Steve Jackson Games - Site Navigation
Home General Info Follow Us Search Illuminator Store Forums What's New Other Games Ogre GURPS Munchkin Our Games: Home

Go Back   Steve Jackson Games Forums > Roleplaying > GURPS

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 09-14-2017, 07:38 PM   #11
Anthony
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Berkeley, CA
Default Re: [High-Tech] GURPS Industrial Economics (building on Low-Tech Companion 3)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael Thayne View Post
This seems like it gives non-insane results when you have nothing else to go by, but I suspect is not terribly realistic.
Well, it has the problem that it ignores economies of scale, as well as the significant variance between factory and retail prices. It's probably a bit more realistic to just have fixed-size factories, with larger factories having higher production as a fraction of their base cost.
__________________
My GURPS site and Blog.
Anthony is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-15-2017, 01:48 AM   #12
johndallman
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: Cambridge, UK
Default Re: [High-Tech] GURPS Industrial Economics (building on Low-Tech Companion 3)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael Thayne View Post
OTOH I'm unclear on how much of modern factory equipment can be represented by the flexible CNC systems described in High-Tech. Obviously to the extent a factory can use that approach, it will, because you don't need new machinery when you get a new design for something. But I've also heard new car designs generally do require millions of dollars in new tooling. So not sure. Does anyone know about this area of manufacturing? Where is the line between general-purpose CNC tools and things that are specific to one model of an item?
I know a bit. CNC tools can make most shapes that will fit into their work spaces, with a bunch of caveats: size of details vs. size of cutting heads, absence of internal voids, appropriate type of material, and so on. But there are things you could make on a CNC tool, but don't, because it's more expensive than another process.

One of those things is car body panels. Machining them out of large blocks of metal would be possible, but ridiculous. They are pressed from sheet metal instead. That needs a big enough hydraulic press, and the dies for the shape of the panel, which are slightly bigger than the panel, and have to be made of hardened steel and replaced regularly. They're one part of why setting up a new car model for production is expensive.

There are also components that need to be forged for strength, notably engine crankshafts. Again, they need expensive custom dies, and this is one of the reasons why engine design and manufacturing is fairly separate from car bodies these days: many car models will share an engine design.
johndallman is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-15-2017, 03:43 AM   #13
RogerBW
 
RogerBW's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: near London, UK
Default Re: [High-Tech] GURPS Industrial Economics (building on Low-Tech Companion 3)

To generalise towards rules: the more of a thing you are planning to make, the more expensive the setup for the run will be, but the cheaper each item will be even accounting for its share of the setup cost. At one end you have the CNC rig and the 3d printer, somewhere in the middle the injection mould, at the other end the hardened-steel die.

I have a small business selling 3d-printed things, and the amount I have to charge to make a profit (materials, power, wear on the printer, my time) is about five to ten times what the things would cost at retail if they were injection-moulded in bulk. So the things I make won't be competing there: they're my own game accessory designs that I might sell five or ten of in a year, or other people's designs that they send to me to get manufactured. If I got my designs injection-moulded (as e.g. SJGames does when they're ordering game components), I'd need to have a run of at least ten thousand or so, I'd need to pay for all of that up front, and I'd need to store them all until I'd sold them – but they'd be produced faster and would be stronger.

In High-Tech terms I'm using "Desktop RP", but it's more like 0.025lb of parts per hour. Similar price but much lighter; I could put straps round the 3d printer and carry it on my back if I had to, though I'd rather not.
RogerBW is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-15-2017, 08:59 AM   #14
mlangsdorf
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Austin, TX
Default Re: [High-Tech] GURPS Industrial Economics (building on Low-Tech Companion 3)

Quote:
Originally Posted by DouglasCole View Post
I know you're spitballing, but that seems quite low. Thinking about disc drives, my own industry, to process a wafer (with, say, 50,000 usable heads on it) will take something like $10-15M in capital to go from a finished wafer to singluated heads, maybe more. Disc drive heads are cheap relative to microchips, though the 50,000+ head wafer itself requires equipment that can cost $35M a pop. The photolithography tools are, per unit made, the most expensive. Vacuum dep tools are the most expensive per unit, at least in my line of work. The photo tools for microchips (deep UV and whatever) are probably most expensive both in a per-unit-made and per-machine-acquired basis.

