A legend written by the hottest glass filament in

2022-08-03
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A legend written by a "glass fiber" in China

2016, people put forward the concept of optical fiber communication for half a century

2016, 40 years have passed since Chinese researchers started to pull out leading optical fibers by "indigenous methods"

an optical fiber with thick and thin hair can accommodate 4.8 billion people worldwide to talk at the same time from laboratory products; An industry from scratch has been introduced from a complete set to an annual output of thousands of times around the world, creating a number of "leading enterprises" in the global optical fiber industry, and participating in the formulation of international standards for the industry. Optical fiber and its industry have written a wonderful Chinese legend

the story must start from Wuhan, which is known as the "thoroughfare of nine provinces"

legend of "father of optical fiber in China": several electric stoves plus flasks, and the laboratory next to the toilet pulled out China's leading optical fiber

in a laboratory transformed from a cleaning room of Wuhan Research Institute of Posts and telecommunications, a 17 meter long glass filament, China's leading quartz fiber, flows slowly through zhaozisen's hands. Detection instrument: optical fiber short wave length 0. 85 mm, according to the unit of light attenuation, the attenuation is 300 dB per kilometer, up to the standard

few people realize that this is the beginning of a legend, including zhaozisen, an academician of the Chinese Academy of engineering, who was later called the "father of China's optical fiber"

nowadays, people who are no longer laymen in the communication industry also know about optical fiber. What kind of material is optical fiber? "It's quartz. In other words, it's the same material as glass," said zhaozisen, who is 84 years old but still hale and hearty

zhaozisen did not focus on optical fiber communication from the beginning. In the early 1970s, the national scientific research project "laser atmospheric transmission communication" undertaken by zhaozisen as the technical director achieved success. The leader was very happy, but zhaozisen was not happy. "When it rains and snows, atmospheric transmission and communication will be 'stopped' instead of 'all-weather'."

at the end of 1972, zhaozisen was the first to hear that the United States was studying "optical fiber communication" -- using glass fiber for communication. He was keenly aware that optical fiber communication had great prospects in the future, and proposed to develop the scientific research project of "optical fiber communication"

In May, 1973, zhaozisen participated in the National Post and telecommunications research planning meeting, where he visited professor QianWeichang of Tsinghua University who had just returned from a visit to the United States with a delegation of Chinese scientists. He learned that the research on optical fiber communication in the United States has made a breakthrough, and the attenuation of quartz optical fiber has been reduced to less than 4 dB per kilometer

at that time, the communication transmission relied on copper cables, and the propagation distance could only reach 100 meters. For longer distances, it was necessary to continue the signal through the relay station. In the United States, the transmission attenuation of optical fiber is much lower than that of copper wire, and the propagation distance reaches thousands of meters

realizing that time waits for no man, zhaozisen wrote the report on developing optical fiber in August 1974, and made a detailed report to the Ministry of Posts and telecommunications and the science and Technology Office of the State Council

the "glass filament" that we are used to now sounded like a fantasy in those days. How can glass fiber communicate? Zhaozisen recalled that at that time, some leaders told him at a meeting of dozens of people: "zhaozisen, don't fool around. It will cost tens of millions. Can you be responsible?"

from the very beginning, there was strong opposition from the Ministry of Posts and telecommunications, Wuhan academy of postal Sciences and Beijing Academy of postal sciences. Fortunately, with the support of some leaders who understand science and technology, optical fiber communication has been launched. In 1974, the science and Technology Office of the State Council agreed to list the optical fiber project as a national project

the project has been established, but it is also an "optional small project". At the beginning, zhaozisen got very little money and had a research and development team of several people. The hospital allocated zhaozisen a small cleaning room. The room that hasn't been cleared in time is at the corner of the stairs, next to the toilet. Next to the wall is a row of sinks with sevenoreight faucets. On the table in the middle of the room, there are some bottles and cans scattered

zhaozisen's -- also China's "optical fiber journey" started like this

what if there is no smelting lathe and no wire drawing machine? If foreign countries are not available, local laws should be adopted and copied in accordance with foreign scientific and technological documents. Several electric furnaces, several flasks and a waste lathe were the core equipment for optical fiber drawing at that time

the first step to pull out the optical fiber is to smelt a qualified quartz glass rod. This is a dangerous experiment. A little carelessness will cause an explosion. In one experiment, the gas pipeline suddenly leaked, and silicon tetrachloride rushed out. When it came into contact with the air, it immediately became highly toxic chlorine and hydrochloric acid, which rushed into Zhao Zisen's eyes and mouth, where the total sales of the top five enterprises accounted for only 10.2% of the total sales of domestic biomedical materials. He immediately fainted to the ground. Fortunately, my colleagues sent me to hospital in time, otherwise the consequences would be unimaginable. "In conducting scientific research, we should also dare to risk our lives." Recalling the scene at that time, zhaozisen said calmly

a scientific research project is also inextricably linked to the overall strength of a country. Take the smelting lathe used as optical fiber preform as an example. Because the core components are exposed to high acid substances, the corrosion problem cannot be solved, so the accuracy cannot be guaranteed. "At that time, there was no stainless steel in China. I, zhaozisen, could not make steel. This is the problem of China's industrial foundation." Talking about the difficulties at that time, the old academician was very emotional

