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Date: 05/29/19 18:15
Athearn new items?
Author: RRBaron

Any TOs know when Athearn will post the new models for May/June?



Date: 05/29/19 19:17
Re: Athearn new items?
Author: toledopatch

RRBaron Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Any TOs know when Athearn will post the new models
> for May/June?

This almost always happens on the final Friday of the month, unless they have a special announcement.



Date: 05/29/19 20:40
Re: Athearn new items?
Author: CSX602

It will be interesting to see if they can keep up the announcement pace with the reduced staff... or if it soon catches up to them.



Date: 05/29/19 22:31
Re: Athearn new items?
Author: JDLX

So what's the details on the reduced staffing?  If that's been previously discussed on this board and I missed it, I apologize...

Jeff Moore
Elko, NV



Date: 05/29/19 22:35
Re: Athearn new items?
Author: trackplanner

Try here under New Arrivals:
https://www.overlandhobbies.com/



Date: 05/29/19 22:40
Re: Athearn new items?
Author: trackplanner

Jeff, 

Vic retired, Craig Walker went to Rapido, Joe D'Elia retired and several others no longer work there. Someone from Horizon is now in charge so I've heard.

Don



Date: 05/30/19 04:22
Re: Athearn new items?
Author: CSX602

trackplanner Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Try here under New Arrivals...

Those are only the older announced items...   No new Athearn announcements for this month there yet...

As for the staffing at Athearn, what I had heard on another forum was that several people - all with many years at the company - were "let go" in early March.

I'm not sure of the exact numbers (I have heard estimates) but it would be interesting to know the number of employees Athearn had in California 20 years ago and the number they have there today... I think that would be informative to those who might believe that they are a large company or have a sizable staff.  The reality is that even before those recent departures it was a tall task with the excellent but limited staff to put togther all the (too many) new announcements every month and do the research and QA/QC to get them right.   IMHO they needed additional staff, not less.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 05/30/19 07:42 by CSX602.



Date: 05/30/19 08:21
Re: Athearn new items?
Author: highgreengraphics

Intermountain in Longmont, CO also dumped a lot of staff. === === = === JLH



Date: 05/30/19 09:35
Re: Athearn new items?
Author: SPDRGWfan

highgreengraphics Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Intermountain in Longmont, CO also dumped a lot of
> staff. === === = === JLH

I would guess that was due to the expecteddown turn in staffing needs when the AFFA Chinese factory closed.  I was in regular touch with one of the staff and he emailed me just after AFFA closed that he was laid-off.  I would have liked to stay in touch but didn't have his personal email addrss. 



Date: 05/30/19 16:24
Re: Athearn new items?
Author: tiltone

Might have reduced staff but i can not complain about their excellent service i received on a recent warranty claim  Cheers Dennis



Date: 05/30/19 18:18
Re: Athearn new items?
Author: CSX602

How did you get customer service?  I had a big issue in January (5 units, $849 at MSRP, all arrived with defects and/or missing parts) and emails and phone calls were not even returned for weeks.   Then I got a "return them to your dealer" email reply although Athearn apparently won't/can't pay for such returns to be made.

Looking forward...  Who wants to make a preorder a year in advance and then get stuck with the choice of accepting a defective unit or having to pay return shipping (and thus losing money on top of not getting what you ordered) to a dealer who really doesn't want a defective unit back?    Welcome to the model railroading pre-order scene in the era of poor QA/QC.



Date: 05/30/19 18:53
Re: Athearn new items?
Author: Streamliner

Regarding Athearn and other companies operating with reduced work forces:

There is a scene in the old “Miracle On 34th Street” movie, of a gigantic room, at Macy’s in NY, full of tiny desks, each occupied by a young woman, using a typewriter or an old fashioned adding machine.  There were probably 100 women in the shot.  When I see that scene, I am reminded of how a THOUSAND such rooms full of workers can now be replaced by ONE personal computer.  

Companies are currently developing MACHINES that will load and unload trucks.  

Computers replacing reasonably skilled workers.  Robots replacing low or unskilled workers.  Yet, we are told that we need MORE unskilled workers.

Does anyone else see a problem with any of this?