You're in a better place, sounds like, than I am to think about real chips, but I'd guess that there should be some sort of cost multiplier that's applied on a "smallest feature" scale.
I was a mid-level software engineer in a silicon company 15 years ago, and now remembering some numbers from quarterly reports. My numbers are very rough and back of the envelope, though I think they work out - AMD had a break even point around $100/chip and was generally profitable around $800M/quarter in revenue, so I think the 8,000,000 chips/quarter number is correct. But I don't really have any details on how much it cost to build Fab 30, beyond "around $2B" and a news article that says Fab 36 (the successor plant built at the same site) cost $2.4B*. In the ballpark, right?

If $1.6M is less than the total cost of the components to build a chip - and that doesn't sound crazy to me - the two obvious solutions are to either increase the minimum job size or just rule that factories for some things have minimum costs or job lot sizes. Microchip production is highly parallel, so perhaps square root of product cost is the minimum number of job lots that your fab has to be able to support. 14 production lines of 400 chips each is $23M, and that gets you a facility that produces about 30,000 chips/month. Is that the ballpark of an early test facility when the Si guys are developing a new production? I don't know, it doesn't sound crazy within the context of GURPS.

* Of course, both Fabs were just the front end that turned silicon wafers into etched wafers and there was an extensive test and packaging infrastructure around the world that turned etched wafers into silicon on PCB with mounting pins. I have no idea how much that would cost but I think that would be part of the total cost of the GURPS production line. Again, rough estimates.
__________________
Read my GURPS blog: http://noschoolgrognard.blogspot.com
mlangsdorf is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-15-2017, 09:14 AM   #15
mlangsdorf
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Austin, TX
Default Re: [High-Tech] GURPS Industrial Economics (building on Low-Tech Companion 3)

Quote:
Originally Posted by RogerBW View Post
To generalise towards rules: the more of a thing you are planning to make, the more expensive the setup for the run will be, but the cheaper each item will be even accounting for its share of the setup cost. At one end you have the CNC rig and the 3d printer, somewhere in the middle the injection mould, at the other end the hardened-steel die.
I think there's also a trade-off in adaptability: the CNC rig and 3d printer can make one thing on one day and different thing on the next, while the hardened steel die can only make one specific variation of one specific thing. There should be some kind of cost modifier to handle that, something like:

Production line can build different things of the same price or less*: x3
Production line can build similar things of the same price or less**: x1.5
Production line can build minor variations of the thing***: x1
Production line can only build the exact thing: x0.8

If you're the cash strapped Soviet Union setting up T-34 production lines, you build them to only build one exact model and then you have to build a new production line when you want to introduce the T-34/85. If you're the Americans, you set up M-4 Sherman production lines that are reasonably flexible. If you're a modern chip fab, you build expensive fabs that can make lots of different microchips with minimal adjustment. If you're a modern small businessman doing gig work, you set up a very flexible production line that can produce different things from day to day but never very quickly.

* Triple production time per item, but different kinds of items can be built in succession without any change over time.
** Double production time per item. Building a different kind of item takes 1/2 the new item's base production time to switch over to the new configuration.
* Normal build rate per item. Building a different variation on the item takes twice the item's base production time to switch over to the new configuration.
__________________
Read my GURPS blog: http://noschoolgrognard.blogspot.com
mlangsdorf is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-16-2017, 12:32 PM   #16
ericthered
Hero of Democracy
 
ericthered's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: far from the ocean
Default Re: [High-Tech] GURPS Industrial Economics (building on Low-Tech Companion 3)

Quote:
Originally Posted by mlangsdorf View Post
I think there's also a trade-off in adaptability: the CNC rig and 3d printer can make one thing on one day and different thing on the next, while the hardened steel die can only make one specific variation of one specific thing. There should be some kind of cost modifier to handle that, something like:

Production line can build different things of the same price or less*: x3
Production line can build similar things of the same price or less**: x1.5
Production line can build minor variations of the thing***: x1
Production line can only build the exact thing: x0.8

If you're the cash strapped Soviet Union setting up T-34 production lines, you build them to only build one exact model and then you have to build a new production line when you want to introduce the T-34/85. If you're the Americans, you set up M-4 Sherman production lines that are reasonably flexible. If you're a modern chip fab, you build expensive fabs that can make lots of different microchips with minimal adjustment. If you're a modern small businessman doing gig work, you set up a very flexible production line that can produce different things from day to day but never very quickly.