In 1979, zhaozisen's team finally produced China's leading optical fiber with practical value and a loss of only 4 dB per kilometer

In 1982, he and his colleagues developed, designed, installed and opened an 8m/s optical cable local telephone communication project. China is the leading practical optical fiber communication line across the three towns of Wuhan

the data transmission volume measured by hundreds of billions of bytes per second from millions of bytes per second to now starts from several electric furnaces and several flasks

1980, Kao Kun, the "father of optical fiber" in the world and a Chinese scientist, visited Wuhan Institute of postal Sciences and saw China's optical fiber communication technology for the first time. At that time, Kao Kun said "surprise", and it was zhaozisen who introduced him at the scene

Changfei's "take-off legend": from the European socket to the world record

Wuhan Optical Valley, in the drawing workshop of Changfei optical fiber and cable Co., Ltd., a transparent quartz round rod with a material ratio of 20 cm in diameter and 3 m in length, the world's largest preform, glows under the high temperature of more than 2000 ℃. After the wire drawing tower, the optical fiber with the thickness of hair leaps out lightly, and a light rod can pull out the optical fiber for 7500km

in 2015, the length of optical fiber and cable that Changfei "flew" from such a drawing tower can circle the earth more than 3000 times, and the sales of optical fiber surpassed that of the United States for the first time, and both of them took the lead in the world with the production of preforms. In 2016, Changfei still maintained its leading edge. The world optical fiber and cable industry, once dominated by the United States and followed by Japan and Europe, must add the name of China

the factory building of Changfei company has a wind leaf shape on the building plane, which still retains the imprint of Dutch architecture in the windmill country. Many offices in the factory have roughened walls, and the plug-in boards and jacks on the walls are of European double column system

"power converter is required for charging." Talking about the development of the company, Yan Changzhen, vice president of Changfei, who has worked for more than 20 years, pointed to the foreign mark left by this leading optical fiber joint venture in China, and opened the conversation

In the 1980s, at the beginning of reform and opening up, various infrastructure construction has just started, especially the development of the communication industry. Due to the weak industrial foundation, domestic optical fiber is still in the research and development stage, which is difficult to achieve large-scale production, and is far from meeting the needs of large-scale trunk line construction. Even the national defense trunk line that is related to the lifeline is still dominated by copper wire. To solve the signal attenuation, we can only add a signal amplifier after some mileage. "That's why the communication mileage basically depended on shouting as soon as it was far away," recalls Yan Changhui, who was still working in the army's communication department at that time

to change the backward situation of communication industry and develop optical communication, we can only rely on the introduction. After several rounds of negotiations, American Corning, Japan Telecom and some European optical fiber manufacturers all said: buy our products, no problem; It is not necessary to engage in industry with you Chinese. Only Philips of the Netherlands is willing to do some technology transfer

In May, 1988, the Ministry of Posts and telecommunications, Wuhan city and Philips of the Netherlands jointly established Changfei company. At that time, Yan Changhe took off his military uniform and became a "business engineer" of Changfei, that is, a salesperson who knew the technology. "Each province should start from the most basic popularization of optical fiber knowledge."

everything starts from scratch

"it's good for us to double our salary." Yan said. For enterprises, they have paid a huge price because they do not have their own technology. The whole negotiation process lasted four years from the option in 1984 to the start of the company

"market for technology" is an old story for many industries in China, including the optical fiber manufacturing industry. Changfei, which has just been established, has only 100 employees and annual sales of less than 100 million yuan. The optical fiber manufacturing equipment and technology are all from abroad. The company can only produce optical fibers according to the standards and specifications designed by the foreign party

"at that time, all core equipment, screws and accessories needed to be imported." Yan clearly remembers that when he purchased the accessories, the other party clearly told him that the accessories were purchased on the basis of 25% of the profits, "but there is no way. I have to buy him because I have no other choice."

the backward level of equipment manufacturing has left little room for "negotiation". The input of imported equipment accounts for more than 60% of the total investment. Compared with overseas giants, the products have little cost and technical competitiveness. In 2000, Changfei company, which was not powerful at that time, made up its mind and began to independently develop equipment

"5% of annual sales is devoted to R & D, which must be spent. There is only a lower limit, but no upper limit!" Wangruichun, general manager of Changfei R & D center, said

10 years of hardships, Changfei has finally realized the independent R & D and production of a complete set of optical fiber equipment. In 2010, it conquered the independent design and development of prefabrication bar equipment with the highest technical content

2016, through nearly three years' efforts, Changfei gnawed down the details of the flexural strength test of a hard bone concrete block, overcame the technical difficulties of UV curing, an important process in the preform drawing project, and greatly reduced the energy consumption. The annual production of 70million kilometers of optical fiber, the service life of the new UV curing equipment is four times that of the imported equipment, but the cost is only half of that of the imported equipment

the development of new production equipment, the integration of information technology and the transformation of automatic production lines have greatly improved the production efficiency. The drawing speed of the drawing tower has also jumped from 2000 m/min to 3000 m/min, which is the highest speed of optical fiber drawing in the world at present

Yan Changzhen said that with the same equipment, Changfei can produce 50% more and "reduce the cost by 10%"

today, in the highly automated production workshop, Changfei is cooperating with Liaoning Xinsong robot company to further optimize and upgrade the automated production process. "This is a pilot project of 'smart' made in China in our company." Changfei Gong

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