CHINA Podcast: Story in the Story (4/2/2020 Thu.)


Podcast: Story in the Story (4/2/2020 Thu.)

People's Daily app

00:56, April 02, 2020

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From the People's Daily App.

This is Story in the Story.

24 machines, 3 million masks, 1 day's capacity: This is the fruit of J-20 fighter jet technology that has been applied to mask production lines.

To fight against COVID-19, a contagious disease that has infected people all over the world, the entire planet is in desperate need of masks to protect against the virus.

Worries about mask supplies have increased as many countries have been running short. In China, mask factories have been working around the clock to ease the shortage.

Among them is the AVIC Manufacturing Technology Institute, a research organization that provides key processing technology and equipment to China's new aircraft, engine development and aircraft factory upgrading.

Today’s Story in the Story looks at how specific technology used in one field is now being used in a completely different field because of the changing times we live in.


(Photo: CGTN)

For an aircraft manufacturer, making a mask production machine is a brand-new concept. Led by a team consisting of engineers and technicians, the institute came up with a design in three days and built a prototype just 16 days later.

The automated mask production machine used the digital technology that was once applied in making parts for China's J-20 and J-10 fighter jets.

"We carried out a digital simulation before real manufacturing so that unnecessary errors were avoided, which saved us a lot of time," said Li Zhiqiang, head of the project and president of the institute.

Four mask machines have been delivered by them and were sent to the local mask factories that were in urgent need. Li said that his organization expected to make another 20 machines by the end of March. Daily production capacity will then be raised to three million pieces.

The automatic machine makes a kind of three-ply surgical mask. The outer layer is non-woven cloth, which functions to inhibit bacteria.

The middle layer is a melt blown filter, which is the most critical part in filtering out viruses. The inner layer is a soft, absorbent non-woven fabric, mainly used to absorb moisture released by the wearer.

Though the demand for medical-grade masks remains high in China, production has slowed because of the shortage of the core material, melt-blown non-woven fabric.

China's oil giant Sinopec used to only produce raw material for this kind of fabric, but now they are leading the manufacturing of the fabric to meet the demand of the market.


(Photo: CGTN)

Two of the production lines of this fabric have been put into use by Sinopec in Beijing.

In only 12 days, the lines were established and are now operating non-stop with hundreds of people working around the clock, learning about, testing, and finally using the machines.

"The outbreak made the production of masks very urgent. The Party Central Committee of the State Council appointed this important task to Sinopec. We are dedicated to this huge social responsibility," said Jiao, the deputy general manager of Sinopec Yanshan Petrochemical Company.

As the outbreak continues, mass production of masks has made the fabric scarce.

"We are responding to the government's call to produce masks. Since we have never done this in the past, our original supply for the fabric came from government allocation," said Li Renyao, general manager of Small-Bone Business Group, Naton Medical Group. 

"But supplies have become tight. We are now buying new machines to meet market demand. Our mask production capacity will reach two million per day, and that'd require one and a half tons of the fabric," noted Li.

But now, with the operation of the two new production lines, manufacturers can keep their machines running 24/7.

"We now build production lines that can produce four to six tons of fabric per day. This can support the production of six million medical-level masks every day," said Jiao.

Sinopec plans to build a total of 10 production lines in China. The company also hopes to double its production capacity in the near future.

(Produced by Nancy Yan Xu, Brian Lowe, Lance Crayon and Da Hang. Music by Text from CGTN.)

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