A century of kiln fire refining has created the "Electric Porcelain Capital" - turning local traditional industries into world-class industries! The Ambition of a Small County in Ganxi


Beijing, December 1st (Xinhua) - On December 1st, the Xinhua Daily Telegraph published a report titled "A Century of Kiln Fire Refining to Build the" Electric Porcelain Capital "- Turning Local Traditional Industries into world-class industries! The Ambition of a Small County in Ganxi".

Between wires and poles, there are usually strings of white or brown "porcelain plates" hanging, either inverted or upright... They are inconspicuous but important components in the power system that serve as insulation and connections.

This is like the location of Luxi County in Pingxiang City in the map of China's porcelain industry, low-key yet not simple. Wherever there is a power line, there must be Luxi Electric Porcelain. With the century old inheritance of the electric porcelain industry, Luxi has become the capital of China's electric porcelain.

The ambition of connecting small counties in western Jiangxi to the world goes beyond this. Anchoring the goal of "looking at China in the world and Luxi in China in terms of electric porcelain", focusing on the path of intelligence, high-end, and clustering, Luxi is building an internationally competitive electric porcelain and electrical industry cluster.

A kiln fire can create the capital of electric porcelain and also illuminate the path of traditional industries towards the global market.

A hundred year old kiln fires one porcelain, and one porcelain scattered into a sky full of stars.

A 50 meter high chimney, like a huge exclamation mark, stands on the site of Pingxiang Electric Porcelain Factory.

The raw material workshop, molding workshop, adhesive assembly workshop... old houses stand silently with mottled walls, allowing later generations to still glimpse the scenery of that time. New buildings such as the Electric Porcelain Museum, the Electric Porcelain Product Exhibition Hall, and the Academic Lecture Hall are embellished here. Strolling along the sightseeing path, it feels like traveling through the long river of history, witnessing the swaying kiln fire in the capital of China's electric porcelain.

This fire was lit thousands of years ago.

Four or five thousand years ago, the pottery industry emerged within the territory of Luxi. With the passage of time, the local pottery production level continues to develop and improve. The Han Dynasty pottery jars and pots unearthed locally are exquisitely crafted, indicating that the pottery making process in Luxi at that time had reached a high level.

During the Eastern Jin Dynasty, the people of Luxi mastered the porcelain making process. In the 1980s, the Nankeng Kiln Site in Luxi County was discovered, and a large number of daily porcelain with different glaze colors were unearthed, indicating that the porcelain making process and scale in Luxi during the Song and Yuan dynasties had reached a certain level.

In 1905, driven by the Westernization Movement, several industrial rescuers raised shares in Luxi to establish Pingxiang Porcelain Co., Ltd., and 10 years later, they began to engage in the production of electric porcelain, becoming one of the earliest enterprises producing electric porcelain in China.

Electric porcelain has since become a key keyword in the development of Luxi. Pingxiang Porcelain Industry Co., Ltd. later changed its name to Pingxiang Electric Porcelain Factory, marking the path of large-scale development of the Luxi Electric Porcelain Industry.

"Sixty or seventy years ago, our factory was the national base for exporting electric porcelain products." Zhang Xinsheng, an 82 year old man who worked as an engineer at Pingxiang Electric Porcelain Factory, recalled that in the 1950s, Pingxiang Electric Porcelain Factory's products were exported to more than 30 countries and regions such as the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany, Japan, and Canada. "The American standard product number starts with '5', which is further divided into pin insulators starting with '55' and suspension insulators starting with '52'..."

According to statistics, from 1957 to 1965, Pingxiang Electric Porcelain Factory completed a total export output of 32815 tons of electric porcelain, in exchange for foreign exchange of 13.36 million US dollars, making it the earliest and most exported enterprise in the national electric porcelain industry.

Pingxiang Electric Porcelain Factory, as a pioneer in the domestic electric porcelain industry, once led the trend of technological innovation in the industry. In September 1964, Zhang Xinsheng successfully developed the "Steel Wire Knife One time Forming and Pressing Machine", which not only reduced multiple processes and saved costs, but also created conditions for the production of high-voltage electric porcelain products. Due to his outstanding contributions, Zhang Xinsheng was rated as a model worker in Jiangxi Province. At that time, he often went to various parts of the country as a technician for technical exchanges, providing drawings of new process equipment to other state-owned enterprises free of charge.