* Triple production time per item, but different kinds of items can be built in succession without any change over time.
** Double production time per item. Building a different kind of item takes 1/2 the new item's base production time to switch over to the new configuration.
* Normal build rate per item. Building a different variation on the item takes twice the item's base production time to switch over to the new configuration.
I'll note that all three of the adaptable production lines have similar times for producing something different than the last thing they produced:

Variations on Item: x2 (switch) + x1 (item) = x3
Similar things: x.5 (switch) + x2 (item) = x2.5
Generic shop: x3 (item) = x3

Was this intentional?

******

I'm wondering if the labor costs for production lines can be extrapolated to make high TL workers more productive.
__________________
Worlds Beyond Earth -- my blog
ericthered is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-16-2017, 04:02 PM   #17
mlangsdorf
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Austin, TX
Default Re: [High-Tech] GURPS Industrial Economics (building on Low-Tech Companion 3)

Quote:
Originally Posted by ericthered View Post
I'll note that all three of the adaptable production lines have similar times for producing something different than the last thing they produced:

Variations on Item: x2 (switch) + x1 (item) = x3
Similar things: x.5 (switch) + x2 (item) = x2.5
Generic shop: x3 (item) = x3

Was this intentional?
I don't think it was intentional because I just eye-balled those numbers.

If you have to build 5 of two different but similar items:
Generic: 3x5 + 3x5: 30 time units
Similar line: 2x5 + 0.5 + 2x5: 20.5 time units
Variants line: 5x1 + 2 + 5x1: 12 time units.

Possibly, the time disadvantage of the generic line should be reduced and the switch cost for the other two should be increased. But the big advantage of a generic line is that it can make a gun one day and an engine another, while the more efficient lines can't make an engine if they can make a gun and vice versa.
__________________
Read my GURPS blog: http://noschoolgrognard.blogspot.com
mlangsdorf is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-16-2017, 05:15 PM   #18
Michael Thayne
 
Michael Thayne's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2010
Default Re: [High-Tech] GURPS Industrial Economics (building on Low-Tech Companion 3)

It occurs to me that for purposes of space-colony design, using the Slower Factory design switch from Spaceships 2 and making the production lines described in Spaceships 7 available, you get the tidy rule that a generic factory costs x5 what a factory for a single product costs. That nicely explains why anyone bothers with specialized factories. I also lean towards interpreting "day" as an eight hour work day—so by having three shifts work round the clock, you can get x3 production.

This fits nicely with what's in High-Tech. A minifac fabricator, under this approach, can make $500 worth of parts in an eight-hour shift. In the same time, a workshop CNC could make 80 lbs. of generic parts according to High-Tech. If "parts" is limited to relatively simple things that cost $5/lb., that's almost an exact match, especially by the standards of such highly abstract manufacturing rules.
Michael Thayne is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-16-2017, 05:16 PM   #19
Michael Thayne
 
Michael Thayne's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2010
Default Re: [High-Tech] GURPS Industrial Economics (building on Low-Tech Companion 3)

Quote:
Originally Posted by johndallman View Post
There are also components that need to be forged for strength, notably engine crankshafts. Again, they need expensive custom dies, and this is one of the reasons why engine design and manufacturing is fairly separate from car bodies these days: many car models will share an engine design.
Do you have a sense of what percentage of the cost of the forge comes from the custom dies, vs. components that can be re-used for a different design?
Michael Thayne is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 09-16-2017, 05:22 PM   #20
Michael Thayne
 
Michael Thayne's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2010
Default Re: [High-Tech] GURPS Industrial Economics (building on Low-Tech Companion 3)

Quote:
Originally Posted by ericthered View Post
I'll note that all three of the adaptable production lines have similar times for producing something different than the last thing they produced:

Variations on Item: x2 (switch) + x1 (item) = x3
Similar things: x.5 (switch) + x2 (item) = x2.5
Generic shop: x3 (item) = x3

Was this intentional?

******

I'm wondering if the labor costs for production lines can be extrapolated to make high TL workers more productive.
Where are you getting the adaptable production line numbers from?
Michael Thayne is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Tags
high-tech, low-tech companion 3

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Fnords are Off
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -6. The time now is 09:29 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.9
Copyright ©2000 - 2018, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.