In a country where tradition is highly valued, entrepreneurial innovation is taking on an ever greater role. Dolanit’s Qi Wang is one of the young Chinese entrepreneurs who not only recognized the trend toward automation, but are already realizing it today.
Dolanit is a company located in Shijiazhuang, in China’s Hebei Province, some 300 kilometers from Beijing. Here, Qi Wang is carrying on his father’s legacy: Jianyun Wang founded the company in 1986. At that time, the approximately 30 employees used such simple tools as guillotine shears and hand welders to manufacture primarily sheet metal cladding for switch cabinets. Dolanit has been part of Huijin Corporation since 2014. Qi Wang now has a staff of 150. He is proud of the fact that his company was the first in the entire province to introduce a linked automation solution with a large-scale storage system and three connected machines. That the company would grow, however, had already become apparent long before this.
In 2004, the young businessman joined the company his father had spent several years building and expanding. A new business area emerged for Dolanit just a short time later, in 2005, when the Chinese government began subsidizing railway development in order to speed up technological advancement and modernization. Qi Wang recognized the potential of this market early on and was open to it. “Our focus was on the stainless steel covers for the air conditioning in the trains,” he says. To manufacture these components, Dolanit’s machinery would have to be modified – not only did it take too long to transport material between the punching and laser machines, but the quality couldn’t always be guaranteed. After conducting in-depth research, Qi Wang found the solution: a TRUMPF punch laser machine.
He found the solution to his problems on a trip abroad.
Even in Shijiazhuang, an 18-hour flight from Ditzingen, Qi Wang had heard about TRUMPF’s technological expertise. “The name is very well known in Chinese manufacturing industry, as TRUMPF is synonymous with highly advanced machinery,” says Qi Wang. He purchased his first TRUMPF machine, a TruMatic 7000, in 2011.
As a result of rising payroll costs, Qi Wang was also looking for ways to continue running and expanding his company profitably. In the course of an important business trip in 2013, he was able to take a closer look at automation, which was prevalent in Germany, and the resulting advantages: companies that had fewer employees than his, but that achieved higher productivity. That was the solution to his problems.
In 2014, he took a great leap. He fitted not only his TruMatic 7000, but also a 2D laser machine, the TruLaser 5030 fiber, with loading and unloading units. He connected both of these machines and the next link in his sheet metal process chain, the TruBend Cell 5000 automated bending cell, to a Stopa compact store. With this radical redesign, Qi Wang boosted his company’s productivity by 30 percent while halving his payroll costs. “At that time, automation was considered a luxury in sheet metal processing, so this quickly and significantly boosted our reputation,” reports Qi Wang.
To ensure not only that his machinery was state of the art, but also that those who operate it, as well as the rest of the staff, were regularly updated on the latest technology, Qi Wang introduced special internal training courses for all employees. He modeled this change on the experts at TRUMPF, who had offered similar courses right after the machines and storage were installed, making it possible to bring the automated factory unit online much more quickly. This determination is typical of Qi Wang.
“Today’s 25- to 30-year-olds aren’t particularly eager to work in industry,” says Qi Wang. “I chose it because, like my father, I aim to become number one in our market.” In addition to air conditioning components, his company makes ATM enclosures and switch cabinets. Competitive pressure is intense, which is why the consistent and high quality of his products is decisive for Qi Wang. Since automating his company’s production, he was able to acquire many lucrative follow-up orders and also attract new customers. The company is growing and it has an excellent reputation, and all signs point to future progress, too. Qi Wang hopes to tap new markets – like he first did with the trains. Openness by tradition, you might say.
Contact us: MastersofSheetMetal@trumpf.com
This article was first published in spring 2017.