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27 September, 2009

Our Visit to Shanghai Airgun Factory

During our vacation in China, Cornelia and I visited the Shanghai Airgun Factory. There we met the company President, the VPs of Sales and Development and were shown the operation very openly.

The factory is about 30 miles outside Shanghai and comprises three buildings: there’s an office block, a manufacturing building and a warehouse. About 400 people work there and the factory is running at capacity in spite of the recession. There’s also head office building Downtown in Pudong (a part of the city).

This is a general view of the facility.

The manufacturing building is the most interesting, of course. It’s about 100 yards x 20 yards in size (at a guess) with four floors. The ground floor is full of lathes and mills, all busily churning out gun parts from steel bar or tube. There’s also multiple barrel-making machines and a very large blueing tank area.

Here's an assembly area.

The floors above accommodate assembly and testing areas. Here you can see carts full of guns in various states of assembly. Most of the guns being built during our visit were springers: QB36-1 and QB36-2 models and also plenty of B3s. There’s also a pellet-making facility with multiple new pellet-making machines chunking out pellets from lead strips.

Racks of guns awaiting testing.

Until 1997, the factory was owned by the Chinese government, but then it was sold to the employees. Both staff and management now have shareholdings in the company and benefit from its success - this is clearly a strong motivator behind the great improvements in product quality that have been made in recent years. The factory is clean, the employees seem happy and proud of what they do. There are even clean restrooms - a considerable rarity in China but, I think, symptomatic of the attitude in the company.

Here I am meeting with the VP of Sales and VP of Product Development.

Shanghai Airguns runs very much like a company in the US. New product design uses CAD extensively and computer systems monitor the business. This is clearly NOT a “Third World” sweatshop but a sophisticated modern facility determined on expansion.

Shanghai itself is a huge, bustling city with an excellent public transport system and terrible traffic congestion. Here you can still see the old China, but it’s rapidly being swamped by ultra-modern buildings and a Western way of life.

I hope you enjoyed this report!


daveshoot,  Sunday, 27 September, 2009  

Thanks for the report and pictures, Stephen! I would like to see more pics of the manufacturing processes if you have them.

My experiences in Chinese factories are much the same. The "sweatshop" idea that many folks have is dated and wrong- Chinese has unleashed the power of the entrepreneurial spirit (and even their government is a little afraid of the consequences).

Glad you found clean restrooms!

Anonymous,  Sunday, 27 September, 2009  

were the rest rooms western style or were they still the old type squats....

Stephen Archer Sunday, 27 September, 2009  

No, not Western style. Seems the locals prefer the "squat" version still.

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This blog shares information, ideas and knowledge about air rifles. It compliments the information Stephen publishes on the Archer Airguns website, on YouTube and the Chinese Airgun Forum.

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