Zhejiang Accelerates Smart Manufacturing Transformation
Taizhou, a coastal city of Zhejiang province, specialized in medical equipment manufacturing, is quickening the pace of building an intelligent town. (PHOTO: VCG)
By CHEN Chunyou
The manufacturing industry is the foundation of a nation and China's Zhejiang province is currently accelerating its efforts to upgrade this industry empowered by innovation. Zhejiang released a pilot list of 36 industrial clusters for smart manufacturing this May, which will promote the breakthrough in core technologies.
According to a report reviewing the country's digital development in 2020, released by the Cyberspace Administration of China this year, Zhejiang's industrial digitalization index ranked first in China.
This achievement was not realized overnight. It is the result of making full use of its industrial advantages and the pioneering spirit of the local population.
Rebirth of iron & steel production base
The Banshan iron and steel production base, which in the past was a pollution churning collection of smokestacks and noisy machines, was closed by the Hangzhou Iron and Steel Company in late 2015, in response to the country's plan to eliminate excess and outdated capacity.
In order to seek a new point of development, the company made the shift to digital infrastructure. In 2020, the construction of a cloud computing data center was launched in the place where the steel mill once stood. About 30,000 machine cabinets and 300,000 servers will be housed in the center, which can meet the needs of both governments and enterprises. The center is going to be one of the most energy-saving data centers coupled with the largest computing capacity in China.
Moreover, a group of advanced manufacturing enterprises in the field of artificial intelligence, robotics, applied chips and 3D printing will become the engine of the company's new manufacturing development.
Immediate economic benefit vs future development
In the past, the lead battery industry was one of the pillar industries of Changxing county, Huzhou city, discharging more than 10 tons of lead emissions annually.
In 2004, local enterprises were encouraged to upgrade the traditional battery industry with advanced technology, equipment, and craftsmanship, realizing a high-end, high-quality, and high-efficiency development. The call for green development was positively supported by local enterprises.
Two lead battery reforms were carried out in the county in 2005 and 2011. The number of lead battery enterprises was gradually reduced from 175 to 16, and all of them were moved to the high-tech park.
Far from the reform weakening the capacity of the battery industry, it actually pushed the lead battery enterprises to transform into a new energy industry.
Now, the new energy industry has become the primary strategic emerging industry in Changxing. The county has gradually formed a new energy industry chain, with the new energy battery as the core, covering intelligent vehicles and key components, new energy equipment, and energy storage.
From manufacturing to smart manufacturing
Another example of smart manufacturing is the building of an industrial Internet platform in Xiaoshan district, Hangzhou city. The digitalization of the paper packaging industry in the district was relatively weak, especially in the process of design, research and development.
In order to realize digitalization, local enterprises set up a joint laboratory with universities and institutes committed to building an intelligent factory. Thanks to this measure, the order delivery rate increased by more than 10.2 percent, the energy consumption reduced by more than 18 percent, and the cost for human resources decreased.
Centering on smart manufacturing, Zhejiang has found its own way to green development, in which a balance between ecology and economy is achieved.
Zhejiang released its 14th Five-Year Plan for the construction of a global advanced manufacturing base this July. In the next five years, the province will focus on the fields of information technology, biomedicine, new materials, energy conservation and environmental protection as well as new energy, on its impressive journey of smart manufacturing.