Today I drove around 30 minutes north of Taipei to a small town in Keelung County which is the home of Lian Li. It was nice to get out of the hustle and bustle of the city for a bit in this quieter part of the country, but I knew things were about to heat up once we entered where we were headed.
You've no doubt heard of them before. They've been around since the year I was born in 1983 producing some of the most high quality and highest rated computer cases that we've seen. Lian Li's fame comes from its experience in working with aluminum and being able to mold and shape the material that it depends on in some spectacular looking case designs.
Lian Li got its start back in my birth year as previously mentioned by producing blank PCI panels that go into the back of your case to prevent dust from getting inside your computer. Back in the day, there was no uniform standard for PCI panels. Lian Li told us there were literally hundreds of different panels and if a company wanted a blank PCI panel for its system, the company to go to for the job was Lian Li as they had all the templates and production facility ready to go.
Fast forward all these years and Lian Li has stepped way up from merely producing blank PCI panels to some of the best quality and most attractive looking computer cases on the market. All of the experience Lian Li gained throughout the years with its trademark aluminum material has got them to the point that they are at now.
Lian Li is, while still maintaining a fairly large operation, a small family owned business which prides itself in producing quality cases with a labor of love. I loved the fact that Lian Li has a friendly family 'guard dog' named Mei Mei (little sister in Chinese) that is free to roam the outer edge of the factory near the cleaning and drying machine. I'm not sure how much of an actual guard dog she is, as when I went up close to take a photo, she got camera shy and walked away from me. It's definitely not something you'd see at another tech industry leading factory, but I guess it goes to show that Lian Li are confident in what they are doing, that they can have a dog freely roam around. However you want to look at that, it's symbolic and means quite a bit.
Lian Li's factory in Keelung is home to around 140 employees with a mixture of Taiwanese and Thailand immigrant workers. The workers from Thailand handle the less critical areas along the factory line, while the Taiwanese workers handle the more critical areas that require a higher attention to detail. It was mentioned that the Taiwanese factory staff have been with Lian Li for many years and are very experienced in what they do. I'd agree with that with some of the work I saw being completed on the tour.
As you'll see in the factory tour video above, unlike on some other factories we've toured in the past (such as memory and SSD companies) that are heavily reliant on robots and machines, a lot of the process that goes into producing a Lian Li chassis requires human labor and importantly the human steady and guided hand. Lian Li claim that its quality is vastly better than that of those in mainland China since its staff are much more experienced and while not mentioned, I'd say paid a lot better as well with better working conditions. We're not having a go at China here; it's just the way it is for the most part of the time.
Now that I've given you a fairly hefty introduction, I want you to hit the play button on our YouTube video embedded above. It gives you a step by step look into what goes into producing a Lian Li chassis. Below you will also find a gallery with various snaps I took throughout the tour.
I would like to thank JP from GlobalPR for organizing the tour and Baron from Lian Li for giving me a friendly and insightful tour of the factory. I personally really enjoyed the tour and I hope you all did as well. Why not let us know what you think by commenting below?