After more than 700 unsuccessful attempts, Liao Xi and his colleagues developed a stainless steel precision strip that is just 0.02 mm thick. They then improved it to the level of 0.015 mm, or less than one-fifth of the thickness of a sheet of copy paper.
Liao is a 35-year-old technician with China Baowu Taigang Stainless Steel Precision Strip Co., Ltd. Though his major at college -- mechanical design -- could not help much, he and his colleagues achieved technological breakthroughs one after another, thanks to their spirit of innovation, persistence and self-reliance.
China used to rely completely on imports in ultra-thin steel strips. When Liao began to work in 2012, the company could hardly produce the 0.3-mm steel precision strip. In 2016, Liao and his colleagues focused more on research and development, hoping to realize domestic substitution of the type of steel strip.
Now, the company is the leader in China to produce ultra-thin steel. The "hand-tearable" steel strip is a necessity for high-end manufacturing such as mobile phones, aviation and nuclear power.
"Our ultra-thin steel strip has been developed from scratch to the thinnest in the world," Liao said. The ultra-thin steel of his company has been exported to countries including the United States and Japan.
Saturday marks International Workers' Day and the beginning of a five-day holiday. But Liao and other workers will have to work in the factory as many orders are due.
Workers like Liao in various fields have been promoting the spirit of dedication, innovation and craftsmanship as China pursues high-quality growth.
At the Mutianyu section of the Great Wall in Beijing, the holiday makes cable car operators even busier. Besides monitoring cable car operation, they also need to remind tourists to keep social distance, wear masks and abide by COVID-19 epidemic control regulations.
"The number of tourists this year is expected to be one and a half times higher than that of the same period last year," said Hu Jingbo, technical operation manager of Beijing Mutianyu Great Wall cable car service company.
"When others enjoy the holiday, we ensure their safety," said Hu, who has been working in the cable car service for 30 years and is training young operators.
Medical workers have also shown their dedication amid the COVID-19 prevention and control. At 7 a.m. Saturday, Jiang Hui began preparing for his routine work -- providing COVID-19 vaccinations for residents at a temporary site in southern Beijing.
Jiang, chief of the preventive health care department at a hospital in Yinghai Township in Beijing's Daxing District, has been working at the frontline of the COVID-19 control and prevention since last year.
He has been promoting public awareness of the importance of vaccination over the years. "People's awareness of vaccination has been growing," he said.
Liao, the technician, has participated in the research and development of more than 20 kinds of new stainless steel materials. He has also joined three of the company's research teams on new products and techniques targeting the high-end market.
"To achieve new success, we must carry forward the spirit of dedication and craftsmanship," he said.