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Tiny pen nib plays big role in China’s manufacturing

Updated: Jan 9,2017 5:51 PM

China has recently made a major achievement in being able to produce its own ballpoint pen nib.

The tiny component had been a great challenge for domestic pen producers for a long time.

Last January, Premier Li Keqiang urged pen production companies to take the responsibility in producing a “made in China” pen nib. “Despite the huge number of pens produced and consumed in China each year, the Chinese pen industry still relies on imports for its core technology and material,” said the Premier.

According to the CEO of Beifa Group, a Chinese stationery manufacturer, China imports 1,000 tons of steel from Switzerland and Japan each year to make pen nibs at a cost of $15 million, and the purchased materials are later put in a piece of Swiss-made equipment for over 20 different procedures to make the final pen nibs, measuring one-thousandth of a millimeter.

To make breakthroughs in this particular field, China initiated a key project in 2011.

Wang Huimian, a senior engineer from the technology center at TISCO group, said the crucial part was to find the right proportion of the trace elements’ volume. “Without any reference, we made great efforts in accumulating data, adjusting variables and designing methods.”

After five years of experiments and failures, TISCO group finally achieved success in producing “made in China” pen nibs.

The pen nibs are now being used by stationery enterprises and are expected to completely replace imported ones in the next two years.

This success has an implication on “made in China” products, that even a tiny pen nib can play a key role in inspiring the innovative spirit in domestic production.