China Industrial Upgrading: Old industrial base to advance equipment manufacturing
China's northeastern rust belt is where the nation's industrialization began. And Liaoning Province has long been a key production base of equipment and machinery manufacturing. In recent years, the province has faced stern challenges, but it's making changes to regain the shine of its pillar industry. CGTN's Feng Yilei reports.
"Go where the sparks fly." That's how 38-year-old Chi Guiyi mastered metal plate skills when he began his career at a Brilliance Auto plant, a Chinese car manufacturer headquartered in Liaoning province.
When assembling a car, touching its surface to find flaws used to be an important skill. And to master that skill, Chi, the model worker, has run his hands over hundreds of vehicles.
CHI GUIYI, AUTOMOTIVE BODY SHOP SUPERVISOR BRILLIANCE AUTO FACTORY "I used my spare time to delve into production techniques and practiced what others don't want to do. I am not well educated but I believe I can do the job well."
The glory of these Chinese-made cars used to lay on diligent shoulders.
But as Chinese automotive manufacturing moves into a new era of digitization, automakers have found their new roles and are free of grunt work.
At Brilliance Auto's intelligent assembling and welding plant, over three quarters of its production line is now automated.
Workers closely monitor and work with some 150 robots, precisely and efficiently.
FENG YILEI SHENYANG "And over one third of the intelligent welding robots are made here at SIASUN in Shenyang. The tech company is now ushering every industry into the intelligent era. But believe it or not, it has taken this latecomer in the field decades to develop from scratch and go big, go global."
Featuring a diverse type of independently developed robots that is winning a bigger market both at home and abroad, SIASUN's remarkable growth also lies in efforts to unleash potential of innovation.
WANG YUPENG, VICE PRESIDENT MOBILE ROBOT BG, SHENYANG SIASUN ROBOT & AUTOMATION "We are driven by not just the market but also technological research and development - which is in our DNA. It is our large R&D team and years of technology accumulation that enable us to lead in the sector."
And the intelligent shift of equipment manufacturers in Liaoning is also accelerating the nation's speed of advance.
In a humble corner of a Dalian heavy industry factory, four years of designing, testing and manufacturing gave birth to the feedback source supporting system for FAST, the largest and most sensitive radio telescope on earth.
And the cutting-edge bent axle made here enables China to stand out in shipbuilding.
WEI XUFENG, VICE PRESIDENT DALIAN HUARUI HEAVY INDUSTRY GROUP "In fact many of the national projects are our first attempts. How can we make it? I think the key is our existing advantage in traditional equipment manufacturing that we can take from and a solid talent team of incremental strengths."
Back at the car factory, a revolution in the old manufacturing mode has also impacted Chi's career path.
CHI GUIYI, AUTOMOTIVE BODY SHOP SUPERVISOR BRILLIANCE AUTO FACTORY "I benefited a lot from the zero-defect program that BMW carried out in our factory, in terms of improved management and techniques. We still have a long way to go compared to this hundred-year-old manufacturer. But I look forward to the day that we make our brand the BMW of China.
Chi feels proud of having his own national-brand Brilliance car that he created himself. He believes what is going on in Liaoning will make a difference to both his home and his homeland. Feng Yilei, CGTN, Shenyang, Liaoning province.