Intelligent transformation gives a boost to manufacturing sector in Zhejiang’s Xinchang county

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By Gu Chun, People’s Daily

Thanks to the efforts to promote intelligent transformation, the manufacturing sector in Xinchang county, east China’s Zhejiang province has soared with the wings of “digitalization.”

Xinchang, located in the mountains and in a low position in Zhejiang province’s GDP ranking, gradually made it into the top 100 most competitive counties in China.

“In the past, there were many workers in textile workshops, and the job was of high intensity. Now, only one worker is needed in each workshop during the daytime and the workshops can be left unattended at night. The machines stop automatically once the yarns break, and all that is needed is to check the machines the next day,” said Zhang Changqiu, a worker of the High Fashion Silk (Zhejiang) Co., Ltd. based in Xinchang county.

Smart transformation has lowered labor input and intensity for the company, and also drives production efficiency and stability. The company’s output value is expected to go up over 20 percent despite the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020.

Puyou, an engineered technology company and one of the first enterprises to go through digital transformation in Xinchang county is another one that benefits from digital operation. General manager Huang Yonglong of the company told the People’s Daily that many indicators of the company were estimated in the past. For instance, once a malfunction happened to a machine, the production efficiency could only be calculated by counting the parts every ten or thirty minutes. Now, equipment utilization is presented on computer screens, and it only takes 2.5 seconds to manufacture a spare part.

The manufacturers’ active demand for smart transformation in Xinchang county aroused the interest of many major tech firms. Some of them, including iFLYTEK, an intelligent speech and artificial intelligence company and global leader in AI products and solutions Megvii, have established branches in Xinchang.

Zhejiang Zhongcai Pipes Science & Technology Co. Ltd. has signed a cooperative agreement with Megvii to build unmanned workshops. General manager of the company Jia Liqiang said that sorting and encasing were completed by employees after pipes of different types rolled off production lines, but now all the work is done with the advanced visual recognition technology of Megvii.

“When enterprises scale up their businesses, the interaction between data and devices is very important. Many parameters were predicted based on experience, which always led to poor management and deviations in decision making. Now, it only takes a few hours to generate production and sales figures, so we have precise control over the business,” Jia noted. He believes digital transformation decides the future of enterprises.

Whether smart transformation is widely promoted among medium and small sized enterprises concerns the effects of industrial upgrading of the county, said Li Ning, secretary of the Communist Party of China Xinchang county committee.

According to Li, the county’s integration index of informatization and industrialization stood at 98.77 in 2019, and the rating of digital economy reached 90.3. It became a provincial level pilot and demonstration zone for industrial internet.

In the first three quarters last year, the county’s industries achieved growth against headwinds, and the added value of high-tech industries accounted for 89.76 percent of the added value of the enterprises above designated size. The added value of the core digital economy industries above designated size reached 1.23 billion yuan ($190 million).

What’s behind the great performance is constant investment on innovation. It is reported that the county’s investment on R&D has accounted for over 4 percent of its GDP for five years in a row, and the number of invention patents per 10,000 people has reached 60. Sci-tech progress contributes 70 percent to the county’s economic development. In recent years, the county has introduced a batch of professional technological and management teams with international views, which constantly improved its technological strength.

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