HANGZHOU, June 12 (Xinhua) -- Traditional craft skills are indispensable in modern manufacturing, a gathering of more than 30 Chinese and foreign scholars hear recently in Hangzhou, capital of east China's Zhejiang Province.
At a workshop hosted by the Society for the History of Technology, the Institute for the History of Natural Sciences of Chinese Academy of Sciences and the China National Silk Museum, scholars, museum curators and social activists from China, India, Britain, the United States, Germany and Singapore spoke on textile crafts, architectural technology, and the role of craft and machinery in the industrial society.
"The mainstream technologies in modern society are outcomes of industrialization. Do we still need craft skills in machine production and the information society? Exploring the role of crafts in modern society and the relationship between crafts and innovation is an interesting question," said Zhang Baichun, director of the Institute for the History of Natural Sciences of the Chinese Academy of Sciences.
He believes craft skills will always be indispensable in modern manufacturing. In high-tech precision manufacturing, operators are also required to be clever in mind and skillful in hand.
He raised an example in modern Chinese history. China lacked large machines in the early 1960s. Some senior craftsmen with superb skills cooperated with engineers to produce China's first 10,000-tonne water-pressure machine, filling a gap in China's heavy machinery industry.
Zhang pointed out that China's overall manufacturing industry is still relatively backward. One of the main reasons is a shortage of at least 100,000 senior skilled workers.