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Manufacture of a Mini-z

The Mini-z are sold totally ready to race. But we wanted to know how they were assembled, knowing if they were the result of a long robotised line or in the contrary, the result of a multitude of manual operations. So, made in Japan, in Taiwan, and generally in Asia, lets see the secrets of manufacture.

Taking pictures of the factory (1) is not easy like you can imagine...

This is a line of thermoforming machines. The first step consist of moulding the plastic parts

 


As you probably know, the Mini-z are for the most part made in China. Only, as of today (2004) the Mini-z Monster are 100% japanese, like the Mini-z racer, Overland, or more recently MR02 were at their beginning. The electronic parts, made by KO-Propo are today assembled on the same site the cars are.

Conception

While there are many factories in China, from the most (saddly) third-worldish to the most advanced, the one that has the assembly of the Mini-z in charge can be classified among the more advanced of the kind. The workers there are highly qualified and have a great experience of this kind of products. It is in fact one of the biggest production unit for die casts, those splendid 1/18 static models from Kyosho.

Being either japanese or chinese productions, the processes involved are strictly identical. Only the cheaper labour costs justifies the choice of China.

The first step of the manufacture of the Mini-z consists in moulding the different plastic parts (photo 1). This is of course the case of the body. It is this body that will require the highest attention and the more preparation steps.

The first paint coat is applicated to the body

 


A first paint coat is applicated uniformly (picture 2). Drying is processed after that, in combination with a complementary baking (photo 3) of the shells, preparated for the more complicated following steps.

Drying the paint and baking the body

 


It is indeed at this step that all the mastering of Kyosho, in association with his sub contractors can take place. The bodies are again, one by one, painted in their final colour, while the famous gloss coat treatment is applicated (photo 4).

Application of the "Gloss Coat" preserving the paint and the decals

 


This treatment gives a shiny finish while it also protects the paint of the Mini-z. The multiple decorations are printed following a process keeped secret (photo 5).

Application of the last decorations

 


This step is paramount it is an important part of the finish and thus, the global quality of the Mini-z.
In parallel, all the metallic parts, tires, transmitter and other parts requiring a special manufacture have been shipped to the assembly line.


Finish

From this step, the models are ready. One (or several depending the current demand) assembly lines will follow each Mini-z to its final packaging (photo in first page and photo 7).

Testing the RC units

 

Numerous quality controls are performed along the assembly line, including the RC units that are tested individually (photo 6).

Last step: installing the headlights and windows

 

Back to the interview

 

 

Mini 6Z, le club de Mini-z de Strasbourg et du Bas-Rhin