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Old 15th February 2008, 07:24   #1
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Cool why are japanese/German engines better

Just curious.
I hear a lot of people say Japanese/German engines are better.
Even i myself take that japanese engines are better than the Koreans or Americans better.

I just would like to know why.
What is it that makes them better than the others.
FE -- Check
Long Lasting -- Check

But what is it that makes them better!!

Note : I am not an expert here, this is just out of curiosity and something that i would like to know.
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Old 15th February 2008, 11:19   #2
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It's not just the engines but the rest of the car as well.

About a decade or so back, I had read an interview of Mr Ratan Tata in which Mr Tata cited a meeting that he had had with the head of a European car company (German I think). Mr Tata told the European that at the quality control checks, Tata Motors kept the error margin at 0.3 microns. The European responded by saying, "That's good." When Mr Tata asked him what was the error margin they maintained, the European said "0.03 microns."

In a much more recent interview, Mr Tata mentioned that while Indian car manufacturers still subject their new cars to the "shower test" to check for roof and glass/window leakages, the japanese manufacturers have given up the practice long back since their quality control is so strong that there is zero possibility of leakage and hence no need for the shower test.

So I think it's all about your ability to maintain quality which requires strong discipline, something in which the Germans and Japanese excel.
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Old 15th February 2008, 11:39   #3
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@directinjection: Yea rightly said dude ! the quality maintained by german and japanese car manufacturers is very high and this has got to do with a lot of excellent engineering minds and above all discipline and care for the customers and there by better quality is ensured with precision @ the highest level.
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Old 15th February 2008, 11:43   #4
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its quite evident since Toyota developed the quality system and other assembly line manufacturing systems, against the traditional american cell manufacturing systems.
Japan is a country where all manufacturers be it a potter or an automobile manufacturer, produce and deliver to the market ZERO DEFECT QUALITY products only.
There is 100 % inspection according to the strict norms and standards set by japanese industries.

Hence whatever product Japan produces is at par over India's and American's
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Old 15th February 2008, 11:55   #5
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Vorsprung durch Technik, probably!
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Old 15th February 2008, 14:32   #6
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I guess its more to there belief about business: its not business but a war and a war that has to be won, that means winning customer with no compromise.
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Old 15th February 2008, 14:45   #7
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Default Toyota Production System

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Originally Posted by amit_mechengg View Post
its quite evident since Toyota developed the quality system and other assembly line manufacturing systems, against the traditional american cell manufacturing systems.
Japan is a country where all manufacturers be it a potter or an automobile manufacturer, produce and deliver to the market ZERO DEFECT QUALITY products only.
There is 100 % inspection according to the strict norms and standards set by japanese industries.

Hence whatever product Japan produces is at par over India's and American's
Yes, they are the gurus of Lean Manufacturing. Like wise Toyota follow TPS (Toyota Production System) through which they not only improve the quality of the product but all follow the cost cutting measures during the production and pass on the benefits to the customers.
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Old 15th February 2008, 21:44   #8
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Originally Posted by amit_mechengg View Post
There is 100 % inspection according to the strict norms and standards set by japanese industries.
Actually its quite the opposite. The goal is to have 0% inspection by increasing process capability. So the japanese are tending towards lower inspection by optimizing Cp and Cpk of the process.
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Old 15th February 2008, 22:00   #9
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TQM in Japan and Precision engineering in Germany. One of my Sr. Colleagues told me a joke long ago. An American company was subcontracting some hubs or so to a Japanese manufacturer. In the letter written with an order for a few million pieces it was written "We do not expect more than 100 faulty pieces". When the order was delivered from Japan the American company received two shipments, one 10 million pieces and the other 100 faulty pieces along with a letter that said " Sir We never understood your way of doing business, we have no clue as to why you wanted 100 faulty pieces". This tells the story.
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Old 15th February 2008, 22:20   #10
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Originally Posted by sreenivass View Post
TQM in Japan and Precision engineering in Germany. One of my Sr. Colleagues told me a joke long ago. An American company was subcontracting some hubs or so to a Japanese manufacturer. In the letter written with an order for a few million pieces it was written "We do not expect more than 100 faulty pieces". When the order was delivered from Japan the American company received two shipments, one 10 million pieces and the other 100 faulty pieces along with a letter that said " Sir We never understood your way of doing business, we have no clue as to why you wanted 100 faulty pieces". This tells the story.
That was a very good one.

But how is it that the Japanese/Germans are able to consistently build parts with such low tolerances. Infact any device is a sum of parts and if each part is built to its exact tolerance levels, the device is of high quality. Why cant the same manufacturing techniques be replicated?

Moreover how is it that the Japanese/German parts are able to sustain their tolerances over use-reuse, increasing longevity. They must be doing something right in terms of finding and using the right materials. (Apart from the wiring n case of Germans!)

Why aren't the Japanese/German companies up for grabs for companies like Tata to learn from, rather than some old high noses Brit companies, generally selling scrap.

Last edited by 1100D : 15th February 2008 at 22:21.
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Old 15th February 2008, 22:32   #11
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Default Japan vs Germany

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Actually its quite the opposite. The goal is to have 0% inspection by increasing process capability. So the japanese are tending towards lower inspection by optimizing Cp and Cpk of the process.

