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German toolmakers - toolmakers in China. Differences?

German toolmakers – toolmakers in China. Differences?

Ralf Weimar is an experienced project engineer and has already worked for Schnitzer Group Asia in Shanghai for several years. In the following, the China expert explains the differences between German and Chinese toolmakers (plastic injection moulding) in two categories.
Category 1: Education system Germany versus education system China
Category 2: Difference in technology and efficiency

Education system Germany versus education system China
The Chinese school system is similar to the German (in terms of school types). While in Germany it is normal to ask questions, to discuss, to learn by transfer, in China education is “understood” in a more book- and teacher-oriented way. Moreover, the teaching content is more) focused on quantity than quality. Education is not free of charge in China. There is also no “dual” education system in China like in Germany (instruction in technical school plus training in the teaching company). In addition, the quality and scope of teaching in practice and theory is standardized in Germany. There is a uniform education or curriculum with corresponding examinations, which are state-approved.
At toolmakers in China the future workers are coming from school or often even from university and are studying the profession and its process through “learning by doing”. Depending on the know-how, ability and motivation of the instructor (colleague/supervisor), the quality of the next generation of Chinese toolmakers is created. There is no basic education standard in China.

Difference in technology and efficiency
Today, Chinese companies are using high-tech machine tools from Japan and/or Germany. Nevertheless they are not able to use the technology of the machine more than 50%, which is due to educational reasons, as mentioned before. Chinese companies are bigger in manpower than Germany toolmakers, so they partly can cover less technology and efficiency with more employees and more machines. In addition, they are still able to get their employees at work 24/7 if necessary. Besides Chinese labor cost are still quite lower than in Germany. Therefore, Chinese toolmakers are faster in getting results and FOT samples, but afterwards they need more time to optimize the tools to achieve final series production part quality. In general, a Chinese toolmaker need at least 3-4 correction loops and in comparison, a German toolmaker need max. one correction loop.