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The pupose of this Blog is to keep in contact with many good
friends spread out all over the world.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

The rot continues

Just to add to my last post about the poor quality of South African manufactured goods.
Last week my pool pump which I had recently purchased seized up. It already had a problem
when it was brand new but it somewhat recovered and did start although one could hear the
bearings might have a problem. So they took it away and it was returned today. Installed and it runs
like a induction motor should. Nice and quiet.
The reason why I bought this particular pump was that the previous pump had the very same
problem. It would not start (I checked the capacitor with my fancy LCR bridge of course as the
capacitor is the usual culprit for the motor not starting) but the cap was fine.
I always had to turn the impeller by hand, which meant opening the filter, turning the impeller, closing
the filter and switching on. This could have been maybe a problem with the winding's.
So I scrapped it.
Bottom line is it had to be replaced despite not being very old. I have my pool for thirty years and
all previous pumps lasted 10 years.
Now the repair crew connected the pipes and I connected the power cable. When I connected
the Earth wire, that is the yellow/green one, I asked the chap if he knows what that wire is for.
Not to my surprise he had no idea. So I explained to the two of them, as both had no clue how
the Earth Leakage System works and especially what it is for.  As there is a circuit breaker as well
as an Earth Leakage Trip I explained the reason for them. The were very grateful for  me taking
the time and educating them a little. But this should have been the responsibility of their employer.
The one chap is with that pool company for at least 10 years and is installing pool pumps every day.
One further interesting bit of information of how local companies are cutting corners came as a little
shock to me. Not even in my stingiest moments would I have thought of that one.
The pump comes with a 1m  length of 3 core cable. That cable is by far too undersized for the motor.
It has a label on it stating that that cable is only there for testing purposes and must be replaced with
the correct wire size when being installed. Of course when the pump got installed by that very same
chap who was here today he had no intention, or the knowledge for that matter, to fit the correct cable.
That means that there must be hundreds, if not more, pumps out there running with that incorrect cable.
That is why I always supervise any local employee of a South African Company and show them the
correct way. As I said, most are grateful for it. Makes their job a little bit more interesting.
There is also a label on the pump stating it must be installed by a qualified electrician. Well now we
are stretching it a bit. Why bother when you can get away with a chap who has no clue what
the little yellow/green wire is for.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Name and Shame

Recently one of our useless Government Departments, could have been Trade and Industry, but I'm not
sure, started a nation wide campaign to encourage people to buy South African manufactured goods since
the nations economy is in such dire straights with a expected GDP figure of 1.7 to 1.9%. The worst in 20
years or so. Mainly due to political interference and other meddling by people (mostly Communists)
whom I would not entrust 50 cents with. Our Engineering and manufacturing sector has shrunk alarmingly
over the same 20 years mainly due to much better  imported products available and at a much better
price than the local equivalent. Of course one must not forget that vast numbers of competent engineers
and other manufacturing specialists have emigrated leaving the incompetent and useless to carry on.
And carry on they do. I will cite only 2 recent examples of our shoddy products.
The sad thing really is though when one calls up the manufacturer one is given the cold shoulder or fudged off
with empty promises.
The first example is a rather expensive Can Opener, was the most expensive on the  supermarket shelf.
When I tried to open a can it did not work at all, all it did was to deform the can so that no other opener
could either. Thankfully I had an imported Swiss Army Knife which came to the rescue.
So my secretary called up the Manufacturer, Prestige Housewares, not once but at least three times.
Speaking to a number of senior people whose names and the dates of the calls we have on record.
We were promised vouchers etc to be send per post but nothing ever materialized.We were told they
are aware of problems with hat particular model.
I have since come across the same can opener again. Has been re-branded and has a slight change to one of its components. So I bought it just to see if the problem has been fixed. Not to my surprise, it still is not working. I managed to open a can but it took an extreme effort, far beyond what one could expect a woman or a child to manage. Yet the Kenwood electric Can Opener I bought only costs 3 times the price and it works beautifully. It says 'Designed and Engineered in the UK. Made in China.
The second incident which unfortunately will have a much greater impact on their sales happened just this
weekend. I bought a 2000 m range siren from SIRENCO  at a cost of over R 7000.00 to fit to my already massive security system as we have
residential burglaries and robberies (that is when the thugs break into your home while you are inside
and rape the women and kill everybody who does not comply) at an ever increasing frequency.
Just last Sunday they broke into my Neighbors house for the seventh time, while she was out, thankfully.

When I installed the siren I looked at the leaflet which has the dimensions of the mounting holes one
has to drill into the wall. Then I drilled the holes at the exact locations.
When I then tried to mount the siren to the wall I discovered that the holes on the siren base plate
were offset by 3 mm or more. The whole siren would have been hanging at a stupid angle making the
guy who installed it look incompetent while the real problem was that the factory, suffering from
the above mentioned incompetent and useless leftovers drilled the holes in the wrong place.
See photo below.
So I had to start from scratch. My fault really, I should have checked the base plate myself, knowing
the siren was manufactured in South Africa.
It is not just a question of drilling new 10mm holes into concrete. The old holes had to be filled
with cement so as not to be an eye sore etc. Took 2 hours extra because some moron is refusing to do
his job.
Now since that addition to my security system was only the first of many to come, I have now decided
not to use that manufacturer ever again. I already ordered 25 sirens made by Klaxon UK which have
very similar specs, cost 20% less, despite being imported. That means despite shipping costs, import duty
the local agents mark-up etc I can get a guaranteed product, which  incidentally is also a lot smaller and lighter, cheaper than the local crap.
And 75 more are on order for next year. This amounts to a R 650.000 order being lost because nobody
gives a shit at the factory. And then we wonder why South African Manufacturers go out of business by the
dozens. I read that 400.000, yes that is correct, small businesses closed down last year.
And then we are surprised when we have a 40% unemployment rate, yes that is correct as well.
Youth unemployment is at 50% plus.

And this need not be so. My company has designed and manufactured over 20 thousand units
of varying complexity, from the simple to the sophisticated. These are in use in coal mines all over
the globe. We have very few problems, often they are a misapplication of the device.
So that proves it can be done. But one has to have an interest in ones job as well as some
professional pride in ones work. But that seems to be sadly lacking in the 'new improved South Africa'.

This are just a few examples of the stupidity of our South African manufacturers. Sure, the suffer badly from
a total lack of skilled manpower, but that is no excuse. I would really like to ask a Psychiatrist what is going on in peoples minds. I already have approached a Psychologist , a chap who lives in my street, a while ago
but he did not want to give me a written opinion, instead he referred me to a Market Research Organisation.
More and more people are shunning local products because they get better and cheaper ones from overseas. Economics 101.


Vorna Valley Johannesburg

Vorna Valley Johannesburg
I live right in the middle of the picture

My Life Philosophy

My Life Philosophy