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(I) The current status of the development of Ningbo’s mould industry According to the data obtained through research efforts and the statistics released by local mould associations and related departments, by the end of 2005, there existed over 6000 enterprises engaged in mould processing in Ningbo, regardless of their size or of whether the mould processing was taken as their major business. These enterprises had totally employed more than 160,000 people, with total output value reaching RMB 16.1 billion Yuans. And the commercial mould output passed beyond RMB 7 billion Yuans, of which the exported moulds took up RMB 1.5 billion Yuans. The 5-year average increase rate of the mould output value has gone beyond 30%, and the mould commercialization rate has approached 40%. (II) Main features concerning the development of the mould industry in Ningbo 1. Distinctive regional characteristics. The set-up of mould bases has demonstrated its preliminary effects The mould industry in Ningbo has been growing with distinctive regional characteristics, with the large-scale plastic mould of Ninghai, the compression mould of Beilun, the precision plastic mould of Yuyao, the domestic electric appliances mould of Cixi, the casting mould of Xiangshan, the automobile parts mould of Yinzhou and other specific moulds exerting significant influence at home. At present, in Ningbo there are a couple of mould bases, such as Ninghai Mould Town, Yuyao Mould Town, the Mould Park in Beilun Development Zone, the Mould Park in Jiangbei Business Development Zone, the Haishu Mould Market in Xijiao and Zhedong Mould Market (Cixi). The development of mould bases has fostered and promoted the growth of a well number of small and medium-sized mould enterprises, and to a certain extent, realized the effective integration of the production elements, thus enhancing the reputation of Ningbo’s mould industry both at home and abroad. Refer to Table 2 for the information about the regional features of Ningbo’s mould industry and about various local mould towns. Table 2 Scenario about the regional features of Ningbo’s mould industry and about the development of local mould towns Project Product features Base name Mould town Region Large-scale, fine China Mould Ninghai Ninghai Mould Town plastic mould Manufacturing Base China Mould Town, Town Mould Park in Beilun Beilun Compression mould of Compression Mould Development Zone China Mould China Light Industry (Yuyao) Yuyao Plastic mould Manufacturing Base for Mould Town Light Industry Cixi mould industry Home electric Cixi encompasses a number of appliances mould mould manufacturing bases Xiangshan Casting Mould Home to Casting Mould 2. The emergence of “pilot” enterprises has raised the level of Ningbo mould With the incessant development during the “Tenth Five-year Plan” period, the Ningbo mould industry has witnessed the emergence of a batch of “pilot” mould enterprises, such as Ningbo Shuanglin Fine Mould Co., Ltd, Ningbo Deye Fine Mould Manufacturing Co., Ltd, Ningbo Heli Mould Co., Ltd, Xiangshan Tongjia Casting Mould Factory, Ningbo Far East Mould Manufacturing Co., Ltd, Ningbo Jiuteng Automobile Light Electric Appliance Co., Ltd, Ninghai No.1 Injection Mould Factory, Ningbo Yuefei Mould Co., Ltd, Ninghai Dapeng Mould Plastics Co., Ltd, Ningbo Huazhong Plastic Products Co., Ltd, Cixi Xianglong Industrrial Gourp, Ningbo Huaxin Moulding Co., Ltd, Ningbo Southern Plastic Mould Co., Ltd, Cixi Hongda Electromechanical Mould Co., Ltd, Ningbo Henghe Mould Co., Ltd and Ningbo Xunhui Electri c Appliance Co., Ltd. With a huge production scale, high quality products and advanced facilities, these enterprises are taking the leading positon in the mould industry in China, thus improving the level of Ningbo mould products and significantly enhancing the reputation of Ningbo’s mould industry. Besides, the Ningbo mould industry is currently boasting a number of high and new technology enterprises, with 7 at the national level and 18 at the provincial or municipal level, providing supportive service to such well-known domestic and international enterprises as Panasonics, Furi, Toshiba, Hitachi, Mitsubishi, Aipu, Buick, Millennium, Haier, Changhong, No.1 Automobile, Dongfeng, Volkswagen, Little Swan and Royalstar. Hence with certain global competitiveness. The moulds manufactured by these enterprises are also exported to such countries and regions as USA, Japan, Korea, Italy, Turkey, Pakistan, Holland, Switzerland, and Taiwan, enjoying international reputation to a certain extent. 3. Constant progress has been made in the manufacturing mode, and R&D capability and management level have somewhat improved Significant changes have taken place in the producing mode of the current Ningbo mould industry. CAD/CAM technology, electric processing and other advanced technologies are more widely used than before the “Tenth Five-year Plan” period. Quite a few enterprises have introduced the up-to-date mould designing and manufacturing softwares such as UG, Pro/E and Cimatron. Standard mould parts have seen a higher use rate than in the past. The application of hot runner technology has become relatively prevalent. The air assisting technology and CAE technology have begun to be applied in some enterprises. And conspicuous increase has been seen in the use proportion of fine mould materials. Incessant progress has been made in the technological level of the producing facilities of the enterprises, with great improvements being made in the processing center, electric impulse, wire electrode cutting, mould closer, trilinear coordinates measuring instrument and other modernized processing facilities in terms of both quality and quantity. By the end of 2005, the five major regions, namely Ninghai, Beilun, Yuyao, Cixi and Xiangshan, have in total owned nearly 2350 sets of working centers, more than 130 of which are the high-precision mould machining facilities manufactured in