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The New Rails of Sverdlovsk Industry

The New Rails of Sverdlovsk Industry

21.12.2018 — Analysis

The final ten days of December in Ekaterinburg began with freezing temperatures below 20 degrees. This makes an excellent trial for the new trams built right here in the capital of the Sverdlovsk region. Alexander Vysokinsky, the city’s new mayor, gathered journalists on a nippy afternoon to take a ride through the streets of the metropolis.

For the last several decades, Czechoslovakian-made trams have been conveying the city’s residents. That country is no more—it split into the Czech Republic and Slovakia—but its trams toil on to this day. There had been hopes of replacing them, but the city needed to find money in the budget and the right rolling stock.

City officials’ choice fell to a tram produced by JSC Uraltransmash (member of UralVagonZavod Corporation). These Ekaterinburg residents were able to create a modern, low-floor tram car with some specifications not yet seen in Russia. It reaches up to 40 kilometers per hour within 10 seconds and the distance traveled until overhaul is 500 thousand kilometers.

"We need trams with an operation life of 20-25 years. A finished compartment car, bigger windows, and more powerful heaters," Alexander Vysokinsky remarks.

The producer will market several models, one of which is already operating in Russia. Twenty cars will arrive in Kazan by the end of 2018.

Vladimir Gorodilov, General Director of Uraltransmash, stresses, "We made our own tram entirely. Our aircraft are foreign, the machine tools are Korean and our tractors are mostly Japanese, but this is ours—97% Urals made."

A Strategy of Industrial and Innovation-Driven Development plan until 2035 for the Sverdlovsk region was approved in November of this year. The key performance indicator is the increase in manufactured industrial products from today’s 1.7 trillion rubles per year to 9.6 trillion. It should be noted that the portion of civilian production at enterprises supplying military equipment must be increased. For instance, UralVagonZavod is world-renowned as a tank manufacturer.

"We pay special attention to all investment projects in the military industrial sector, in particular, to initiatives involved in civilian product manufacture. Today, such projects are successfully implemented at the Kalinin plant, the Urals Optical-Mechanical Plant, the Ural Works of Civil Aviation, and the Reactor Materials Institute," governor Yevgeny Kuyvashev announced. "The task of increasing the output of high-tech, competitive civilian-use products remains relevant for all defense enterprises, and it needs to be addressed now. The Sverdlovsk region administration consistently supports enterprise modernization and diversification projects. This includes support through the mechanism of investment projects that provide investors with a number of tax incentives."

Titanium Valley, the Special Economic Zone near Verkhnyaya Salda in the north of the Sverdlovsk region, is ready to become the location for priority investment projects. Foreign communities know this city thanks to the Russian titanium producer, VSMPO-AVISMA Corporation, PJSC. Its key consumers are Airbus and Boeing. This Ural enterprise covers up to 60% of aircraft manufacturers’ needs for this metal.

VSMPO-AVISMA has recently approved a new investment program. From 2019 to 2026, its volume will amount to 700 million dollars. "All stamped goods buyers are working to shorten the supply chain and ask us to do both rough and pre-final machining, which we had already begun at Ural Boeing Manufacturing as a part of our joint venture with Boeing," said General Director Mikhail Voevodin.

This joint venture is a landmark resident for Titanium Valley and the amount invested in its production is estimated at 5.5 billion rubles.

Meanwhile, a grand opening of Ural Works of Civil Aviation regional aircraft localization workshop L-410 has recently taken place in the Special Economic Zone’s southern site, located near Ekaterinburg. This is a new milestone in industrial development for the Sverdlovsk region—the acquisition of new competencies in aircraft construction. The enterprise will reach its projected production capacity of 20 L-410 and 25 Diamond DA 42 aircraft per year in 2019.

"It is very important that UWCA localizes only high technology works, effectively creating the most important added value here. In fact, the Urals are becoming an integration hub for this aircraft by building contemporary, mobile, innovative companies around itself. We are hoping that a modern aviation cluster will appear here soon," emphasized Oleg Bocharov, the deputy minister of industry and commerce in Russia. In 2019, a new version of the Lastochka electric train will arrive on Russian railways. It is produced at Ural Locomotives, a joint venture with the Sinara Group and Siemens AG.

The train is capable of reaching speeds of up to 160 kilometers per hour and is designed to comfortably transport passengers to interregional destinations ranging up to 700 kilometers.

Currently, Russian Railways operates 110 Lastochka trains. Production localization in Russia exceeds 80%.

As stated by Siemens representatives, the German company is prepared to produce double-decker cars and electric trains with Lastochka-based sleeper cars for Russian Railways. Moreover, manufacture of these double-decker cars can be localized within Russia. This once again demonstrates that industrial sites in the Sverdlovsk region are highly valued by the world’s leading manufacturers.

More than 109 thousand people work in Sverdlovsk region’s machine-building complex. Enterprises are actively implementing modernization programs, introducing new technology, and mastering production of high technology products for the most cutting-edge, technology-driven areas: aircraft manufacturing, photonics, nuclear medicine, and drone systems,” noted the governor Yevgeniy Kuyvashev. “Machine construction is a key industry that determines the economy’s innovative development and the socio-economic success of the government.”

INNOPROM serves as the annual show of industrial achievements—primarily those of enterprises in the Sverdlovsk region—and is held in Ekaterinburg. In 2019, its grounds will host the Second Global Manufacturing and Industrialization Summit (GMIS), with participation from the leaders of ten countries. For one of the leading regions in Russia, this is comparable to entering the industrial major leagues.

Dmitry Buzdalov

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