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NMS Figures | 37 Years of Struggle: “I” and the Company Growing Together


On January 2nd, Nanchang Mineral Systems Co., Ltd. (hereinafter referred to as “NMS”) held the “Saluting the Years, Honoring Excellence – Retirement Banquet for Mr. Wenlong Chen.” During the banquet, Shunshan Li, the Chairman of NMS, presented a retirement honor certificate to Mr. Wenlong Chen. Shunshan Li fully recognized and sincerely thanked Mr. Wenlong Chen for his contributions to the company over the years.

Stories of NMS Individuals

Wenlong Chen, Professor-level Senior Engineer, formerly served as the Chief Technologist at the R&D Center of NMS and the Deputy General Manager at Jiangxi Gold Intelligent Service Engineering Co., Ltd., a subsidiary of NMS.

From being a naive “rookie” to a technical “expert,” from a college student to a corporate executive, the thirty-seven years have swiftly passed in the hustle and bustle of time.

1.First University Graduate Employee at NMS

Born in Yongxin County, Jian City, Jiangxi Province, Wenlong Chen is the eldest among three siblings in his family. Excelling in exams, he secured the top spot in the county’s high school entrance examination that year. Through a fortunate twist of fate, he was admitted to Jilin Polytechnic University (now Jilin University) and pursued a degree in Mining Machinery within the Department of Engineering Machinery. This made him one of the sought-after university students at that time.

In July 1987, Wenlong Chen graduated from university. That year, there were three mechanical units in Nanchang with plans to increase their workforce. Jiangxi Provincial Department of Machinery unified their employment needs and submitted them to Jilin Polytechnic University. According to the distribution system for graduates, Wenlong Chen eventually chose to join Nanchang Mining Machinery Factory (formerly known as NMS), a local state-owned (public) enterprise at that time. Thus, Wenlong Chen became the first university graduate officially recruited by NMS, marking the beginning of his 37-year journey with the company.

Reflecting on the day he reported for duty, Wenlong Chen still vividly remembers the experience. In July, carrying his bedding, he traveled from Jilin to Nanchang on a green train for more than 40 hours and then took a 1.5-hour bus ride to reach the entrance of Nanchang Mining Machinery Factory. Wenlong Chen was assigned to live in a room on the fourth floor of a dormitory building, sharing it with two others. The room had no electric fan, and they relied on natural ventilation to beat the summer heat. Unable to endure the intense heat, everyone resorted to sleeping on the floor.

At that time, Nanchang Mining Machinery Factory was a designated backbone enterprise for crushing and washing equipment by the Ministry of Machinery and the Ministry of Coal, a member unit of the China Accountants of Machinery Equipment-Projects of Complete Plants. The factory had just over 100 employees and collaborated with state-owned enterprises and associations to process products based on allocated drawings and fulfill assigned tasks.

After interning in the workshop for 7-8 months, Wenlong Chen was assigned to the technical department to work on vibrating screen-related tasks. During that era, technology was relatively backward, and photocopiers were scarce. Wenlong Chen had to manually draw blueprints. After verification and error correction, he would trace and expose the drawings. Exposing involved covering the completed blueprint on special photosensitive paper, fumigating it with ammonia, and areas without lines fading, leaving the original blue color, thus creating what was known as a blueprint.”At first, I couldn’t adapt. The factory was very small, the environment was poor, and the technical content of the products was not high. There were only two technicians, and I felt there was no promising future. To be honest, I thought about leaving. However, later on, I gradually adapted. The enterprise also improved over time, and without realizing it, I have been working here until now.”

2.Creating Value, Witnessing Transformation

In the 1990s, addressing the pain points in the use of screening machines, Wenlong Chen personally designed and developed a secondary isolation frame. This innovation effectively reduces the impact on the foundation during the operation of the screening machine, lowers operational noise, and extends the equipment’s lifespan. Later, this invention was widely applied in major projects, creating significant economic and social benefits. This is just a small glimpse of how he utilizes professional expertise to solve application problems for products.