the countries like Japan, Germany and Switzerland. With a strong sense of innovation, the enterprises have made great endeavors to popularize the use of new technology, new materials and new processing methods, widely adopted various advanced designing and manufacturing techniques, and laid emphasis on the R&D work for mould. So far as today, a number of enterprise technology centers have been established, with 5 at provincial level, 5 at Ningbo municipal level and 4 at prefectural or town level, respectively. The enterprises are positively seeking new management mode. Some large enterprises have voluntarily introduced modern management software and concept, and strived to transform the management pattern of the traditional mould enterprises. There has been an increasing number of enterprises that have obtained ISO9000 certification. And some mould enterprises have taken the initiative in using ERP management software. The enterprises are demonstrating strong market awareness, and it has become a common understanding for most of them to show their best moulds in domestic product exhibitions. And with each passing year, there has been a growing number of enterprises which are seeking market information and ways of development by attending international exhibitions, interviewing overseas customers and visiting foreign mould enterprises. And it has been the most fundamental means for development adopted by most enterprises to have an intensified brand awareness, base themselves on the market, improve product quality, develop new products and create top-notch brands. 4. The sorts of products are relatively complete in specifications, with improved manufacturing skills The moulds enterprises in Ningbo are scattered across every county (town) region, capable of manufacturing the ten major types of moulds listed by the Chinese Mould Association, such as plastic mould, casting mould, compression mould, powder metallurgy mould, rubber mould and ceramic mould, among which the plastic mould, casting mould, compression mould and powder metallurgy mould produced in Ningbo are enjoying some reputation in the domestic market. In 2005, among the 45 new product items recommended by the specialists for the national-level registration, 8 were originated in Ningbo. During the “Tenth Five-year Plan” period, Ningbo has witnessed its ever-improving capability of manufacturing high-precision and complex moulds, and great changes have also taken place in the product mix of the entire mould industry. The manufacturing skill levels for major moulds are listed as follows: (1) Plastic mould. The mould manufacturers in Ningbo have a stronger ability in producing the plastic mould, enjoying a higher position in the domestic market, and sharing a larger part among the moulds recommended as the nation’s best every year. As far as the large-size plastic mould is concerned, Ningbo has already been capable of manufacturing the mould for 34-inch color TV with a big screen, the entire mould set for a washing machine with a large capacity of 10kg, and moulds for auto bumpers and for the whole instrument panel, etc. As regards the fine and complex plastic moulds, the precision in manufacturing mould cavity could be limited within a tolerance of 0.02mm, the mould surface roughness could reach Ra 0.1, and the plastic mould could be used as much as 1 million times. And these enterprises are capable of making the high-precision moulds for projection television and for optical glass, as well as the light moulds for the international brand automobiles. (2) Casting mould. The casting mould produced in Ningbo enjoys a high reputation across the country. Take Xiangshan region as an example, the product value yielded by the casting mould produced in this region has taken up more than half of the country’s total in this sector, hence the saying that one should come to Xiangshan for the knowledge about the casting mould. The precision of the Ningbo-made casting mould could be limited within a tolerance of 0.05mm, and its service life could live up to 0.15 million times. Ningbo mould enterprises have already manufactured cylinder body and cap casting moulds for the well-known engine manufacturers such as Shenyang Mitsubishi, Shanghai Volkswagen, Shanghai GM, Cummins and Beijing Hyundai. Among these products, the casting moulds for the “Mitsubishi 4G6 lower inlet manifold” and the “GM CAMI lower inlet manifold” manufactured by Heli company have been appraised by China Mould Association as the “moulds at the international level”; the “4G6 engine cylinder body mould” produced by Heli company has been listed, in the quarterly examination, by the four national departments including China Science & Technology Department as “National-level New Key Products”; and the “HLGY” casting mould of Heli has been recognized by Ningbo Municipal Government as the “Famous Product in Ningbo”. (3) Compression mould. As an important sub-branch of the casting mould, the Ningbo-made compression mould has seen rapid growth during the “Tenth Five-year Plan” period. At present, the maximum precision of the compression mould could be limited within a tolerance of 0.04, and its mould surface roughness could reach Ra 0.4~0.2, with a service life being 0.15 million times. Matching mould products have already been provided for both domestic and overseas automobile parts, universal gasoline engines (mowing machine, power generator and water pump, etc.), motorcycle engine, and fine and brand products in other industries like telecommunications. (4) Stamping mould. The stamping mould does not take up a big share in Ningbo mould output. Ningbo is capable of producing some car-use stamping moulds, but there has been no enterprise in Ningbo currently with the capability of manufacturing the automobile body covering material mould. The Ningbo-made iron-core electromechanic multiplex progressive mould made of hard alloy and fixed-rotor iron-core compound mould are enjoying prestigious reputation