Luxi has nurtured the electric porcelain industry, and electric porcelain has become the pride of Luxi people.

"It was a great honor to work at 'Pingchang' at that time," said Ouyang Jizhu, a former worker at Pingxiang Electric Porcelain Factory, as he talked about the only 'Pingchang' in Pingxiang. He talked about a detail: before many factories had fans, the cafeteria of Pingxiang Electric Porcelain Factory used imported ceiling fans, with all four blades made of wood.

Ouyang Jizhu waved his hand and described loudly, talking about the cinema that can accommodate thousands of people, the well-equipped hospital in the factory, and the spectacular scene of two to three thousand people commuting, as if the wind blown by the wooden ceiling fan swept over him decades ago.

Before every business trip, Zhang Xinsheng would go to the bank with the notes approved by the factory to withdraw money. "After 1986, the bank's payment became increasingly unpleasant. Gradually, the factory could not even pay the wages of its workers."

Similar to the fate of many state-owned enterprises back then, Pingxiang Electric Porcelain Factory underwent restructuring in 2002, with employees laid off and only the State owned Assets Management Office retained. A kiln fire eventually dissipates into a sky full of stars.

Xintian Village in Luxi Town is less than a 15 minute drive from Pingchang. 30 years ago, a new history of the Luxi electric porcelain industry began here.

In 1993, Chen Xinghui, who started his business in coal, founded Luxi County and the first private electric porcelain enterprise in Jiangxi Province - High Strength Electric Porcelain Factory.

"At that time, the efficiency of 'Ping Factory' was already very poor, and there was a serious loss of technical personnel. After the establishment of the High Strength Electric Porcelain Factory, many old employees were hired," said Liu Changhong, Deputy General Manager of Jiangxi High Strength Electric Porcelain Group.

"30 years ago, the backbone of the technical, sales, and raw material departments of 'Pingchang' went to work at the high-strength electric porcelain factory. In the following years, there were successive 'Pingchang' old employees coming out to run the factory." Xie Xiqun, the president of the Jiangxi Electric Porcelain Chamber of Commerce, said that the success of the Luxi electric porcelain industry today is due to the emergence of new shoots from the old tree of 'Pingchang'. ".

Pursuing "high" and seeking "new", continuing the glory of the industry.

In 1998, China began to implement large-scale rural power grid renovation, covering more than 2000 counties across the country. Under the stimulation of demand, a large amount of private capital in Luxi County has flocked to the electric porcelain industry.

According to rough statistics from the Jiangxi Electric Porcelain Chamber of Commerce, from 1998 to 2000 alone, there were 40 to 50 new private electric porcelain factories established in the local area. Later ones continued to emerge like mushrooms after rain, and electric porcelain gradually became a pillar industry in Luxi County.

In 2016, China implemented a new round of rural power grid renovation and upgrading projects, which once again promoted the development of the Luxi porcelain industry. At that time, the market demand changed, and Luxi Electric Porcelain Enterprises, which used to focus on low-voltage insulator products, invested in the production of high-voltage electric porcelain.

"The products of leading enterprises such as Dalian Electric Porcelain and Suzhou Electric Porcelain have shown us their own gaps. If the products are not upgraded, they will be eliminated by the market." Xie Xiqun said that since then, many electric porcelain enterprises in Luxi have targeted ultra-high voltage and ultra-high voltage electric porcelain products.

Continuously pursuing high standards is just one of the growth paths of Luxi Electric Porcelain Enterprise.

As one of the main types of electric porcelain, insulators are divided into porcelain, glass, and composite materials according to their materials. Glass insulators have been widely used in many countries and regions in recent years due to their advantages such as high smoothness, strong insulation, and easy detection of self explosion after current breakdown. There is a vivid description in the industry: if sold by jin, porcelain insulators are priced at pork, and glass insulators are priced at pork ribs.

