“We will study and analyze one by one which industries are our strengths, which are our weaknesses, and how to make up for them. The final plan will focus on 15 types of new materials with foundation and potential in our province.” Recently, the Special Plan for the Development of New Materials Industry in Shandong Province (2018-2022) (hereinafter referred to as the “Plan”) was issued, Liang Zhenjiang, director of the Raw Material Industry Division of the Department of Industry and Information Technology of Shandong Province, said the core content of the plan. As one of the top three domestic new material industries in terms of revenue, Shandong has the ambition to hit the target of two trillion yuan on the basis of the existing 877.6 billion output value through the new policy, aiming at the pain points, implementing precise policies and making targeted efforts.
“The Planning comes at the right time.” Dong Huomin, director of the New Materials Research Institute of the Shandong Academy of Sciences, told the reporter of Science and Technology Daily, “The New Deal provides an important opportunity for the new material industry in Shandong Province to accelerate the transformation of new and old kinetic energy and achieve transformation and upgrading.”
Break the “big but not strong” and seek benefits from the industrial chain
“Large but not strong” has always been the “heartache” of Shandong, a big province of new materials.
According to statistics, in 2017, there were 1665 new material enterprises above designated size in Shandong Province, with the main revenue of 877.6 billion yuan, ranking the top three in the country. However, the reality of “big but not strong” has always troubled Shandong people. For example, the intensive and deep processing is insufficient, the supply structure dominated by primary processing products has not been fundamentally improved, the proportion of terminal products, brand-name products and high-end products is not high, and the output of some new materials ranks among the top in the world, but the industrial chain is generally short, and the upstream, middle and downstream industrial cooperation and supporting capacity is not strong.
Dong Huomin believes that the importance of the new material industry to Shandong Province lies in: on the one hand, as the first comprehensive experimental zone for the transformation of new and old kinetic energy in China, Shandong needs more or less technical support from new materials in the ten major industrial fields involved in the Implementation Plan for the Transformation of New and Old Kinetic Energy in Shandong Province, especially in strategic emerging industries; On the other hand, Shandong’s traditional industries are large in scale, some industries have overcapacity, and the constraints of resources, energy, and environment are increasingly intensifying. It is urgent to vigorously develop the new material industry and cultivate new economic growth points and competitive advantages.
As the first special plan for the new material industry issued by Shandong Province, “lengthening the industrial chain” has become the core keyword in the three major directions of cutting-edge new materials, key strategic materials and advanced basic materials supported by the Plan.
Silver white light metal aluminum is a traditional material, but in Zouping City, Shandong Province, aluminum is no longer traditional aluminum. The addition of technology has turned it into high-value-added cans, high-tech aerospace profiles, thin and exquisite medical sealing foil… Zouping Aluminum’s “seventy-two changes” is a typical attempt of Shandong New Materials to seek benefits from the industrial chain.
We should pay close attention to the “three major items”, and we should not lose one
The use of magnesium materials with a density of only 2/3 of aluminum alloy and 2/9 of steel is considered as one of the directions of vehicle body lightweight. After overcoming the five core technical problems, the world’s first magnesium alloy lightweight electric bus was launched in Shandong. Taking “magnesium” as the selling point, this electric bus is the representative work of the Institute of New Materials, Shandong Academy of Sciences, and is also one of the key directions supported by the Plan.
For any plan, focusing on everything is equal to not focusing on anything. It must have clear priorities and focus. From a big province of new materials to a strong province of new materials, which direction is the decisive factor? Academician Gan Yong, director of the National Expert Advisory Committee for the Development of New Materials Industry and former vice president of the Chinese Academy of Engineering, once proposed three major directions, namely, cutting-edge new materials, key strategic materials and advanced basic materials.
Now, these three blocks appear in the Plan as “the direction and focus of industrial development”.
Graphene with special nanostructures and excellent physical and chemical properties is known as the “king of new materials”. Shandong, with its natural advantages, has a long history of layout in the field of graphene. For example, Qingdao is one of the three major producers of natural graphite in China, accounting for about 1/3 of the country’s annual output, and mainly produces flake graphite with the largest industrial value. At present, the graphene industry in Qingdao, Jinan and Jining has formed a “tripartite balance”, which is also the key to Shandong’s occupying the commanding point of the future new material industry competition.
How to strengthen the cutting-edge new materials represented by graphene? The Plan proposes that extending the industrial chain, advancing to the high-end and increasing added value are the top priority.
At the same time, the Plan proposes to build a “Shandong brand” for key strategic materials characterized by “complex technology and technology, shared by military and civilian”; With advanced basic materials characterized by large quantity, wide range and universal foundation, the Plan proposes to upgrade the technical level internally and improve the market coverage ability externally to maintain the leading position in the industry.
Precise efforts to implement five special projects
In the competition of the new material industry, who can laugh last?
The key message given in the Planning is that the industrial chain is the king, and the high-end one wins the world. But how can we ensure that the industrial chain is formed and the products are on the high end?
The Plan proposes to focus on the four key elements of talents, enterprises, projects and parks, and implement five new material special projects, including talent intelligence cultivation project, project innovation demonstration project, leading enterprise cultivation project, characteristic cluster expansion project, and quality standard improvement project, so as to accurately develop.
Dong Huomin said: “These five projects are not separated, but are intrinsically linked. The five major engineering systems are relatively interconnected, highlighting the importance of technological innovation. A number of innovative achievements are obtained through the implementation of talents and project projects, and the transformation and landing of innovative achievements are realized through the implementation of enterprise projects; a number of characteristic industries are formed through the implementation of clusters and quality projects, and the upgrading of the new material industry is realized.”
With the new policy, people with new materials have more expectations. Dong Huomin’s hope is that, “We hope that the new material industry in Shandong Province will strengthen technological innovation and industry-university-research cooperation, enhance the sense of urgency of development, aim at the weaknesses and pain points in the fields of cutting-edge new materials, key strategic materials, and key basic materials, focus on high-level talents, development policies, capital and other advantageous resources, highlight key areas, break through key technologies, extend the industrial chain, achieve effective agglomeration of the new material industry, and form a coordinated innovation system for supporting upstream and downstream products, Make the new material industry bigger, stronger and better “.