in the nationwide mould field. Their manufacturing skill is at the highest level in China and approaching the international standard. The electromechanic iron-core mould manufactured by Cixi Hongda Electromechanic Mould Co., Ltd has been appraised as a “National Key New Product” and the “Mould with the International Standard” for many times. The main accessories of the mould has reached a manufacturing precision of 2µm, with its stepping accuracy within the scope of 2µm and the surface roughness reaching Ra 0.1. When the mould is used on the quick ram machine, its punching speed could reach 400 times/min, with the total service life extending over 1.2 billion punching times. (5) Powder metallurgy mould. Supported by the biggest domestic manufacturers of powde r metallurgy machinery parts and the most up-to-date international numerical control equipment, Ningbo-made powder metallurgy moulds could have its maximum precision limited within a tolerance of 0.01 and have a service life of over 0.25 million times, almost at the same level with the international standard. The powder metallurgy moulds produced in Ningbo have been sold to Japan, Korea and other European and American countries, and these moulds are quite welcome in the similar industrial fields due to their long service life, high quality and good precision. (III) Advantages for development of the Ningbo mould industry Throughout decades of development and under the great support from the government, the Ningbo mould industry has fostered conspicuous competitive advantages in terms of product quality, price, aggregation effect and environment: 1. Advantages in quality and price Ningbo has already been capable of manufacturing the precision casting mould, heavy castings, precision compression mould, progressive mould, plastic mould and powder metallurgy mould, which are quite ahead by contrast to the similar products in the domestic market in terms of precision, structure and service life, thus enjoying a certain reputation domestically. Besides, the mould production cost is relatively lower in Ningbo, with the average selling price being only 1/5 or even 1/6 that of the Korea-made ones, and 1/10 that of the U.S-made ones, which is quite conducive to the expanded exports of Ningbo moulds by finding the matching international prestigious enterprises, thus opening up the mould export market for Ningbo. 2. Advantages in the industry aggregation The development of the mould bases has enabled various local regions to have preliminarily built a mould industry chain based on mutual coordination, laying a solid foundation for the further restructuring work and the promotion of industry aggregation. Ningbo has won quite a lot of titles, including “China Mould Manufacturing Base”, “China Light Industry Mould Manufacturing Base”, “China Mould Town”, “Compression Mould Town”, “Plastic Mould Town”, and “Casting Mould Town” which are then particularly featured by the title of “Ningbo-China Mould City”, thus offering Ningbo an extraordinary propaganda chance to expand its mould market during the “Eleventh Five-year Plan” period. 3. Advantages in the development environment With a unique geographical and policy environment and a developed economy, Ningbo is quite attractive to foreign funds and nongovernmental funds. Both domestic and international well-known processing equipment, toolholding device, tools, instrumentation, manufacturing technology, materials and all kinds of software have found their way to Ningbo, which has made it convenient for Ningbo to acquire the latest research findings, update its facilities and improve its technology. This would be extremely beneficial to the improved mould development ability of Ningbo. Ningbo also has a large amount of advantageous export products with a strong demand for the mould industry, such as electromechanical products, ironware products, stationery, automobile parts and lighter, which would significantly promote the development of the Ningbo mould industry. 4. Advantages in industry optimization With the increased efforts in attracting business and funds to Ningbo, a large number of foreign-funded enterprises have stepped into Ningbo. These enterprises have a high requirement in selecting their matching moulds, which would in turn urge Ningbo mould manufacturers to make constant improvements in their products. At the same time, Ningbo is quite appealing to the international mould enterprises, whose coming would bring direct managerial concept and technology adopted by international advanced mould enterprises, thus providing Ningbo with a great opportunity to optimize its mould industry. (IV) The ranking of Ningbo mould industry among its domestic counterparts As an important mould-manufacturing base in China, Ningbo ranks higher among its domestic counterparts. In 2005, Ningbo was conferred the honorary title of “China Mould City” by relevant State department in Ningbo. Ninghai was conferred the title of “China Mould Manufacturing Base” also by certain State department, and Yuyao the “China Light Industry Mould Manufacturing Base”, Beilun the “China Compression Mould Manufacturing Town”, Xiangshan the “Casting Mould Town”, and Yinzhou the “Powder Metallurgy Manufacturing Base” respectively. Ningbo is assuming a leading position in the manufacturing of powder metallurgy mould, casting mould, iron-core electromechanical mould in China, and coming out at the top in terms of the total output of plastic mould across the country. In 2004 and among the 58 mould manufacturers in China whose output has respectively gone beyond 30 million yuan, 9 were in Ningbo; among the 39 mould enterprises whose average per capita output has surpassed 0.2 million yuan, Ningbo had 8, and the same figure has risen up to 27 in 2005. And between 2003-2005, 38 out of the 166 enterprises throughout the country that could enjoy the preferential policy of 70% VAT refund were also in Ningbo.
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