"This year, glass insulators have gone crazy, and companies are selling as much as they want." Liu Changhong smiled and said that high-strength electric porcelain is one of the nine companies in the world that can produce glass insulators. Being able to enter this track is thanks to the company's early layout. "Next year, we are preparing to launch another glass insulator production line."

"Back in the day, it should have been called Baixin Electric directly." Chen Qijun, the founder of Baixin Electric Porcelain Electric, was resentful of the company's name and admitted that the word "Electric Porcelain" had made the company smaller.

From porcelain to electrical, there is a one word difference, but the market capacity has expanded a hundred times. "The capacity of the electrical market is indeed large, but it is already a red ocean. Only by positioning its development direction in electric porcelain related products can it leverage the competitive advantage of Luxi." Chen Qijun is one of the few professor level senior engineers in the industry, with a sense of confidence in his words. "The overvoltage protectors we produce have already accounted for 10% of our own production capacity, and next year we plan to launch two more production lines, gradually increasing the proportion of electrical products to 30%."

In 2013, when Zhongcai Electric Porcelain settled in Luxi, it brought two ABB moving robots with a single price of over 1 million yuan, which surprised local electric porcelain owners. Nowadays, almost all of the Luxi Electric Porcelain Factory uses handling robots.

In the new material production workshop of Zhongci, the reporter saw that the raw materials were cut into rectangular mud sections after undergoing processes such as ball grinding and mud refining. An orange red robot effortlessly lifted a 40 kilogram mud section and placed it correctly on the other end of the production line, without any workers participating throughout the process.

"If there were no robots, the process of moving mud blocks would require at least ten strong workers to take turns. After several years of work, none of them had good waist," said Chen Zhipeng, Deputy General Manager of Zhongcai Electric Porcelain.

Two ABB robots were still busy in the workshop back then. Over the past 10 years, the team of Sinoma Electric Porcelain robots has expanded to 20 units, and the latest domestically produced robots included in the list have a unit price less than one-fifth of ABB's that year.

This state-owned enterprise invests 10 million yuan annually in intelligent digital transformation, taking the lead in achieving full coverage of 5G private networks in the industry, building an intelligent "private cloud" platform, and achieving efficient production through the construction of MES production command, equipment energy, and ERP data centers. Since 2016, we have obtained over 20 invention patents.

One more patent means one less technical bottleneck. "The challenges we encounter in the field of intelligent digitization are also encountered by other enterprises. Since we have arrived in Luxi, we must adopt an open and shared attitude to jointly promote industrial upgrading." Chen Zhipeng continued to give an example, stating that Zhongcai Electric Porcelain has developed a mud billet spinning forming technology, which maintains product functionality and reduces weight by 20%. Soon, Luxi Electric Porcelain enterprises have adopted this new technology one after another.

The "porcelain" industry in Luxi is full of power, attracting large enterprises such as China National Materials Corporation (CNMC), China Railway National Materials Corporation (CRRC), Dalian Electric Porcelain, and Fushun Electric Porcelain to settle in. The cluster effect continues to emerge, injecting strong momentum into the global expansion of traditional industries.

So far, there are 178 electric porcelain and electrical industry chain enterprises in Luxi County, and electric porcelain products for 110KV and below lines occupy more than 70% of the domestic market. The products are exported to more than 40 countries and regions such as the Middle East, South Africa, and Southeast Asia. There are nearly 30000 employees, with an average of 1 out of every 10 people from Luxi engaged in the electric porcelain industry.

Understanding the Electric Porcelain Capital, Talent is the Password.

Understanding the electric porcelain capital of Luxi is undoubtedly the key to success.

"I belong to the 'first generation' and also the 'second generation of porcelain' who have been carrying burlap bags since childhood. Although the company has grown into a 'little giant' in the industry with an annual sales revenue of 500 million yuan, Chen Qijun still remembers the heaviness of carrying a 200 pound glaze to the fifth floor when he was 16 years old.".

Glazing is an important process in the production of porcelain insulators, which directly affects product quality. Chen Qijun's father was responsible for this process in a village enterprise. At the age of 12, Chen Qijun, who felt sorry for his father's poor health, carried a burlap bag to assist him in cutting materials. His father explained to him the names and functions of various raw materials while preparing glaze, and supported his family of four with this salary.

