I'm still jetting around the world, visiting various manufacturers. Up next on my list is a familiar name for anyone that has ever considered purchasing an aluminum chassis. In fact, Lian Li is practically synonymous with high quality aluminum cases; that's where they started, and they've never really strayed from that path. Other companies have tried to reinvent their product lineup over the years, in an attempt to appeal to a great audience - Cooler Master has similar beginning to Lian Li - but Lian Li has remained true to their roots and continues to focus solely on aluminum case designs. Today, the company remains one of the first names to crop up whenever someone mentions a desire for a best quality full aluminum chassis.


I visited Lian Li first in 2002, and I had some time in Taipei this past week to pay them another visit. Lian Li has two factories in Taiwan, both near each other in Keelung, north of Taipei. In 2002 they had just opened the second factory, and it's nice to see everything worked out well. There are downsides to being as specialized as Lian Li; with the current global economic crisis, Lian Li faces shrinking sales as well. The factories actually stop manufacturing at times when there just aren't enough orders. I have been lucky with my visits, though, and most of the machines were producing the one part or another.

The manufacturing area has many stamping and cutting machines that Lian Li uses to form the aluminum plates into the correct shape. Some thicker parts use a laser to cut the pieces from aluminum blocks. Smaller folding machines mold the flat parts into the proper three-dimensional shapes.

Assembly of the cases is always done by hand. Since the production facilities for Lian Li are in Taiwan, they face higher costs than if they produced the cases in China. Lian Li of course feels that the higher cost of manufacturing is worthwhile, and the result is better overall case quality.

There was only one assembly line running at the time of my visit, producing a Lancool chassis. The cases move through the middle of the table and each worker attaches different parts. At the end, the cases are finished and packaged in a box. Then they are stored in a designated area in the warehouse until they make their way into a container and off to the customer.

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  • Sunrise089 - Monday, January 26, 2009 - link

    Wow ComputerGuyPerson, way to have one of the most clueless series of posts I've ever seen. Apparently we all missed the shooting war where mainland China invaded and took over Taiwan.

    In other news, according to ComputerGuyPerson Great Britain governs the U.S. and Nazi Germany governs France.
    Reply
  • puffpio - Monday, January 26, 2009 - link

    uhh..Taiwan isnt governed by China, they are their own country. And working conditions for manufacturing in Taiwan are better than in China Reply
  • ComputerGuyPerson - Monday, January 26, 2009 - link

    "Under its One-China policy, the PRC requires other countries to give no official recognition to the ROC as a condition of maintaining diplomatic relations. As a result, there are only 23 states that have official diplomatic relations with the Republic of China. However, most countries have unofficial representative offices in the ROC."

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Republic_of_China">http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Republic_of_China
    Reply
  • Penti - Tuesday, January 27, 2009 - link

    Your retarded, you couldn't even fly between Taiwan and China until recently and it was that way even though Taiwan has millions of employees in China. That Taiwan was pushed out of the UN doesn't make it a part of China. It's still its own country, self governed with it's own military. It's sovereign. Reply
  • MamiyaOtaru - Tuesday, January 27, 2009 - link

    Troll, or retard? Reply
  • Davdoc - Monday, January 26, 2009 - link

    Read the whole wikipedia article again and you'll, hopefully, understand that Taiwan (ROC) is not governed by China (PRC). Countries which have a large population of ethnic Chinese are not necessarily part of China; Singapore is a notable example. I am surprised you cannot even interpret correctly your own cited source. Based on your logic, companies which hire ethnic Chinese Americans are Chinese companies. Good news to Yahoo! and nVidia (and Intel, Microsoft, Oracle, Cisco, etc.) that you don't need to pay Uncle Sam taxes now! Reply
  • fpink3 - Monday, January 26, 2009 - link

    Lian Li makes stuff in Taiwan. That is all the "informed opinion" I need regarding working conditions. I speak from experience visiting production facilities in Taiwan, Korea, Hong Kong, China and Singapore.

    Working conditions in Taiwan are the product of a highly competitive business climate, tempered by the imminent threat of factory closure due to the poor economy. You could visit twenty different small electronics production facilities in Taiwan and be unable to distinguish one from another if the names weren't on the wall. Working conditions in Taiwan are dictated by the well-educated (but massive) population...meager but efficient.

    Lian Li is to be commended for keeping production in Taiwan.
    There are a million provincial migrant workers in mainland Guang Dong province alone that would love to have any job in Taiwan.

    Taiwan rivals Japan, the US and Western Europe for income and productivity. Unlike Europe and the US (but like Japan), there few underclasses in the population that can be exploited (think "illegal immigrants"). If working conditions in a particular company aren't satisfactory, the workers can vote with their feet. There is usually another factory within a quarter mile walk. No laws or practices bind a worker to company.

    Also, there is almost zero chance a visiting journalist is going to find out the "pay" of workers, not that it matters. The pay for any specific factory in Taiwan is very similar to the rates paid by the surrounding production facilities. It can't be any other way.
    Reply
  • daar - Monday, January 26, 2009 - link

    Facilities in China and Taiwan look almost exactly the same, and workers tend to be treated the same. Management positions get swapped often, which probably explains it. Only difference is Taiwanese pay is higher. Everything else, the same. Perhaps that's just telling of the quality of China, though. Reply
  • Davdoc - Monday, January 26, 2009 - link

    I think it's appropriate to say that all manufacturing plants/factories throughout the world are similar, in terms of quality-control standard or general treatment to employees, as long as good management is in place. While products from China recently have bad reputation due to many incidents, still there are certainly many good factories which treat their workers well. On the other hand, I am not so sure how to make sense of the statement that factories in Taiwan and China are about the same as there is still cultural difference, some fairly significant, beyond the people's facial feature similarity. However, the lack of democracy in China means there is a lot of leeway for the government (and very often, the domestic/foreign companies who work with the government) to ignore individual's rights. Reply
  • Hauk - Monday, January 26, 2009 - link

    No one cracked even the slightest smile for the camera. They look, uncertain, but productive... Reply

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