China finally makes a ballpoint pen tip
It has eluded China for five years, but finally the country has developed it: the tip of ballpoint pens.
Making them requires highprecision machinery and very hard, ultra-thin steel plates. Special microelements must be added to liquid steel to make a quality tip that can write continually for at least 800 meters (2,624 feet), but the formula had long been kept a trade secret by foreign manufacturers, leaving imports the only option for Chinese pen makers.
Without that ability, China's penmakers who produce 38 billion ballpoint pens have had to import the crucial component from abroad, costing the industry a reported $17.3 million a year.
Now state-owned Taiyuan Iron and Steel Co said it has mastered the production of steel components for pen tips after trying for five years.