(Topic ID: 249870)

Continued playfield issues with JJP and Stern


By f3honda4me

5 months ago



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#784 4 months ago
Quoted from underlord:

Wow. No doubts this is widespread now. Waaaay past just working up the chain of command. This problem is a crisis. Pf in a pinball machine IS the Alpha-Omega of it. Rest is just there to support the pf. Decals ungluing? ( Stern ST), no big deal we just reglued. Cabs separating? More serious, ( again, Stern), but imporved cab leg supports and wood glue.
Node boards? 1st gen JJP light boards? Serious scale on top tier now, but fixable, replace affected boards (hopefully at no cost to owners!).
But THIS?!? Aww c’mon. Much needed corporate rethink. NOW! I’m sure resellers taking a hit will appreciate Jack’s letter.
I’ve got money saved for my next LE. Time to put it into my cars instead. NIB is too stressful

I've got an ACNC coming and after that I'll look at MBSE instead of Elvira 3. NIB is okay you just have to pick your spots.

#817 4 months ago

"Cleargate"

#825 4 months ago
Quoted from DerGoetz:

Yes there are on POTC

Munsters too. In this thread kiwipinhead showed rippling around posts in art areas, no rippling around sling posts where there's no art.

#835 4 months ago
Quoted from flynnibus:

Link? I only see his posts with the wrinking around the metal posts.

I assumed there's no pooling around the slings because he didn't have any photo evidence of it. kiwipinhead will need to weigh in to confirm.

#837 4 months ago
Quoted from donkadelic:

Ok but then why are the same machines not having issues where there is no ink? And why is the ink peeling off at all?
It just seems unlikely that both problems started happening at the same time. Not saying it isn't possible tho.

Moisture/humidity would be one condition that could contribute to both ink adhesion and clear issues, interfering with the cure. A reaction between the ink and the clear (incompatible chemicals) could be another. As flynnibus points out in the Wonka chipping thread, the side opposite of the high power ball strike may be the key due to tension or torque on the playfield surface. But this is all just speculation...

#840 4 months ago
Quoted from donkadelic:

Ah good points. It seems like if there was a chemical incompatibility though that clear and the ink wouldnt be stuck together like it seems to be doing?

Not necessarily. As an example let's say the ink contained elevated levels of a contaminant like zinc, and a thick coat of epoxy is placed over this.The contaminant may or may not interfere with ink adhesion to the wood; it can also interfere with the hardener or the ability of the clear above it to cure. What happens when an epoxy doesn't cure? It gets sticky and tacky. So you've got a sticky, tacky interface between your clear and the ink that didn't adhere well to the wood, meaning that the ink will stick better to that tacky surface. Combine that with poor hardening on the top surface. Where the ball rolls over the surface, the playfield will be fine, but where the soft surface is contacted by posts that when hit, put horizontal stress on the clear, it chips the clear and eventually pulls up the ink with it.

To be clear, this is just a theoretical example. It's impossible to know what conditions exactly are contributing to this problem. I only provide it to give an example of how it might be possible.

#963 4 months ago
Quoted from flynnibus:

In a lot of ways the newer pfs can be easier. More modular, better harnesses, no need to rebuild mechs, drop targets, etc. there is more on modern games... but they are built different and if the mech holes are setup correctly it would go pretty quickly.

I agree, cleaning all the dirty parts, reflowing solder joints and soldering in new switches and coils is what takes me the longest. A new game would be a breeze by comparison.

12
#1136 4 months ago
Quoted from zaphX:

You're missing out on a great game over a few extremely minor issues IMO. Throwing out the baby with the bathwater.

Nah, people can play it on location for $1, so they're not missing out on anything. Much cheaper than owning a $6-7k machine and can walk away from any clearcoat issues on the location machine without any heartache.

1 week later
#1446 4 months ago
Quoted from DerGoetz:

This tells us clearly one thing (no pun intended) - the paint did not adhere to the wood, that was the cause for Stern's problems.
Leaving out the paint allows the clear itself to stick to the wood and at least in Stern's case that seems to be problem solved.
Now remember that Spooky are VERY vocal about having "solved it" during and after TNA...and guess what, same deal on Alice Cooper, go figure. No secret sauce, no harder or softer clear, no proprietary solution to keep a secret. They simply threw their hands up in the air, said f it, pulled back the art from the posts and allowed for the clear itself to grab. And I don't care a bit, I think it looks cool.
But now I feel less confident in JJP being able to stand behind the playfields they sold to POTC owners (and later refunded them for), those things will have to be timebombs. And unless they prove me otherwise, how am I going to accept a replacement playfield from JJP for my cracked and chipped POTC CE going forward?
https://i1.wp.com/geekdad.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/3/2018/03/AliceCooper_Playfield.jpg?resize=1376%2C1032&ssl=1
Further proof: TNA before fix:
https://www.thisweekinpinball.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/TNA-entire-playfield.jpg
After "fix":
https://www.pinballlife.com/mm5/graphics/00000001/TNA%20Playfield.jpg

Art around the posts was only part of the solution. Spooky also does their own playfields including clear.

