Cost of Ampico "A" vs. "B"
By Craig Brougher
|Don Teach was wondering about the costs of the model B Ampico. It is true that Ampico saved some money in the overall design by doing away with the primaries (primarily), but the electric roll drive was many times more expensive than pneumatic drives, and the development costs of the new piano would require several years to amortize, I suspect.
Every month spent on a new problem, like ball bleeds, cost the company the same in operating expenses that those same people would have cost it had they been engaged in directly profitable ongoing manufacturing concerns instead. You don't get something for nothing, so I would confidently say that Ampico never earned back their initial investment in high priced labor and fancy equipment required to build, test, and produce the new Ampico.
Intrinsically, I think the new Ampico would have cost about the same as the model A, because of the more expensive individual components, and the more expensive way it was assembled -- gaskets and spring studs and clamps, etc. Each valve had all the parts of the old ones, plus an extra ball bleed and an extra filter section added below it. Then you have extra testing expenses for a super sensitive valve like that, which was not required with primaries.
Manufacturing expenses are difficult to estimate simply by looking at the improvement in a mechanism. The simplest device can sometimes be so expensive to produce that it's better to go back to a more complicated design, simply for the sake of looser manufacturing tolerances, or easier logistics.
(Message sent Tue 4 Feb 1997, 15:28:22 GMT, from time zone GMT.)