May 1 Labor Medal winner Shen Fei has helped advance the country's manufacturing sector.
May 1 Labor Medal laureate Shen Fei said he hopes his passion for work, vigorous mind and nimble hands can help to train more young skilled workers to develop the nation's manufacturing.
The All-China Federation of Trade Unions recently announced this year's May 1 Labor Medal winners, listing 966 workers in manufacturing, food delivery and ride-hailing, as well as migrant workers.
Shen won because of his craftsmanship and innovation in wheel production at Magang Group under China Baowu Steel Group in Ma'anshan, Anhui province.
The 44-year-old joined Magang after graduating from vocational school at age 17.
"It was a very good job admired by other people back then because the iron-and-steel industry was promising in the 1990s," he recalled.
"I worked for the iron-making part at first. Later, I made wheels."
He said he loves the job with all of his heart, although he sometimes has to pull long hours.
He worked without breaks to fill surging orders from 2009 to 2012. He assumed responsibility for upgrading products from 2015 to 2018.
Shen now not only produces wheels but also new methods for manufacturing them.
"My mission is to turn blueprints into actual products," he said.
In 2018, Magang planned to relocate and upgrade some of its equipment.
Shen and his colleagues volunteered to undertake this complicated task and had to work around the clock to move and debug the machines.
One problem was that the algorithm for a part of the tires didn't match the actual wheels. So, he used actual wheels to identify the miscalculation and adjust the system, through several rounds of trial and error.
His professionalism and persistence won respect from the software engineers.
In 2016, Shen and his team tackled problems they encountered in producing bullet-train wheels.
"The wheels should stay balanced during high-speed rotations, which requires extreme precision during production," he said.
"My team and I spent about three months optimizing the production techniques and found that decentralized manufacturing procedures may have been the cause of the imbalances since every tiny imprecision may lead to a relatively big problem."
Shen's versatility compensates for a shortage of machines.
"I'm proud of two things. One is that customers recognize the quality of the products I make. The other is that I've seen my mostly young team members advance," he said.
"I'm very happy that one earned the highly skilled worker certificate at age 27. This makes me feel that the industry has a very promising future."
Shen has mentored newcomers and vocational-school students since 2010 and had helped train over 700 people from Anhui as of the end of 2021.
About 10 of his students have won prizes in skills competitions and eight have been awarded labor medals from their companies or Ma'anshan city.
"I've witnessed improvements in the speed and quality of wheel production over the past 20-plus years," Shen said.
"This progress represents the development of the country, which has grown into a manufacturing powerhouse. I'm grateful for this era and my company, which have provided opportunities to hone my talent."
He plans to continue this career until retirement.
"I believe the standards for being a skilled worker are higher than for a college graduate," he said.
"You need specialized knowledge, and a nimble mind and hands. I will continue to apply my passion and train more young skilled workers. Youth will propel future development."