1 week later
#1865 4 months ago
Quoted from jfh:

So, if the guitar example is relevant, maybe this is all related to cost cutting. I’m sure it’s cheaper to apply fewer, thicker coats as opposed to more, thinner coats.

You could be right. It is most definitely faster to apply fewer coats...

24
#1945 3 months ago
Quoted from yancy:

AKA suicide in the manufacturing business

I work in quality in a manufacturing plant. The ability to stop the line to contain a defect and fix it is not suicide, it's incredibly important. You only have to look at the success of Toyota over the past 40 years to understand the significance. Sending out crap product, pissing off your customer base and losing their trust - now *that* is suicide in the manufacturing business.

#1948 3 months ago
Quoted from Chambahz:

Try to keep up, Utah.
There’s this thing, called “the environment”. And as of late, companies are no longer allowed to use super harsh chemicals because it’s bad for this “environment”. So things have changed.

You've been making a good argument up to this point but I'll have to call BS on this one. First, you or I have no idea whether environmental issues have contributed to the root cause of the problem.

Second, if Spooky, CGC and American Pinball can make a playfield without pooling and chipping, then Stern and JJP should be able to do it too.

#1994 3 months ago
Quoted from yancy:

Stop it for a day or two? Sure. Stop it indefinitely while you investigate an issue that may take weeks or months to fully resolve? Maybe Toyota can afford that. I doubt a pinball manufacturer can. Just gotta slap a band-aid (washer) on it and keep moving, correct things as you go, eventually better parts make their way into the pipeline.

First of all, you don't single source something as important as a playfield, warranty or not. I believe I read (don't know if it's true) that at one time Stern had 3 playfield suppliers. With Churchill dropping out, that leaves two. It's pretty much impossible to have two suppliers have the exact same problem at the exact same time, so you can survive by switching to a known good supplier.

If Stern is making clear in house themselves, then they sure as hell better have good internal systems in place to quickly respond to and correct problems. If you had a known good process, then something in your process changes, you contain the problem, apply some root cause analysis, and return the process to the last known good. These are not new concepts, they've been around in manufacturing for 70+ years. I referenced Toyota because when they were a crappy manufacturer in the late 60s and early 70s they fully embraced these concepts to become what they are today.

#1996 3 months ago
Quoted from Jackalwere:

First of all, you don't single source something as important as a playfield, warranty or not. I believe I read (don't know if it's true) that at one time Stern had 3 playfield suppliers. With Churchill dropping out, that leaves two. It's pretty much impossible to have two suppliers have the exact same problem at the exact same time, so you can survive by switching to a known good supplier and keep the line running.

If Stern is making playfields and clear in house themselves, then they sure as hell better have good internal systems in place to quickly respond to and correct problems. If you had a known good process, then something in your process changes, you contain the problem, apply some root cause analysis, and return the process to the last known good. These are not new concepts, they've been around in manufacturing for 70+ years. I referenced Toyota because when they were a small manufacturer in the late 60s and early 70s they were the first to fully embrace quality concepts to become what they are today rather than ending up like Suzuki, Mazda or Mitsubishi. They sure as hell weren't rolling in money when they were shutting their line down for quality issues as a small company.

1 month later
#2949 75 days ago

Bought a Creature repro playfield from Mirco earlier this year. Started a playfield swap a few months ago. A few weeks ago I installed the star posts, then decided to change the post color at the slings. Here's what the playfield looks like when I removed the post. Looks a lot like pooling on these other playfields. The post appears to have sunk down into the clear. My old playfield doesn't look this bad and that's with 84,000+ plays on it. Keep in mind that the new playfield hasn't even been played yet.

sling post (resized).JPG

#3003 73 days ago
Quoted from Andypc:

How long did you have it before you started the playfield swap?

Purchased in June and arrived quickly, started the playfield swap in September but just put the posts on a few weeks ago...so I'd say about 4 months.

4 weeks later
#3250 44 days ago
Quoted from Who-Dey:

Spooky, it will take you a year to get your game, IF you can even get one and their games arent as fun as Sterns games either.

I ordered my ACNC at beginning of August and got it last week. That's 5 months. Early adopters are going to have a longer wait. And I love it just as much as Munsters. With the way the code is progressing, maybe a little more...

2 weeks later
11
#3495 26 days ago
Quoted from snaroff:

Sure, but if you could "wave a wand" and stop all Stern NIB purchases, you'd be hurting the hobby you love

If I could wave a wand it would be to instantly improve their quality, not shut their line down. But if shutting the line down is the only option, you do it. I wouldn't be hurting the hobby I love, Stern would hurting the hobby I love.

I'm a quality supervisor and at my factory I will shut the line down in a heartbeat if there is even a small chance that it will negatively impact the customer. You'd be amazed how quickly and creatively problems can be solved when quality is prioritized over production.

