinese SOE, I visit China two or three times a year.

I also lived in Hong Kong for eight years; "gweilo" is Cantonese for "white ghost" - the Mandarin equivalent is "lao wai" "old foreign"

I'm not interested in your bio, boyo, but you've got that expat China patter down cold. Care to address capacity issues, funding and expansion?

Oh, I guess china itself doesn't like stell plant pollution:
http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-05-14/china-s-tangshan-to-cut-power-to-199-polluting-plants-next-week.html
must be the clean plants

Dan McCosh
06-25-2013, 08:32 PM
Dan, you'll notice that in our case we ended up sourcing our steel, and in due course almost everything else, in China; this was quite a shock to Kawasaki but their interest in making a profit overcame their interest in shipping in stuff from Japan! Sure sounds China is like the rest of the countries pursuing their own version of national interest. Pretty generous of the Chinese to offer a part ownership in the company, as well. Foreign companies get to learn Chinese technology this way, I understand.

epoxyboy
06-26-2013, 01:47 AM
Still, I would argue that steelmaking based on recycled steel is the end game, as opposed to being out of date. Maybe you would have to see the dramatic changes in air and water quality that result to appreciate it. It's certainly visible around here.
Dan, you cant recycle what aint there. I am sure the Chinese would prefer to go this way rather than smelt ore, because they are just as cost and energy focussed as anybody else.
The reduced pollution is obviously a very nice bonus too. But they are producing hundreds of millions of tons more than anybody else every year, and somebody has to make steel in the first place so that somebody else can recycle it later, and feel smug about how clean their industry is :d

hokiefan
06-26-2013, 01:53 AM
Dan, you cant recycle what aint there. I am sure the Chinese would prefer to go this way rather than smelt ore, because they are just as cost and energy focussed as anybody else.
The reduced pollution is obviously a very nice bonus too. But they are producing hundreds of millions of tons more than anybody else every year, and somebody has to make steel in the first place so that somebody else can recycle it later, and feel smug about how clean their industry is :d

When you ride by the scrap yards with crushed cars stacked 50 feet high, you have to believe most of the steel we need has already been smelted.

Cheers,

Bobby

Dan McCosh
06-26-2013, 06:57 AM
Dan, you cant recycle what aint there. I am sure the Chinese would prefer to go this way rather than smelt ore, because they are just as cost and energy focussed as anybody else.
The reduced pollution is obviously a very nice bonus too. But they are producing hundreds of millions of tons more than anybody else every year, and somebody has to make steel in the first place so that somebody else can recycle it later, and feel smug about how clean their industry is :d The actual "cost" of recycled steel--in terms of labor, energy and transportation-- is considerably lower than producing it from ore. China does consume most of the steel scrap globally, but also is both the largest producer and importer of ore. Chinese steel thus is expensive in real terms to produce, but sold globally at low prices, which reflect the currency imbalance. US steel is low cost in real terms, mainly due to most of it is from scrap, but isn't competitive globally.

John Smith
06-26-2013, 08:14 AM
You are completely correct.

As a father of teenage girls who have zero interest in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), I have (tried to) have lots of conversations with them about the need to develop skills in abstraction, communication, interpretation, narrative, and so on. Jobs that required a good work ethic and a strong back used to be in agriculture, then they were in manufacturing and now they are mostly gone. The crappy "industrial jobs " now are in low end consumer services - retail, food service, call centers. The interesting work is either in STEM jobs or in jobs that require the kinds of interpersonal and conceptual value-generating skills that I hope my daughters and their friends will develop.

My grandkids seem to have no particular interest in any field. It reminds me of the afternoon Donahue had a marvelous hour on healthcare and the audience changed to Oprah who had an hour on cross dressers. I think that defined the problem. The important stuff is boring and most of the public doesn't follow what bores them, no matter how important it is to their lives.

John Smith
06-26-2013, 08:21 AM
Sounds reasonable. I also recently toured an Italian plant in Tennessee, making high-precision plastic moldings. Oddly, the Italian plant featured all Italian equipment, including robots, molding equipment, support machinery, etc. They said the Italians had outbid all the other companies in the world who could have supplied the equipment. I was in Korean car plant in Georgia. The robots, forklift trucks, presses, etc., all were made by Hyundai. They said nobody else was competitive. I was in a German plant in Mexico, and even the shelving was made in Germany, along with the presses, molding equipment, etc. And guess what?
Maybe I'm getting a little cynical on this issue.

Bidding is a funny thing. We had our parking lot re-surfaced. Went out for bids. Lowest bid was $34,000. He paid another company $17,000 to do the job. Where was the second company when bids were being taken?

Andrew Craig-Bennett
06-26-2013, 08:22 AM
Until recently a fair bit of the steel production in China was "illegal" and barely regulated. This has changed in the past couple years but to suggest there's a similarity in pollution regulation is comical. China chose to invest much funds in steel production and greatly expand capacity; it's currently over capacity (as is it's ship building business) so things will change particularly with the overall macro economic picture for China.

While, yes, China is currently leading many production metrics there's a woeful lack of innovation infrastructure and back end to build a future economy. There are shiny airports, bridges, and office buildings, those usually fool gweilo.

