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Old 02-02-2020, 09:46 PM   #1
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Default The Future of the RV Industry!

I read a great Article in www.curbed.com. They discuss 10 Things the RV Industry has to do to survive. They discuss Thor and Roadtrek also. If you get a chance to review it, it is an interesting Read. Ron
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Old 02-02-2020, 11:09 PM   #2
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I read a great Article in www.curbed.com. They discuss 10 Things the RV Industry has to do to survive. They discuss Thor and Roadtrek also. If you get a chance to review it, it is an interesting Read. Ron
Ron - your link was just to the Curbed home page, not the RV Industry story from May 2019. Here is link to the story you must have read.

https://www.curbed.com/2019/5/31/186...e-camping-tips
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Old 02-02-2020, 11:31 PM   #3
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Booster 1971 - Thanks. Ron
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Old 02-02-2020, 11:34 PM   #4
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"Look to Europe
It’s a common lament in the Curbed RV and camper community group on Facebook that Europe “has all of the cool campers.” And it’s true, there are a plethora of innovative, interesting, and downright cool campers in Europe. What’s interesting is that CEOs here in the U.S. know this, too.
Bob Wheeler from Airstream admitted that “Europe is about 15 years ahead of us in terms of design.” He blames market forces, saying that companies need to take more risks and think creatively about what consumers want."



This is the first time I see someone putting a number on EU to NA time gap.

I recently watch through the new ARV video showing the conversion process from ARV, it strongly reminded me the process of buying a new house with various décor options. This video helped me to understand why ARV are expensive, they are hand-built pieces of art, not much modern manufacturing technologies there.

I hope that Rapido/Westfalia/Roadtrek and Thor/Hymer will work hard to reduce this 15 year time gap.
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Old 02-03-2020, 03:16 AM   #5
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Shame on the US rv industry if they really feel they are 15 yrs. behind Europe. If they were not at least monitoring trends there, they are dolts. Even if there are products geared to a different market elsewhere in the world, how literally short-sighted to ignore trends in that market.

Now that I've ranted, I hope the cassette toilet doesn't catch on any more than it has. That's one "trend" that's not for me.
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Old 02-03-2020, 03:23 AM   #6
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Now that I've ranted, I hope the cassette toilet doesn't catch on any more than it has. That's one "trend" that's not for me.
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Old 02-03-2020, 03:26 AM   #7
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Macerator brothers to the end!

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Old 02-03-2020, 03:41 AM   #8
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I would argue that this 15-year gap has not much to do with cassette or any other way of disposing #1 and #2, the prevailing RV discussion focal point, but with manufacturing technologies of the 21st Century leading to high quality at lost cost.

Remember times when American TV with flat bell curves couldn’t compete against Sony’s pointed curves, quality by inspection vs statistical manufacturing process control.
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Old 02-03-2020, 03:28 PM   #9
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. . . I recently watch through the new ARV video showing the conversion process from ARV, it strongly reminded me the process of buying a new house with various décor options. This video helped me to understand why ARV are expensive, they are hand-built pieces of art, not much modern manufacturing technologies there.

I hope that Rapido/Westfalia/Roadtrek and Thor/Hymer will work hard to reduce this 15 year time gap.
I had the same impression of ARV after watching their latest video. They certainly have the quality problem under control at a price most don't want to pay. Maybe an injection of some new thinking can give us better quality at a more affordable price.
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Old 02-03-2020, 04:11 PM   #10
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I would argue that this 15-year gap has not much to do with cassette or any other way of disposing #1 and #2, the prevailing RV discussion focal point, but with manufacturing technologies of the 21st Century leading to high quality at lost cost.

Remember times when American TV with flat bell curves couldn’t compete against Sony’s pointed curves, quality by inspection vs statistical manufacturing process control.

Manufacturing is what I did for my entire working life, including shop floors while in high school and college, then manufacturing processes, support and design for manufacturability. I also did nearly all the vendor audits of their facilities so I have seen such a wide range over all the years. The change has been huge. Change or die would certainly apply in this kind of stuff, and many, many, businesses went under, often because of poor quality and high costs.