Hope you are all well,

Allen Drucker



Date: 05/30/19 22:37
Re: Athearn new items?
Author: AZSP

Many a Science Fiction book addressed this. Now becoming non fiction

Posted from iPhone



Date: 05/31/19 08:58
Re: Athearn new items?
Author: SPDRGWfan

Streamliner Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Regarding Athearn and other companies operating
> with reduced work forces:
>
> Computers replacing reasonably skilled workers.
>  Robots replacing low or unskilled workers.
>  Yet, we are told that we need MORE unskilled
> workers.
>
> Does anyone else see a problem with any of this?
>
> Hope you are all well,
>
> Allen Drucker

Regarding the juxtaposition of "Does anyone else see a problem with any of this?" and "Hope you are all well", maybe an appropriate reply might be, no, I'm not well.  Rather very depressed after your assessment.  My wife, a Brit, would have a different response like: "are you having a laugh?" or "are you enjoying yourself there?"  She's got a good sense of humor.

But on a serious note, what you pointed out has been going on for the past 50+ years, so my retorical question is "what else is new?" 

What did H.G Wells say? "adapt or perish"


Athearn has posted the new products announcement. 

Looks like Genesis GP38-2' and F units, some freight cars including Gunderson 60' boxcars, ballast hoppers, containers and some Roundhouse cars.  The only thing on my radar are the GP40-2's and SDP40F's from the last few months.



Date: 06/01/19 17:42
Re: Athearn new items?
Author: TCnR

560 bucks for an A/B F-unit pair?

Um...before or after Tarriff?

Well...it has sound and LED headlights.



Date: 06/02/19 07:42
Re: Athearn new items?
Author: navarch2

Welcome to the world of AI.....

A branch of that deal with "autonomous" vehicles and associated systems. These are people replacers....

https://www.technologyreview.com/f/613240/watching-boston-dynamics-new-robot-stack-boxes-is-weirdly-mesmerizing/

This is coming to railroading as well....as crewless trains are very likely to be a feature of railroading in the next 10 years. The same thing is happening in the maritime industry....crewless ships....the Aussies recently did it on a 240 kM trip with 26000 ton ore trains...

https://www.railwaygazette.com/news/technology/single-view/view/driverless-heavy-haul-train-complete-first-iron-ore-delivery.html

Look at driverless cars.....and now....buses...

There are now even robotic "working girls" made that are soon to be used in a Toronto operation.

https://abc13.com/technology/toronto-businessman-brings-sex-robot-brothel-to-the-galleria-area-/4306146/

Pretty soon....even my job is at risk as AI can and eventually will....be able to power digital naval architects who can be given a set of parameters and completely design a vessel to meet them in a matter of hours....that goes for virtually any engineering or design skill...

Then...there is this.... https://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/2017/05/01/robotic-brain-surgeon-will-see-now-drill-can-perform-complex/

I am good friends with a fellow who is working on autonomous engineering ( "AE" ) software ....he says that it is not science fiction to postulate that one day robots - dedicated by programming to create ever-more-capable robots....will keep creating better and better robots.....and one day generations of them may question why there need to be humans at all on the planet....

Now you can say that that is eons away - but technology is advancing far more rapidly than it can me managed. There is such a thing as engineering ethics....can that be programmed into a 20th generation robot? This fellow tells me that in round numbers, something like 90% of human jobs could in theory..with an all out automation push....be filled by robotic workers in the next 20 to 40 years. If they can do what they are going to do in Toronto

Some day...as a hobbyist...you may be able to contact Athearn and place an order for UP Road# XXXX SD40-2 - as it appeared in 1993 ....and a properly painted model with be created on a 3D printer - painted exactly correctly by a robotic painter...with the shell being 100% accurate the THAT timeframe....with whatever drive you want it to have....and that Athearn plant may have a single scanning siding next to their building where development cost is driven by what it costs to have a railroad drop a unit - or a freight car - on the siding for a day so it can be scanned. A Digital photo archive of every locomotive and freight car in the USA would be easy to create....over time this new Athearn could very well have a complete 3D model file of every class of locomotive that is built....or has been built...and then they just 3D print it..have it's accuracy checked by a robotic QA department....have it packed by a robot.....shipped by one and delivered to you by an Amazon drone.....right to your front porch at a guaranteed date and even time...all untouched by human hands.