"Most entrepreneurs in the electric porcelain industry in Luxi are ignited by their ancestors, and everyone carries the 'porcelain gene'." Chen Qijun said that Luxi has nurtured the electric porcelain industry for a hundred years, and then the electric porcelain industry gave birth to them. Many entrepreneurs like him gather for porcelain because they believe that "in Luxi, doing electric porcelain can achieve success.".

In Luxi, electric porcelain is not only an industry, but also a culture that gathers talents. In recent years, Luxi County has implemented the talent cultivation project for the electric porcelain industry, organizing high-level talents in the electric porcelain industry to study and study in domestic and foreign universities and excellent enterprises through various forms and channels.

Entering the electric porcelain practical operation workshop of Pingxiang Electric Porcelain and Electrical Technical School, students were divided into different groups. Some were adding materials to the ball mill, some were proficiently operating the vacuum mud mill, and some were shaping the mud section... In one corner of the workshop, there were dozens of desks with pens and paper, and the blackboard recorded the key points of operation. After the practical operation, students returned to their seats to listen to the teacher's summary and explanation.

Guo Da, a 36 year old teacher this year, is a "porcelain third generation". His grandparents are workers in local electric porcelain enterprises, and he also chose the electric porcelain industry after graduating from university. In 2021, after the establishment of Pingxiang Electric Porcelain and Electrical Technical School in Luxi County, Guo Da resigned from his position as workshop manager and stood on the podium. He introduced that there are a total of 89 students majoring in ceramic technology who are about to graduate, of which 25 choose to continue their studies, and the rest have been "snatched away" by enterprises.

Class monitor Li Qinglai is interning at the Qiangsheng Electric Porcelain Technology Post in Pingxiang and is currently participating in the development of a new glaze formula. Li Qinglai said that the school not only teaches the knowledge in textbooks, but also places great emphasis on practice, so he adapts quickly to the enterprise and finds employment upon graduation.

Workers are working in the production workshop of an electric porcelain enterprise at the Luxi Industrial Park Electric Porcelain Industry Base in Pingxiang City, Jiangxi Province (data chart). Electric porcelain, as the leading industry and traditional leading industry in Luxi County, Pingxiang City, Jiangxi Province, has made significant contributions to the economic and social development of the entire county. At present, there are more than 150 electric porcelain enterprises in the county, with nearly 30000 employees. The products are sold to more than 40 countries and regions overseas. Xinhua News Agency (photo taken by Wang Jingyi) has established a vocational education coordination mechanism in Luxi, involving relevant government departments, industry enterprises, schools, and other parties. It has cultivated and recognized 17 industry education integrated enterprises and carried out a "dual system" collaborative education between schools and enterprises. Establishing apprenticeship classes in the field of electrical ceramics and electrical engineering, students sign master apprentice agreements, and ensure employment through school enterprise cooperation, joint education, and order based training, while meeting the employment needs of enterprises.

"When I first arrived, I thought I needed to adapt to it for a while, but I didn't expect a talent building with a bag to move in. Next door is a commercial complex, which is convenient for food and accommodation." Li Yan, an employee of the electric porcelain industry in Luxi County, comes from Dalian City, Liaoning Province. In his apartment room, there are not only refrigerators, washing machines, water purifiers and other household appliances, but also a 24-hour gym and a business negotiation room downstairs. Li Yan said that what surprised him was that such good accommodation conditions were rent free, and he could pay over 400 yuan in property and water and electricity fees per month. According to statistics, there are a total of 235 apartments in the talent building of Luxi County, which was completed in 2021, and now the occupancy rate is around 60%.

This is a microcosm of talent introduction services in Luxi County. The local government is also establishing "one-stop" talent service centers in industrial parks and talent buildings to help various talents solve problems related to innovation and entrepreneurship, housing security, children's education, social insurance, etc., continuously improving the sense of talent acquisition and satisfaction.

