Go to contents

[Opinion] How Is Transfer of Technology in Korea Train Express?

[Opinion] How Is Transfer of Technology in Korea Train Express?

Posted March. 29, 2002 08:38,   


While driving on Seoul-Pusan highway on a brilliant spring day, some strange structures are seen from the window.

It is the construction spot of Seoul-Pusan train express, which is termed as creating the biggest history since Tangun.

Seeing tunnel and bridge that seems so strong, I am looking forward to the day when we can travel from Seoul to Taejeon in 50 minutes and to Pusan in two hours.

Luckily test-driving is proceeding smoothly between Seoul and Taejeon before the completion date in December 2003.

However there is one thing, which we should think about before it is too late.

That is the matter of `transfer of technology `.

When the project of Korea Train Express was being discussed ten years ago, the queries such as ¡° do we need such a fast train in small Korea? ¡°

However, what made such inquiries settle down was ¡°if we can produce express trains by transferring technology, it can serve great advantage¡°.

The process of transferring technology is divided into three parts.

The first step is to assemble parts, that is, being taught technology and the next is assembling and producing independently.

The last is to produce modified design indigenously.

When it succeeds, then we can say that we obtained technology completely.

The reason what I am concerned about is the opacity in transferring technology.

Korea dispatched engineers to France to be trained and to transfer technology.

And Korea induced several high-speed trains and is learning how to operate by test operation.

The process of transferring comprehensive technology of manufacturing trains is not clear.

Alstom, the train manufacturing company, was responsible for transferring technology.

I would like to suggest three things for the sake of securing technology transfer.

Firstly, I would like to emphasize and clarify the aim of high-speed trains in the beginning and to perceive the importance of technology transfer.

We are not spending such a big money just because of one reason that is to get ride in a fast train.

There is also an added purpose to leap as an advanced nation in railway technology by acquiring latest technology.

If we are not able to learn technology of manufacturing trains, we should know that it is only half a success.

Secondly, it should examine the current situation of transferring technology.

It is needed to clarify whether engineers, who are transferred technology, are enough in the field.

They should check core- technology that should be learnt by comprehensive design of trains, once again.

And whether required data and design are secured and whether affiliated enterprises which manufacture parts are grasped, these things should be clarified.

Thirdly, it should establish development of independent model and plan for manufacturing.

Manufacturing indigenously is a must in order to examine whether we learned the technology or not.

Such checks are effective when it is carried out right after learning.

If time goes away, they might forget what they learnt and it will be difficult to ask France again.

If engineers don`t work together steadily, they can be dispersed off by shifting jobs.

Therefore, even though car is not needed right now, it is needed to manufacture goods by modifying design according to our situation.

Someone can say ¡°what are you saying¡°, they are doing well.

However, we should perceive that only successful construction is not our goal.

Contract for introducing railway trains contains expenditure for transferring technology.

We should think that if we don`t take this technology now, the money would go away.

I hope to examine once again with a mind of looking at it once again even though `fire is putout`.

Lee Gwang Hyung (Prof. in Future Industry and Chairman of International Co-operation in KAIST, bio information).