Expert leads team in developing China's first million-ton ethylene compressor

Updated: Dec 2, 2020 Women of China Print
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Jiang Yan, assistant chief engineer with the Design Institute of Shenyang Blower Works Group Co., Ltd, led her team in deleloping China's first compressor capable of producing one million tons of ethylene a year.

In 2006, she led her team in developing China's first compressor capable of producing one million tons of ethylene a year, making China one of the few countries capable of designing and manufacturing such advanced equipment. Who is she? Jiang Yan, assistant chief engineer with the Design Institute of Shenyang Blower Works Group Co., Ltd. Although Jiang has achieved tremendous success in her career, she has remained modest, and she has kept a low profile. "Although I'm not talented, I spare no effort in trying to improve my work," she says. Jiang believes the most notable characteristic of outstanding workers is their practical, down-to-earth work style. Dedicated to their careers, they are absorbed in working with their teammates to achieve goals. If one compares an ethylene compressor to the "heart" of the ethylene industry, then Jiang is leading her team in making persevering efforts to strengthen the "heart."

'Like expecting a baby'

After she graduated from Shenyang University of Chemical Technology, in Shenyang, capital of northeast China's Liaoning province, in 1997, Jiang began working at Shenyang Blower Works Group Co., Ltd.

Jiang initially worked in the pressure-vessel-designing department. Under the guidance of her master, she observed carefully and learned each step in the process.

Jiang has a notebook, in which she records data related to compressors, and her practical work experiences. "She is full of ideas, and she is hard-working. She is also eager to learn and to research," her master says.

Within her first few years with the company, Jiang proposed several research topics. In 2002, she designed the company's first cryogenic container. In 2003, Jiang was assigned to the compressor-designing department. Several years later, Jiang and her team designed China's first ethylene compressor capable of producing 450,000 tons of ethylene a year. That was a turning point for China's ethylene-equipment-manufacturing industry.

Jiang's team is responsible for producing ethylene compressors for clients across the nation. "From the original plan to further development and manufacturing, the whole process of participating in a project is like expecting a baby of your own. After the 'baby' is born, which means the project is concluded, I feel all the efforts are worth it," Jiang says.

"Even after all of these years, I feel relieved each time we finish a project. But I feel pressure in the meantime, because the success of the project means the start of the next new assignment," she adds.

Jiang Yan in her office


The output of ethylene is regarded as one of the important indicators when measuring the development level of a country's petrochemical industry. A one-million-ton ethylene compressor is a top-level piece of petrochemical equipment.

In 2006, three one-million-ton ethylene projects were planned, one each in Tianjin (a municipality in north China), Zhenhai (in East China's Zhejiang province), and Fushun (in northeast China's Liaoning province). Jiang's team took on the task of developing ethylene compressors for the three projects. "We had to move forward, and there was no retreat for us. That was a mission that we could not fail," Jiang told herself at that time.

Jiang and her team rose to the challenge, and they worked in a down-to-earth manner. Most of Jiang's team members were in their 20s. They were capable, confident and full of energy. "She knows each member's character and potential, and she makes a specific training plan for each of us," says Lan Xin, one of the team members.

As they lacked relevant information, Jiang and her team members visited petroleum refineries, in various cities, to collect data and examine the operation of imported equipment.

Jiang's tenacity and diligence influenced her team. They united as one, and they overcame various difficulties. After countless failures and hundreds of designs and modifications, Jiang and her team finally completed a design scheme.

On February 22, 2011, Jiang's team announced the successful test run of the first million-ton ethylene compressor. Jiang shed tears during the test run. "I kept looking at the screen, which displayed various data, as I felt nervous," Jiang recalls.

Jiang hopes her team will be able to manufacture more high-quality ethylene compressors. "As front-line science and technology workers, we must work hard and endure hardships, so our country will be able to have more confidence in the international arena," she says.

"We should strive to be pacesetters in the industry in the future. I hope the world will love equipment made in China, especially those created in China," Yang adds.

Different roles

Although her work keeps her very busy, Jiang tries her best to be a good wife and mother. Her husband, a former university classmate, works for the same company. When their daughter was two years old, both of them were admitted to Northeastern University, in Shenyang, to receive on-the-job postgraduate education.

Jiang's husband is always a source of support for Jiang. He meets Jiang at the airport or railway station when she returns home from a business trip. When Jiang encounters difficulties at work, he will talk with her to help ease her pressure, and he gives her ideas and suggestions. He also helps take good care their daughter after work.

As Jiang travels for business frequently, she feels she owes her family, especially her daughter, a lot. When she is not busy, and not on a business trip, Jiang spends as much time as possible with her daughter. She also does much of the housework, and she often takes her parents on vacation.

Jiang has received numerous honors for her dedication to her work, including the National May 1 Labor Medal and the National March 8th Red-banner Holder. She attended the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China, in Beijing, in 2017, and she was elected a delegate to the 12th National Women's Congress, in Beijing, in 2018.

"In Liaoning, there are numerous people who are dedicated to their jobs. They are striving to contribute to the realization of the overall revitalization of northeast China's industrial base. I am just one of them," Jiang says.


Photos by Yu Tanran, Wang Yan, Tu Songxiang and Wang Yuguang

(Women of China English Monthly October 2020 issue)

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