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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  • Hauk - Monday, January 26, 2009 - link

    It's interesting where two lines of comment will take a thread. There's no doubt some of the best cases in the world come from that very facility. I'm glad my original comment made people pause for a moment. We rarely stop to think about what goes into making a product, be it the sweat, the labor, the engineering, or the blood wiped clean. Did you have a good look at those sheet metal cutting & forming machines? Devoid of workers? Think anyone's lost a finger in that room?

    I make it sound dramatic, but I'll tell you, those pictures spoke a thousand words. We saw a carefully laid out tour and while we debate geography, the author still remembers the feeling of touring that facility. Those people are busting their ass; when you stop to examine the snapshots of their reality, that becomes all more apparent. I suddenly have a greater appreciation of this case sitting beside me..
    Reply
  • Davdoc - Wednesday, January 28, 2009 - link

    For the whole discussion here, I think it is also important to know that not all "third-world" countries (anywhere other than "1st" or "2nd" world) are necessarily poor ones with substandard working environment. It is very condescending to think that way, from an American's point of view (assuming most readership here is from US), and plainly stupid to do so. Many of these countries (Taiwan, South Korea, to name a few) have modern infrastructures that many places in US still lack. A notable example is cell phone network. Nowadays all major US networks are touting 3G; 3G has been prevalent in many Asian countries for years. Most of the phones we are using from the networks are like 2 generations behind. Reply
  • Davdoc - Monday, January 26, 2009 - link

    They were working, and I don't think they were asked by the journalist to pose/smile for the photos. The recent economic downturn hits the country hard and I am sure that puts burden on everyone's mind too. Besides, do you really smile when you need to concentrate on work, unless your work requires you to smile all the time and prepared for photos? Even though I love my work I don't really smile especially when focusing on something. Reply
  • ComputerGuyPerson - Monday, January 26, 2009 - link

    Well, what do you expect? It's in China. They work for meager wages, barely getting by. I am sure they aren't happy to make your cases. Reply
  • Penti - Tuesday, January 27, 2009 - link

    It's in Taiwan not PRC.

    Taiwan got a GDP per capita PPP at $30,000 USD, higher then Israel.
    Reply

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