Exactly. I agree with this observation, with regards to Japanese workers. Its their own obsession to build the country. The workers treat the company they work as their own and dont shy away from putting extra hours to meet the target and quality. They do the assembly then they themselves inspect to certify it has quality.

However, with regard to Germany companies - their culture is more laid back. (For eg. if you are out of job, the social security paid by the government is quite high. So you have quite a lot east germans, deliberately being job less.) They dont work that hard. They have strong unions. They work only 5 days, etc. (These unions didnt let me in to office on Saturday)

What I have seen in Germany, is better engineering in all walks of life. Be it the roads (not necessarily the autobahns), bridges, printing presses or even weaponry. I think this obsession of quality has translated to cars also, however due to the laid back culture at a higher cost.

OT: The combination of these two countries during the WWII was deadly. If only Hitler had not underestimated Russia...
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Old 15th February 2008, 22:48   #12
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Originally Posted by 1100D View Post
That was a very good one.

But how is it that the Japanese/Germans are able to consistently build parts with such low tolerances. Infact any device is a sum of parts and if each part is built to its exact tolerance levels, the device is of high quality. Why cant the same manufacturing techniques be replicated?

Moreover how is it that the Japanese/German parts are able to sustain their tolerances over use-reuse, increasing longevity. They must be doing something right in terms of finding and using the right materials. (Apart from the wiring n case of Germans!)
Good points there.
Bottom line being,the Japs & the Germans are the ones who really (and i mean,in all aspects) use their brains. The way they put things to use,and come up with a product that can be trusted for decades,thats what makes them stand apart.

OT: I came across this documentary on the History chanel. It spoke about the Cold war,and how,in the 1940s, over 2000 German scientists were brought to the US in an effort to give the USAF a big leap in technology. Left to themselves,the Americans can't get much done.And when they saw that the Germans were atleast 15years ahead of them,they had to get those brainy people to work on different projects in NASA & other top secret projects.

Goes to say,the Germans & the Japs have a lot of brain power,and the tactical approach to everything makes them stand apart.If only India had 1/3 the dedication these guys have,we'd have been a brute force a long time ago.
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Old 15th February 2008, 23:05   #13
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Too broad of a generalization. Not all german/japanese engines are good. Take the VW 1.8T --> good design on paper. They ended up having to recall a lot of them due to sludge build up problem that was a design issue (this is still an issue per my last visit to an Audi forum). Japanese -- I think it was the late 90's Nissan Maximas that had a problem engine.

Engine quality in general has improved worldwide with better design & manufacturing. Many of the components used are from same/similar suppliers. Many manufacturers share designs and even factories.

In the US, my observation has been that German engines and cars tend to be less reliable (higher freq of repairs & $) than Toyota or Honda -- and no better than many American. My wife's toyota was certainly *much* more reliable than my Audi.

If you go on some car specific boards Audiworld.com, vwvortex.com, and bmw boards, you can read about some of the common issues. The Audi/VW engines were (probably still are) oil drinkers requiring more frequent top up.

Another issue with this discussion -- how do you measure "good"? Is it performance? Is it reliability (how do u measure this $/mile, failures/mile, other, $/bhp/mile), is it... Many design choices/tradeoffs are often made for achieve different business/cost/manf objectives -- so it's often very hard (not impossible) to do apples to apples comparisons.

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Old 15th February 2008, 23:06   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nitin View Post

OT: I came across this documentary on the History chanel. It spoke about the Cold war,and how,in the 1940s, over 2000 German scientists were brought to the US in an effort to give the USAF a big leap in technology. Left to themselves,the Americans can't get much done.And when they saw that the Germans were atleast 15years ahead of them,they had to get those brainy people to work on different projects in NASA & other top secret projects.
Many of the top scientists who worked on the Manhattan Project were Germans who had fled because of the Nazis. Enrico Fermi is one name I remember. He fled from Italy.

Anyway, back on the topic, as people have said before, it is because Germans and Japanese are sticklers for quality. My dad used to sell German equipment and he was so impressed with them initially. Their professionalism, their attitude towards work and towards the after sales service was exemplary.

He also deals with people from other European countries like Italy and he says he has still not found anyone to be as professional as the Germans.

Even recently, a very very old German equipment he sold had stopped working and even though he isnt a dealer anymore, he contacted the guy in Germany and even that chap has retired. But he still took almost 5 hrs to email my dad a drawing of the wire. And my dad sat here trying to modify an existing cable to suit the drawing. That is the kind of attitude these people have.

If it was an Indian, he probably would have said, "It's a very old machine and I cant do a damn thing abt it".

Someday I wish India gets to be like that.

Actually, whom am I kidding ? that is never going to happen.
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Old 15th February 2008, 23:10   #15
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He also deals with people from other European countries like Italy and he says he has still not found anyone to be as professional as the Germans.

If it was an Indian, he probably would have said, "It's a very old machine and I cant do a damn thing abt it".
So true. From experience,I can say that there are just a handful of Germans who don't have the dedication towards their work/interests. Every other person goes the extra mile to get things done,and done in an efficient way too! As for the Japs, they are quite picky when it comes to quality,as my dad described when sourcing components to Japan in the mid 90s. They'd crib ever so often,but only due to the fact that the parts supplied by contractors in India messed things up,and supplied crappy parts.
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