An employee works in the Yangtze Optical Fibre and Cable Joint Stock Ltd's production plant in Wuhan, Hubei province. (Xu Congjun / For China Daily)
Yangtze Optical Fibre and Cable Joint Stock Ltd, the largest supplier of optical preform and fiber in the world, has seen its production efficiency rise sharply thanks to its intelligent manufacturing program.
The speed of fiber drawing has reached 3,000 meters per minute, up 38.9 percent compared with 2012, when the company launched its first advanced manufacturing program. It is one of the fastest fiber drawing techniques in the world, said Yan Changkun, vice-president of YOFC.
Yan said that China's cloud computing, big data, 4G network and the national broadband system are developing very fast, generating large demand for optical fiber and cable. However, companies that are able to offer whole-package solutions in the industry are mostly from overseas at the moment.
"YOFC aims to grow into one of the major solution providers in the industry," said Yan. "Our focus in the next three to five years will be offering sophisticated solutions for the interconnection of fiber and cable in data centers."
The next challenge for YOFC is to increase the interconnection of different fiber drawing towers through an intelligent networking system.
"Ten years ago, one person managed one tower. Now it is one person for two towers. With an intelligent system, one person will be able to manage four towers," said Zhuang Dan, president of YOFC.
"In the past 30 years, the optical fiber and cable industry in China has followed the path of 'exchanging the market for technology'. After this learning process, YOFC has made a lot of innovations that will be exported in the international market," said Zhuang.
YOFC has established an optical fiber and cable industrial park based in Wuhan along with companies including Shin-Etsu Chemical Co Ltd from Japan, and China Air Liquide (China) Holding Co Ltd.
Covering an area of 466 square kilometers, the park will become the biggest preform manufacturing center in the world when completed, with annual output of 3,000 metric tons of preform and 25 million kilometers of optical fiber. The annual output value is estimated at 5 billion yuan (3 million).
The project broke ground last October. The first phase, with an investment of 1.33 billion yuan, will go into operation by the end of this year. It is expected to have an annual production capacity of 1,000 tons of preform and 10 million kilometers' optical fiber.
In 2015, YOFC achieved revenue of 6.7 billion yuan, up 18.6 percent year-on-year. Its net profit stood at 570 million yuan, up 22.4 percent from the same period in the previous year.