I never thought I'd ever see the day when a fully autonomous ship would cross and ocean with zero crew aboard...

yet.... https://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-6129497/Robot-boat-sails-history-finishing-Atlantic-crossing.html

...oh...and lest we forget....we can now 3D print organs to a degree... :)

https://singularityhub.com/2019/05/07/new-progress-in-the-biggest-challenge-with-3d-printed-organs/

Bob



Streamliner Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Regarding Athearn and other companies operating
> with reduced work forces:
>
> There is a scene in the old “Miracle On 34th
> Street” movie, of a gigantic room, at Macy’s
> in NY, full of tiny desks, each occupied by a
> young woman, using a typewriter or an old
> fashioned adding machine.  There were probably
> 100 women in the shot.  When I see that scene, I
> am reminded of how a THOUSAND such rooms full of
> workers can now be replaced by ONE personal
> computer.  
>
> Companies are currently developing MACHINES that
> will load and unload trucks.  
>
> Computers replacing reasonably skilled workers.
>  Robots replacing low or unskilled workers.
>  Yet, we are told that we need MORE unskilled
> workers.
>
> Does anyone else see a problem with any of this?
>
> Hope you are all well,
>
> Allen Drucker



Date: 06/02/19 11:31
Re: Athearn new items?
Author: CSX602

Everybody keeps talking about automated vehicles as if they will be widespread and within a few years...   The technology exists, but there are many, many hurdles (some of which have not been addressed at all) before they become common.  In engineering it is common for development to go for the "low hanging fruit" in well controlled test environments and try to gain some momentum (and a lot of research funding) before even trying to go for the more difficult hurdles.  So far with automated vehicles there have been many issues in even the limited test environments, and the legal community is quietly looking forward to all the profits they'll make when the technologies can't rise above those hurdles.



 



Date: 06/02/19 16:11
Re: Athearn new items?
Author: navarch2

Not so where autonamous trains are concerned nor with ships....the US Navy is after it....as a real multi-vessel build program next year.
https://www.defensenews.com/naval/2019/03/14/a-classified-pentagon-maritime-drone-program-is-about-to-get-its-moment-in-the-sun/ ...it is not nearly as complex a  problem with trains or with ships....cars suffer from the problem of too many options enroute.....that ships and rails do not have......add to that the realm of remote-piloted aircraft......AUV's already in service (autonamous underwater vehicles) ,,,,,the folks in the automobile and truck efforts are still in the dark ages relatively speaking. They have to be because what they do affects more everyday people and lawyers ....even I have an ATV client now..... (Autonamous Towing Vessel) .....but if you look at this article  https://www.wsj.com/articles/norway-takes-lead-in-race-to-build-autonomous-cargo-ships-1500721202 these ships will be phased in with minimal and ever-decreasing manning over time  until IMO creates new rules for them before they can go fully autonamous.  They are also short coastwise trip ships....the NAVY/DARPA  vessels are full ocean service fighting ships...

While no one is suggesting an Autonamous tanker....at least not yet....the ultimate goal is fully unattended/crewless operation even on transoceanic routes.... and there are really not a great deal of technical problems in the way of that. Bob



CSX602 Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Everybody keeps talking about automated vehicles
> as if they will be widespread and within a few
> years...   The technology exists, but there are
> many, many hurdles (some of which have not been
> addressed at all) before they become common.  In
> engineering it is common for development to go for
> the "low hanging fruit" in well controlled test
> environments and try to gain some momentum (and a
> lot of research funding) before even trying to go
> for the more difficult hurdles.  So far with
> automated vehicles there have been many issues in
> even the limited test environments, and the legal
> community is quietly looking forward to all the
> profits they'll make when the technologies can't
> rise above those hurdles.
>
>
>
>  



Date: 06/03/19 08:21
Re: Athearn new items?
Author: RayH

CSX602 Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------

> As for the staffing at Athearn, what I had heard
> on another forum was that several people - all
> with many years at the company - were "let go" in
> early March.
>
> I'm not sure of the exact numbers (I have heard
> estimates) but it would be interesting to know the
> number of employees Athearn had in California 20
> years ago and the number they have there today...
> I think that would be informative to those who
> might believe that they are a large company or
> have a sizable staff.  The reality is that even
> before those recent departures it was a tall task
> with the excellent but limited staff to put
> togther all the (too many) new announcements every
> month and do the research and QA/QC to get them
> right.   IMHO they needed additional staff, not
> less.

I have made a personal buying decision to no longer buy ANY athearn product since one of my friends was "let go" this year.



Date: 06/03/19 10:08
Re: Athearn new items?
Author: SPDRGWfan

RayH Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> I have made a personal buying decision to no
> longer buy ANY athearn product since one of my
> friends was "let go" this year.

Your choice of course, but I'm sure most of us still patronize companies who have laid off good people, and it's happened to many of us at one time or another, including myself.

Moving on ... I've been wanting a pair of Amtrak San Francisco Zephyr SDP40F's since I was a teen and they are finally coming next year.



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