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Chinese factories upgrade to stay competitive globally

Updated: 2015-11-25 11:40

HEZI JIANG in Chicago

(China Daily USA)

Faced with rising labor costs and an economy that's slowing down, some Chinese manufacturers are upgrading their factories to stay in global competition.

"Our clients from Canada, Germany, France, America and all over the world were amazed by our production lines. Some joked, ‘Are you making aircraft carriers?'" said Chen Yuxia, service manager of Intco Medical based in East China's Shangdong province.

She said the company has devoted about $15 million just to its five production lines of disposable medical gloves in the past two years. Each of the 1,365-meter production lines has thousands of controlling points. "Automation leads to precision," said Chen in Chicago, where she was attending an automation fair at the McCormick Place on Nov 18-19.

"Over 20 percent of our annual investment goes to automation," she said. "If we see anything appealing at the fair, we are going for it, regardless of the price."

Held by Rockwell Automation, a US-based provider of industrial automation and information solutions, the fair featured more than 100 exhibits from Rockwell and its partners, showing such things as automation controllers, information software, security technology and robotics.

A Chinese delegation of 120 people flew in for the annual fair, including representatives of more than 80 manufacturers from such industries as pharmaceutical, automotive and tire, oil and gas, infrastructure and metals and mining, seeking new ways to upgrade their factories.

Zhang Cong, general manager of Honghua Offshore Oil and Gas Equipment, walked from booth to booth, following a Chinese guide. "I'm here to see where we are in comparison to the leaders of our industry," said Zhang. "It's chance to see all the technologies and recognize our own position and determine the next step."

"The concept opens a door for us," said Gong Jun, senior vice-president of Beiqi Foton Motor. Gong said the corporation is undergoing system transformation and that it is applying the philosophy of connected enterprise — Internet plus and smart manufacturing — to how they think and how they run, and what they produce and how to manufacture.

China is the second-largest market for Rockwell Automation after the United States, and Rockwell executives are very optimistic about the market's growth potential.

Chairman and CEO Keith Nosbusch said the concepts of automation and connected enterprise have "been driven very aggressively in China."

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