From Imitation to Surpassing: 24 Years of a Domestically Produced Frequency Converter 丨Secrets of a Little Giant ②

By Ma Mengfei, The Cover


On May 20, the No. 3 production workshop of Hope SLANVERT Technology Corp., Ltd. (hereinafter referred to as "Hope SLANVERT") in Shuangliu District, Chengdu, was busy.

Before entering the factory building, a noisy sound of the wind turbine running could already be heard. Huge "iron boxes" filled factories, which were the high-voltage frequency converters produced by the corporation. On the side of the testing line, 5 high-voltage frequency converters were undergoing full power testing, which were ordered by a company in Chengdu and woud be used for dust removal in a steel factory.

Frequency converter is an indispensable power control device in the daily life and industrial production. Imported frequency converters began to pour into the country in the 1980s. In 1998, Hope SLANVERT was established in Chengdu, becoming one of the first enterprises engaged in the frequency converter industry in China.

Over the past 24 years, this enterprise has grown with the domestic frequency converter; starting from scratch, now it has achieved excellence. From a "little-known" small company to today's specialized new "Little Giant" enterprise, what is the secret behind this? When asked, He Jianbo, general manager of Hope SLANVERT, did not hesitate: "We have focused on one thing for 24 years: making the best energy-saving and transmission control system in China and pushing 'Made in Chengdu' to the world.”

He Jianbo, general manager of Hope SLANVERT

R&D for the “vitamin” of modern industry

In 1998, Hope SLANVERT was founded. Like most Chinese companies in that era, Hope SLANVERT also took many detours in the development process and experienced many upheavals.

The market for frequency converter is huge, so the competition is fierce, and all kinds of motors need it, so it is also called "industrial vitamins". This device seems to be far from daily life, but it is actually closely related to the lives of thousands of families.

In the 1980s, there were no domestic converter-related technologies and products in the domestic market. In the late 1980s, imported products, especially the Japanese brands began to pour into the Chinese market. China's frequency converter industry started late, and in the early stage of the development, compared with imported brands, reliability was low. Therefore, frequency converter market was dominated by imported brands.

Not until the development of the industry to the general and high voltage frequency conversion stage was the domestic brand technology greatly improved, more mature, and the field for application broader.

Nowadays, domestic frequency converters have been widely used in municipal administration, electric power, non-ferrous metals, equipment manufacturing, petroleum and petrochemical, rail transit, new energy and other industries. But behind the prosperity, a group of Chinese companies represented by Hope SLANVERT have made a difficult breakthrough.

At present, Hope SLANVERT has transformed from selling a single product to providing general solutions for the industry. Over the years, the enterprise has laid out the integrated energy service market in the industrial automation industry, and established an energy-saving service corporation aiming at offering “service for the entire life cycle for all the brands", which quickly occupied a place in the market.

Buying a full range of competitors’ products to research

After years of development, the first SLANVERT frequency converter hit the market in 1998, making Hope SLANVERT one of the first Chinese enterprises engaged in the frequency converter industry. At that time, the development of domestic brands was plagued with difficulties, such as backward technology, shortage of funds, and lack of key components... All these were directly reflected in the poor market share, and the gap with imported products was huge.

At the beginning of its establishment, Hope SLANVERT put forward the brand positioning and slogan of "catching up to international brands" and "leading domestic brands". With this goal in mind, the corporation began a difficult road to break through.

It's hard to break through, what to do? Buying all the products of competitors back and studying them. "It's like studying a piece of clothing: how is the neckline designed, why is the clasp in this position, what is the material?" He Jianbo used this metaphor.

On the other hand, the corporation increased investment in innovation and R&D. Under the leadership of Liu Yongyan, chairman of the Group, the domestic frequency conversion equipment with independent intellectual property rights - SLANVERT frequency converter was born. Even with the product becoming available, the team was still aware that in the state of saturation of foreign products, it was very difficult for domestic frequency converters to open up the market. What to do now?

After research, Hope SLANVERT set a promotion strategy: from coast to inland, from point to area, and then to the whole country. After 24 years of development, the SLANVERT products have entered more than 80 industries and served more than 100,000 clients. The speed control products created by the corporation have won the gold medal of China Patent Technology Expo, China famous brand, China well-known trademark, the first prize of Sichuan Province Science and Technology Progress Award and so on.

As a leader in the fields of energy conservation and environmental protection, transmission control, new energy and intelligent equipment, the development process of Hope SLANVERT is also the epitome of the development trajectory of China's transmission control industry.

Rise against the trend in the pandemic

Fast forward to 2020, a sudden pandemic made a huge impact on many industries, and Hope SLANVERT was no exception. For Hope SLANVERT, the first thing was that travel was restricted, but many negotiations for projects had to be done in person and on site, which cut off part of the business. The second was due to the logistics outage, some places became inaccessible, but the frequency converter could only be transported through logistics. The last factor was regional control. In areas seriously affected by the pandemic, the business of subsidiaries often came to a halt.

But on the other hand, the pandemic also brought opportunities, "we finally have enough time to practice 'internal force'." He Jianbo said that after work, the coporation launched a "big competition" on the production line, excellent employee speech forums, online meetings and training and other activities so that everyone is full of confidence in the corporation's development and pandemic prevention and control.

Thanks to both internal and external factors, the corporation's profit this year increased compared with the same period last year.

"We have a great Hope SLANVERT dream." At the end of the interview, He Jianbo said with a smile that after years of technical accumulation, the corporation has now reached a stage of fast and high-quality development, and I believe that in the near future, the corporation will usher in a period of rapid development.

(Images and some videos provided by the interviewee)

Editor: Zhang Qin

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