Wenlong Chen Conducting On-Site Project Research

According to Wenlong Chen’s recollection, about 4 to 5 years after he joined, Nanchang Mining Machinery Factory once again recruited over ten college graduates. In 1993, Youliang Gong (current President of NMS) became the factory director of Nanchang Mining Machinery Factory. He set his sights on the hydropower market and successfully secured nearly 90% of the screening equipment market share for the Three Gorges Project. This achievement established Nanchang Mining Machinery Factory’s screening equipment as a prominent player in the domestic water conservancy and hydropower systems, making an indelible contribution.However, facing the dual challenges of institutional constraints and a sluggish market, the enterprise fell into a vicious cycle. Workers’ enthusiasm waned, and despite having orders, the company struggled to deliver on time, reaching a point where salaries couldn’t be paid. Just at this critical juncture, the national government issued relevant documents about enterprise restructuring, bringing a glimmer of hope to the struggling Nanchang Mining Machinery Factory.In 2003, with the assistance of the government and in accordance with the issued documents, Nanchang Mining Machinery Factory successfully underwent restructuring. It transitioned from a state-owned large collective enterprise to a private joint-stock enterprise and was renamed “Nanchang Mineral Systems Co., Ltd.”

After the restructuring, the core personnel and backbone of the enterprise held shares. Led by cadres and with a new sense of responsibility, the employees’ spirit underwent a complete transformation. There was a significant change in mindset from “not knowing who they were working for” to “working for themselves.” More than 50 people began to work with great enthusiasm. In the year of restructuring (2003), the enterprise’s output value reached over 20 million yuan, four times more than the output value in 2002. Wenlong Chen’s salary also increased fourfold compared to before the restructuring. Later, under the leadership of  Shunshan Li (current Chairman of NMS), who had experience working in design institutes and foreign enterprises, and with a technical background and advanced ideas, the enterprise entered a stage of positive and rapid development.

After the improvement in the enterprise’s operations, NMS began acquiring modern office tools such as computers and printers, along with large-scale processing equipment. It was at this point that Wenlong Chen started using computers for drawing and delving into the design of drawings. Before going to bed every day, he would reflect on whether he had made progress that day. If there was some improvement, he would sleep more soundly.

Wenlong Chen Takes a Commemorative Photo in Front of the Eiffel Tower During an Exhibition in France

In 2005, Wenlong Chen went abroad for the first time. Together with General Manager  Youliang Gong (current President of NMS), he attended an equipment exhibition in France to learn and understand advanced foreign technologies, greatly broadening his horizons. In Mongolia, he proposed professional and feasible screening machine selection plans for clients, leading to the successful sale of eight screening machines. In the extreme cold weather of Russia, with temperatures below -50 degrees Celsius, he and his colleagues climbed into equipment to adjust installation precision and conduct new product experiments. Through the experiences of numerous projects and continuous study of theoretical knowledge, Wenlong Chen accumulated rich experience. Under his leadership, the company developed energy-saving vibrating screens, elliptical vibrating screens, and other screening equipment, further enriching the company’s product line and creating personal value. He said, “I often go on business trips. Sometimes, when I go abroad, it can be for one or two months. My family can’t help but complain occasionally, but most of the time, they are very supportive of my work. I am very grateful to my family.”

3.Continuing Glory: Retire but Not Retreat

In April 10, 2023, NMS was listed on the main board of the Shenzhen Stock Exchange, and Wenlong Chen, as an original shareholder, attended the listing appreciation meeting. Reflecting on the day, Wenlong Chen wore a smile on his face, as if the excitement had not faded away. He said, “After the company went public, with the injection of capital, we can do more things. With funds, we can invest more energy into research and development, and attract more outstanding talents. I feel that the future of the company is bright and promising. Going public is a very favorable thing for all shareholders.”

During his 37 years of work in the company, Wenlong Chen has won the provincial and ministerial-level scientific and technological progress award four times, the national-level new product award once, the provincial-level new product award twice, and the municipal-level scientific and technological progress award three times. He was recognized as a professor-level senior engineer by the provincial education department, a member of the national mining machinery standard committee, an expert in the heavy machinery industry, an expert reviewer for the provincial science and technology department, and a “521” science and technology leader in Nanchang City. His achievements are outstanding.

When asked about his feelings about retirement, Wenlong Chen said sincerely, “I have experienced 37 years of ups and downs with NMS, and I have gained a lot. I am very grateful for the platform provided by NMS and feel honored to witness the development of the company. Retirement is an important node in life. As Chairman Shunshan Li said, one should retire but not retreat. I will continue to pay attention to and support the cause and development of NMS, exerting my remaining influence. I hope NMS will become a leader in the industry of crushing, screening, and system solutions, and become an internationally renowned company.” (Xiaohan Liu)

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