#3542 25 days ago
Quoted from snaroff:

Good to hear you have the right attitude.
I imagine that (a) you produce products in a competitive industry, and (b) you are supported by upper management. I worked in tech for 25 years and had the same attitude.
Stern recently hired a new Director of QA (https://sternpinball.com/2019/10/10/stern-pinball-enhances-quality-assurance-team/), so let's hope that he is working on the issues that concern us. Would love to know what he is doing to turn things around...changing around a company culture isn't trivial. He will obviously need the support of other Stern executives. I'd also hope he is meeting with major distributors to hear about our quality issues first hand.

I work for a semiconductor manufacturer, and yes it is very competitive. I have over 27 years in, all in Quality. Management is very supportive now but even in the dark days just 6-8 years ago when they pressured me to release questionable material, I stood my ground. I always felt that my job was to protect the customer when everyone else was focused on cost and keeping production running. We haven't had a customer return/field failure in the last 18 months.

jfh is right in that quality will not cause Stern to fail under the current system, because people are taking the risk and buying machines or remain blissfully unaware. The only way things will change is if *distributors* band together to demand accountability, better quality and threaten to quit taking orders to protect their customers.

#3574 25 days ago
Quoted from 85vett:

I think your going a bit far here now.
What's Sterns P&L for the past 5 years? Are we sure the cost increases are for more profits? Maybe some of it is COGS have increased. Like OPEX from hiring a lot or talented people, mfg cost increasing, wage increases, etc. I'm not saying I know but I doubt you do to either.
Let's not talk coil mechs here being what makes the cost of a game. It's part of it but there are a ton of variables in the mix. Looking at the games I own, the Maiden Prem is pretty dang loaded compared to my other games. More than my Met LE and Tron LE of the Stern "good days".
It's also hard for me to read post about Sterns Quality being the worst but not also saying the produce the least expensive games too. Stern to me is the Ford/Chevy of the industry. Volume with an effort for quality but not 100% focused on it. You want that you have to step up to the Lincoln/Cadillac branding which cost more money.
I'm not saying there aren't QC issues there and I do agree things need to improve and people need to get taken care of but it does feel a bit overbearing with some of the accusation from especially the last couple of pages.
Am I a Stern fan boy? Maybe, I prefer to own them as I like their rules and game play over the other mfgs at the moment but I also love all the other mfgs. The older games just dont have the depth to keep me engaged long term at home thus I play them on location vs buy them.

Maybe not *more* profits, but it is important to maintain margins. When costs go up (and that includes hirings and mfg costs), you have to cut something else to maintain the same level of profitability. If you're hiring it's not going to come from labor, and it's not going to come from fixed costs. There's only 2 places it can come from: material costs or production improvements. If quality is not important, both of these factors can impact quality negatively.

And sorry but Lincoln/Cadillac higher costs are due to luxury features, which isn't the same as quality. Even Motor Trends 3 months ago wrote "both are far back in the luxury-car sales race". Toyota is the better comparison...they were the first car company to really emphasize and pioneer quality, which actually led to *lower* costs, and they are no more a luxury brand than Ford or Chevy. Any one who knows quality would point to Toyota long before Lincoln or Cadillac.

#3602 24 days ago
Quoted from 85vett:

You lost me at Motor Trend. You know that's an advertised paid company right? That is why they are so biased...
I used a simple analogy. Sorry you didnylt like the brands chosen but that was never the point. I compared the lower end mass producer with a higher end lower production company. Kind of like Stern (Chevy) and JJP (Cadillac). Have you ever owned a Cadillac or just read what paid writers tell you? There service is where that extra money comes from. Still issues with the vehicles but getting them taken care of is simple because of there service standards, kind of like JJP.
On a side note, If I want an under powered or crap on mpg SUV/Truck I'll go Toyata again. Those were the worst I've owned and outside of my Dodges were in the shop almost as much as they were driven. My experience is with multiple 4 runners....

Yes, I shouldn't have been baited by analogies, because they aren't really applicable here. I don't read Motor Trend and just pulled that off of an internet search along with 4 other articles said the same thing. My grandmother owns a Cadillac. The service is good but costly. And it's in the shop a lot. My Dodge truck is built like a tank but has all sorts of problems. My Ford is not built as well and has even more problems. Best truck I owned was my Ranger before production was moved to Mexico (talk about cost cutting moves).

I'd rather the focus be on the first part of my post, let's leave the analogies behind.

#3636 23 days ago
Quoted from 85vett:

Damn, I miss the Rangers of the early 90's. Loved that Truck too. We had a step side in red. Looked almost like the baywatch trucks.

Me too. My '96 Ranger went 260,000 miles on the original manual clutch before needing to be replaced. And that was the only non-routine maintenance required up to that point. It's a shame they allowed the brand to decline and then die, especially when they were selling over 300,000/yr in the 90s. Curious to see how the new reboot will turn out.

Sorry, back to pinball problems...

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