In 2020, Luxi County invested 220 million yuan to establish the High Voltage Porcelain Electrical Research Institute, which gathered multiple research and development personnel such as members of the Porcelain Industry Standards Committee and professor level senior engineers. At present, the institute has achieved resource sharing with local electric porcelain manufacturing enterprises such as China National Materials Corporation, China Railway National Materials Corporation, and Jiangxi Qianglian, effectively reducing the research and development costs of electric porcelain enterprises, and becoming the engine and incubator for the development of the Luxi electric porcelain industry cluster.

As of now, there are a total of 28 national level talents, 1009 talents with deputy high or above professional titles, and 5767 professional and technical talents in Luxi County. A total of 21 provincial-level or above research and development platforms for the electric porcelain and electrical industry have been established, as well as 5 provincial-level or above public service platforms. The fire of the porcelain kiln is getting hotter and hotter.

Focusing on the main business, we must go further than earlier.

In recent years, 9 central state-owned enterprise projects, including China National Materials Corporation (CNOOC), have settled in Luxi. Why have small counties in central China become "investment hotspots"? The continuously optimized local business environment and services are crucial.

At Dalian Electric Porcelain (Jiangxi) Co., Ltd., six intelligent production lines are operating at full capacity, and staff are busy in an orderly manner next to the production lines.

"From a wasteland to the construction of rows of factories, we can almost see the county party secretary or county mayor every week. The resident cadres in Shangbu Town and Nankeng Town, where the project belongs, also keep running to handle various procedures for the enterprise, coordinate and solve problems that arise during project construction, making us truly feel the warm and considerate service of the government," said Lv Yang, the deputy general manager of the company.

The Dalian Electric Porcelain project in Luxi covers an area of 237 acres. The first pile was laid in September 2021 and put into operation in May of this year. Lin Xiaojin, Chairman of China Railway National Materials Corporation, also felt the "speed of Luxi". "In April 2019, the factory was established and put into operation in November of that year. The approval speed and service awareness amazed and moved us."

In order to keep the characteristic industries, including electric porcelain, and go further, Luxi County follows the requirements of "signing the contract and landing, starting construction immediately, and starting construction immediately", and closely focuses on issues such as land, planning, and construction permits. Each project arranges a dedicated person to handle the entire process of project certification, project filing, and other approval and reporting procedures.

In addition, Luxi County has established a dedicated command center for optimizing the business environment and a dedicated team for business environment work, promoting the implementation of various policy measures and coordinating the resolution of specific problems.

The government organizes annual government enterprise symposiums to listen to the voices and demands of enterprises, collect their suggestions and opinions, and help them solve problems. What impressed Chen Zhipeng was that after receiving feedback on the high production costs caused by the rise in natural gas prices, Luxi County subsidized enterprises with a standard of 0.2 yuan/m3, alleviating their cost pressure.

"In addition to providing preferential treatment for land, water, electricity, and gas usage, the government has also reduced our company's tax revenue." Liu Changhong said that in addition, relevant departments have also assisted in applying for various patents and honors, adding glory to the development of the enterprise.

"We regard the electric porcelain and electrical industry as the primary industry, and through a series of measures such as optimizing services, planning guidance, attracting large and strong talents, and innovation driven, we promote the electric porcelain and electrical industry to embark on the path of intelligent manufacturing, large-scale production, international sales, and supporting construction. We have taken solid steps towards the goal of 'world electric porcelain looks at China, and Chinese electric porcelain looks at Luxi'," said Li Zengyi, Secretary of Luxi County Committee.

Even if you walk early, you must walk far. Entering the old factory area of high-strength electric porcelain, the factory building is not square and regular. This earliest private electric porcelain enterprise in Luxi County has slowly expanded and planned from a small piece of land, and has steadily developed to today. It is still the largest electric porcelain enterprise in the local area, with its total industrial output value and domestic sales value ranking among the top three in the industry.

High strength electric porcelain briefly ventured into real estate, but chose to return after building two properties in Luxi County. "Real estate is not our main business after all. Focusing on electric porcelain, deepening the cultivation of electric porcelain, and strengthening electric porcelain have become the consensus of our local electric porcelain enterprises. In long-term development, we have become more and more firm in this belief - in Luxi, doing electric porcelain can achieve success," said Liu Changhong.