That said, I never have been a huge supporter of all the latest and greatest "improvement" systems that are a constant source of employment for lots of consultants, and I have been through a whole lot of them. Many/most of them have plenty of good parts to them, but many/most of them also have the same major flaw, which is that they try to force the same solution on every business in the same method. That solution may or may not apply well to any given business and problem set and dooms the programs to fail most times. Specifically tailored statistical process control, capability studies, and employee involvement and input programs would be the three that I most often saw succeed, but only if they were fit to the application.


I mention this because there is so often a feeling that adopting another business's methods and such can just be dropped in and all will be good. Unfortunately, this is rarely the case. What is needed, IMO, is to look at lots of places and programs and cherry pick what parts of them fit your model, and then implement them in a common sense way that allows you to morph your system. Adopting a forward thinking attitude and open mind is probably the first thing that should be done, and a resistance to chasing the latest fad right behind it.



I told DW as we walked back to our Roadtrek after taking a factory tour in 2009 amid the chaos of revamping lots of things all at once by them, that if I had been on an official vendor qualification (I didn't get to see any manufacturing or quality numbers, though), the report would have been very short. Basically that their methods would not allow them to produce decent quality or within the needed cost profiles, and as they were contracting at the time, I said I thought they would go out of business or be acquired in the near future.


I hope that Thor does the "new" Hymer here well and much better than the other NA builders (sans ARV) have done. I hope the same for the "new" Roadtrek, which may actually have a better chance of doing well, IMO, as they sound as if they are doing things pretty well based on the limited amount we have heard.


Time will tell, but the producers are going to have to evolve into a sustainable business model, or they will not survive.
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Old 02-04-2020, 02:35 AM   #11
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Manufacturing is what I did for my entire working life, including shop floors while in high school and college, then manufacturing processes, support and design for manufacturability. I also did nearly all the vendor audits of their facilities so I have seen such a wide range over all the years. The change has been huge. Change or die would certainly apply in this kind of stuff, and many, many, businesses went under, often because of poor quality and high costs.


That said, I never have been a huge supporter of all the latest and greatest "improvement" systems that are a constant source of employment for lots of consultants, and I have been through a whole lot of them. Many/most of them have plenty of good parts to them, but many/most of them also have the same major flaw, which is that they try to force the same solution on every business in the same method. That solution may or may not apply well to any given business and problem set and dooms the programs to fail most times. Specifically tailored statistical process control, capability studies, and employee involvement and input programs would be the three that I most often saw succeed, but only if they were fit to the application.


I mention this because there is so often a feeling that adopting another business's methods and such can just be dropped in and all will be good. Unfortunately, this is rarely the case. What is needed, IMO, is to look at lots of places and programs and cherry pick what parts of them fit your model, and then implement them in a common sense way that allows you to morph your system. Adopting a forward thinking attitude and open mind is probably the first thing that should be done, and a resistance to chasing the latest fad right behind it.



I told DW as we walked back to our Roadtrek after taking a factory tour in 2009 amid the chaos of revamping lots of things all at once by them, that if I had been on an official vendor qualification (I didn't get to see any manufacturing or quality numbers, though), the report would have been very short. Basically that their methods would not allow them to produce decent quality or within the needed cost profiles, and as they were contracting at the time, I said I thought they would go out of business or be acquired in the near future.


I hope that Thor does the "new" Hymer here well and much better than the other NA builders (sans ARV) have done. I hope the same for the "new" Roadtrek, which may actually have a better chance of doing well, IMO, as they sound as if they are doing things pretty well based on the limited amount we have heard.

