Photo taken on May 24, 2019 shows a worker of TISCO tearing up a piece of 0.02-mm-thick ultra-thin stainless steel strip in Taiyuan. (Xinhua/Cao Yang)
Thanks to China’s efforts to break through the bottleneck of core technologies and industries, the country has made multiple breakthroughs in its manufacturing industry, gaining momentum and confidence as it builds itself into a manufacturer of quality.
In 2020, the world’s thinnest stainless steel was independently developed by Shanxi Taigang Stainless Steel Precision Strip Co. Ltd., a subsidiary of Chinese leading stainless steelmaker Taiyuan Iron and Steel Group in north China’s Shanxi province.
With a thickness of 0.015 mm, the ultra-thin stainless steel can be easily torn off by hand, and can be used in the manufacturing of new energy vehicle batteries.
A winner of the Sixth China Grand Awards for Industry, the steel was praised by Chinese president Xi Jinping during an inspection tour to Shanxi last year.
However, achieving such a breakthrough was not easy. For a long time, China relied on imports of the material, which costs hundreds of yuan (one yuan is about $0.15) per gram.
In order to crack this tough nut, the Chinese company carried out over 700 experiments, solved over 170 thorny problems related to equipment and 450 technical problems, producing 0.02-mm ultra-thin stainless steel. Last year, it successfully produced 0.015-mm stainless steel.
It is a timely breakthrough, as there is high demand in many emerging industries such as aerospace, nuclear power, and new energy for the product.
The company’s success is a reflection of the better-than-expected growth of the country’s iron and steel industry. In 2020, key steel enterprises in China registered an overall sales revenue of 4.7 trillion yuan (about $727.6 billion), up 10.86 percent year on year despite the impact of the COVID-19 epidemic.
This achievement can be largely attributed to China’s sound industrial system, and innovation and cooperation among upstream and downstream enterprises.
Over the past year, the sales of products, including ultra-thin stainless steel, high-quality bearing steel and steel pinion, have all increased, meeting the demands of clients, stabilizing steel production capacity, and expanding the market.