With respect, Hugh, I have lived in China for five years; I speak some Putonghwa, I work for a Chinese SOE, I visit China two or three times a year.

I also lived in Hong Kong for eight years; "gweilo" is Cantonese for "white ghost" - the Mandarin equivalent is "lao wai" "old foreign"


I'm not interested in your bio, boyo, but you've got that expat China patter down cold. Care to address capacity issues, funding and expansion?

Oh, I guess china itself doesn't like stell plant pollution:
http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-05-14/china-s-tangshan-to-cut-power-to-199-polluting-plants-next-week.html
must be the clean plants

If you want to come the Old China Hand, let's see your credentials, sunshine...

I'm somewhat underwhelmed by people who try to bull****, and, when called, respond with incivility.

Could it be that you just a teenage smartarse?

John Smith
06-26-2013, 08:25 AM
I am reminded of my very first post on an internet forum. It was Bill Maher's forum. I asked why so many are so concerned about importing oil, but so unconcerned about importing everything else.

I believe there is a direct correlation between the stagnant wages of the middle class and the moving of factories to other countries. If we are afraid of being dependent on other countries for our oil, why are we not equally afraid of being dependent on foreign sources for our goods?

Andrew Craig-Bennett
06-26-2013, 08:29 AM
John, I think it is simply because everyone can understand what "no gasoline at the filling stations" means, but "no new gadgets" doesnt have the same immediacy.

The middle classes don't have a way to solve this one; our incomes will be levelled down to the global average for our skills. There is absolutely no alternative.

Andrew Craig-Bennett
06-26-2013, 09:12 AM
Sure sounds China is like the rest of the countries pursuing their own version of national interest. Pretty generous of the Chinese to offer a part ownership in the company, as well. Foreign companies get to learn Chinese technology this way, I understand.

Very funny.

I could talk about the interesting issues that wehad to deal with in setting up the yard and getting the productivity and quality up, but given the level of discourse in this thread, it would be pointless.

Dan McCosh
06-26-2013, 09:16 AM
I am reminded of my very first post on an internet forum. It was Bill Maher's forum. I asked why so many are so concerned about importing oil, but so unconcerned about importing everything else.

I believe there is a direct correlation between the stagnant wages of the middle class and the moving of factories to other countries. If we are afraid of being dependent on other countries for our oil, why are we not equally afraid of being dependent on foreign sources for our goods? There is really nothing magic about manufacturing automatically paying higher wages. Pay is determined by what you get. It is an expression of power, not intrinsic value. That said, real wealth still stems from the basics--you make it, you grow it, or you mine it. Making it is the most complex, involving the broadest segments of society, hence seems the most powerful way to both produce and distribute wealth. It's a fairly pragmatic way to build a reasonable economy. The U.S. in unique in its casual attitude about this effect--most likely since there has been an enormous shift in wealth to what are arguably non-productive areas of the economy. The collapse of the financial system over bonds based on decaying houses is a good example. The millionaire retired policeman in Florida is another. Another factor is the sectors protected by rampant nationalism--notably medicine, lawsuits, government jobs and airline pilots. These are under attack as well, but will likely survive. Oddly, there is a substantial future in manufacturing, but you had best bring your passport.

Dan McCosh
06-26-2013, 09:20 AM
Very funny.

I could talk about the interesting issues that wehad to deal with in setting up the yard and getting the productivity and quality up, but given the level of discourse in this thread, it would be pointless. You have probably read some of the books by Michael Dunne, who is the son of a friend of mine. He has lots of ancedotes. My daughter also spend five years or so doing business in China, and the other daughter was recruited for her expertise in aquaculture. Lots of stories.

oznabrag
09-28-2013, 11:22 PM
Since when was introducing trade barriers "levelling the playing field"?
Don't forget, the Chinese have to ship these bridge sections clear across the Pacific. If a domestic manufacturer without that overhead cant compete, then sorry, they don't deserve to be in business.
And if other countries were to do tit for tat " local content" trade barriers, how many jobs do you think would disappear in your export sector? They are a big, blunt double edge sword that reward overpriced, inefficient businesses - why get better when you can keep on ripping off the locals, thanks to a protectionist government? And you can guarantee in that environment, those same companies wont have a hope in hell of ever competing globally.

Since the early 1800s, when the US imposed prohibitive tariffs on English steel.

The intent was to foster the US steel industry by making US steel competitive with the English stuff.

There were a lot of railroads and locomotives to make, after all, and the result was the mightiest steel industry on Earth.

I am not sure that such tariffs are the answer now, but you asked for an example.

skuthorp
09-29-2013, 03:47 AM
The Chinese are building extraordinary bridges at home, there's a selection of video's here
http://www.google.com.au/search?client=safari&rls=en&q=new+chinese+bridges&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8&gws_rd=cr&ei=7edHUvb3INTRqQGqyID4Dg

http://lookbridges.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/12/Siduhe_River_Bridge_1.gif

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/6/6d/Donghai_Bridge.jpg
Including I think a 26 mile sea bridge.

oznabrag
09-29-2013, 09:05 AM
Those images are extraordinary!

Thanks!