Machinetool industry China: 20 Years machine tool

Author / Editor: Zhang Shu of Tongji University / Lisa Saller, Lisa Saller |

Looking back over 20 years, what has changed for Chinese manufacturing industry, and what will change in the future. 10-year golden period of development of machine tool industry in China is an important representative of them.

i5 T3.3 CNC Intelligent Lathe of Shenyang Machine Tool Group
i5 T3.3 CNC Intelligent Lathe of Shenyang Machine Tool Group
(Photo: MM China)

The machine tool is a machine to manufacturing the machine, and is the core of modern manufacturing industry. In 1996, China produced only 8100 sets of CNC machine tool, and most of them are the simple CNC lathes and linear cutting machine. Since 21st century, the state started to implement the strategy to revitalize the equipment manufacturing industry, and listed the development of large, sophisticated, high-speed CNC equipment and CNC system as well as functional parts as one of 16 focused areas of revitalization.


Shenyang, Beijing No.1, Dalian and other large state-owned machine tool groups in China seized the opportunity firstly, met the challenges, entered the world stage, merged some world-renowned machine tool enterprises, such as Schiess, Waldrich-Coburg, Zimmermann, etc., moved out of the downtown, built the new plants to expand the production base, and established the world-class modern machine tool manufacturing enterprises. After completion of relocation and technological transformation, these large machine tool enterprises carried out the product upgrading work vigorously and achieved the remarkable results. For example, Shenyang Machine Tool Group researched and developed independently the CNC machine tool as the dominant product.

Golden period of development

The huge machine tool market in China makes the global machine tool enterprises be endless longing, especially since entering the golden period of development. The foreign well-known machine tool enterprises, such as DMG, GFAC, Mazak, Makino, HAAS, etc., have not been satisfied with the joint venture cooperation production mode, and built the factories in the form of sole proprietorship in China successively to produce the machine tool adapting to the demands of China’s market. The wholly foreign owned enterprises not only produced the advanced machine tool products in China, but also brought the new business management concept and mode to form the win-win situation of tripartite confrontation and three kingdoms by the state-owned, private and foreign enterprises.

Future trend

The intelligent manufacturing is the vision of future manufacturing industry. For machine tool, it should have two basic characteristics: the first is the perception of status of machine tool and its key parts, such as vibration, temperature rise, displacement, etc. Various sensors are embedded in the structure of machine tool and parts to monitor the machining conditions and “health” status. The second is mutual communication between human and machine, machine and machine. The machine tool CNC system is not only the motion controller, but also a node of factory network. It realized the real-time communication among the workshop management system, material flow management, customer and machine tool to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of use of machine tool.

Looking forward to the future, Chinese manufacturing will go to the next level, and step forward the powerful manufacturing country from the large manufacturing country. The upgrading of machine room products must be preferred by the world.