Time will tell, but the producers are going to have to evolve into a sustainable business model, or they will not survive.
All good points. Certainly, there is no one solution to fit all, it depends on manufacturing methods, product volumes, labor cost, labor force education, supplier locations etc. Most of B-class manufacturers volumes in US are way below automotive level (50-100K/Y) so deploying high volume tools could be difficult to justify such as automation or utilization of plastic moldings. European companies strive to get higher volumes of the same models allowing them to justify automotive manufacturing technologies. Perhaps reaching for a coming up Millenia bubble in NA will help, but this is not going to happen at $150K/unit. Modularized design can also help to increase volume of some components / modules; how many B-class galley designs are necessary for one manufacturer?

During my RV conversion I knew that my design will not have comforting one, or two, or even three prototypes tests, just the embodiment of all prototypes and the production unit in one. To reduce the risk, I used CAD as a substitute for prototypes and follow by factory CNC machining of aluminum t-slot profiles and HDPE. It worked well for me even thou I only use 2D CAD. Assembly was like a Lego and without staplers.

Better utilization of 3D CAD and CNC machining would likely benefit many B-class manufacturers at low volumes. Costs of hiring designers capable to operate in the world from 3D scanner to CNC machining is likely justifiable once value is recognized. Testing of cabinetry with van’s wall in 3D would speed up manufacturing, improve quality and likely reduce cost by doing things once. Today’s prices of 3D scanners are reasonable or hiring outside scanners is even more reasonable. https://www.3dengineers.co.uk/3d-sca...an-ply-lining/
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Old 02-04-2020, 11:18 AM   #12
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Better utilization of 3D CAD and CNC machining would likely benefit many B-class manufacturers at low volumes. Costs of hiring designers capable to operate in the world from 3D scanner to CNC machining is likely justifiable once value is recognized. Testing of cabinetry with van’s wall in 3D would speed up manufacturing, improve quality and likely reduce cost by doing things once. Today’s prices of 3D scanners are reasonable or hiring outside scanners is even more reasonable. https://www.3dengineers.co.uk/3d-sca...an-ply-lining/

I have to assume the master upfitters get access to the vehicle manufacturers 3D CAD files for the bodies, which would be extremely helpful for designing the parts and accurately locating the attachment points, which can be very difficult to do if you are trying to hit an existing threaded hole or stud. If you don't get the OEM files, it would be quite a job to map the inside of a unibody van, unless you could afford to have it laser scanned (I have no idea how good the scans are though for precision).



I wonder what program they us in the vehicle industries these days. They are probably way beyond Solidworks and ProE by now. Just getting the software and a computer capable of running it would probably be a major part of startup expenses. That is where ARV worked out so well, as they had access to a fully self supporting, already staffed and equipped, experienced design company the founder owned. That would be a huge head start.
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Old 02-04-2020, 02:29 PM   #13
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3D CAD files from MB are available to master upfitters and not to us. I don’t need them as I can develop 3D files from 2D plans, sections and elevations as well as actually measuring to convey design intent. 2D files are available as raster Files to anyone. As far as the software used the 3D files can be used by any program that can accept the translated file. Obviously in ARV’s case Solidworks. Most 3D programs are capable to design and build from including probably the easiest and most accessible one, SketchUp, IMO.
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Old 02-04-2020, 02:57 PM   #14
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Either delay going or lost post in space.


Here is a quote from the Robin Subaru site


Quote:
Effective October 2nd, 2017, Subaru Corporation has withdrawn from the small engine power product business and has ceased the production and sale of multi-purpose engines, generators and pumps. There is no inventory remaining for any engines , pumps or generators

Looks like Onan had to change engines or get out of that business.


Probably would also mean that they will only change engine and still run at the fixed 3600rpm, but not certain, and who knows maybe Surbaru made the generator section also so that would also go away. If that is the case, it may be a complete Yamaha setup that would go into the Onan small generators for RVs, and that would certainly be nice and inverter.
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Old 02-04-2020, 05:04 PM   #15
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I downloaded 2D files available on the Sprinter Forum which were helpful but insufficient. These models show sheet metal only but sometimes having a 2D/3D model of a partial conversion would help and this is where a 3D scanner could be useful, for example post trimming model.

I placed my overhead cabinets with MB headliner in place and needed a 3D model for the HDPE CNC work so I used my favor tool, Leica Disto with special tripod adapter for poor man manual 3D scanning (tilt/distance), see attached.

Most if not all manufacturers use fabric covered plywood to cover wall insulation (some just use good mother earth air insulation) and having a 3D model would help in cabinetry work instead of common cut and try.

I use Leica/Tripod adapter very often in my conversion, a very quick way to get key dimensions. Certainly having a simple 2D laser scanner for me would speed up my work.
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Old 02-05-2020, 11:03 PM   #16
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Good news - https://newatlas.com/automotive/hyme...V4u5Lf2UqZ0Nqs
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Old 02-14-2020, 06:00 AM   #17
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Shame on the US rv industry if they really feel they are 15 yrs. behind Europe. If they were not at least monitoring trends there, they are dolts. Even if there are products geared to a different market elsewhere in the world, how literally short-sighted to ignore trends in that market.

Now that I've ranted, I hope the cassette toilet doesn't catch on any more than it has. That's one "trend" that's not for me.
You can find just as many people who strongly prefer cassette toilet as those who prefer black tanks, myself included. CTs are simply more convenient than having to find a dump station and deal with the mess of it all, since people generally aren't careful to leave them tidy for the next person. Conversely, a cassette toilette can be dumped in any rest stop bathroom. Yes, CTs are smaller capacity, obviously, but they're all about ease of use and convenience. You don't mind dumping it more often because it's so easy to do so.
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Old 02-14-2020, 01:29 PM   #18
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You can find just as many people who strongly prefer cassette toilet as those who prefer black tanks, myself included. CTs are simply more convenient than having to find a dump station and deal with the mess of it all, since people generally aren't careful to leave them tidy for the next person. Conversely, a cassette toilette can be dumped in any rest stop bathroom. Yes, CTs are smaller capacity, obviously, but they're all about ease of use and convenience. You don't mind dumping it more often because it's so easy to do so.
Well, you can certainly find some people with such preferences. Don't know about "just as many".

I had an open mind until I actually used one in Iceland. Now, I consider them acceptable but definitely inferior. The biggest problem is the requirement for a rubber seal between the tank and the living area. In my limited experience, making that seal totally smell-proof over the long-term is very difficult. I guess that is why the good ones come with vent fans.

But, we've had this discussion already...
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Old 02-14-2020, 05:21 PM   #19
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I thought about cassettes briefly in my new design and in fact designed for it without an exterior penetration if it came down to it. But I am camped out for two weeks (rare for us) on South Padre Island and am monitoring my usage with a nice public bathroom available and realize that with great supporting facilities that I would still need to empty a cassette about every three to four days. As it is we dumped and filled with water on arrival and will do so on leaving after 15 days. That would be four or five times with a cassette and I am not fond of the recommended rinsing out each time that Thetford says. Nix the cassette idea. You can't beat the convenience and cleanliness of a black tank, grey tank and macerator especially with the infrastructure for dumping in the United States.
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Old 02-14-2020, 06:27 PM   #20
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I thought about cassettes briefly in my new design and in fact designed for it without an exterior penetration if it came down to it. But I am camped out for two weeks (rare for us) on South Padre Island and am monitoring my usage with a nice public bathroom available and realize that with great supporting facilities that I would still need to empty a cassette about every three to four days. As it is we dumped and filled with water on arrival and will do so on leaving after 15 days. That would be four or five times with a cassette and I am not fond of the recommended rinsing out each time that Thetford says. Nix the cassette idea. You can't beat the convenience and cleanliness of a black tank, grey tank and macerator especially with the infrastructure for dumping in the United States.
I have also looked at and would consider a cassette toilet for my next van. But I do like the convenience of the tanks with macerator that I have now. Has anyone considered a single combined black and grey tank like some of the big Class-As have? Seems like a single tank on a Class-B would give maximum capability in limited space. Of course a single tank would not allow separate dumping of grey water if that is your useage model. I've never dumped my grey tanks anywhere but at a dump station.
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