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Interview with the Director of the Amur shipbuilding plant

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Web resource KORABEL.RU published an interesting interview with the acting General Director of PJSC "Amur shipbuilding plant" (ASZ, part of JSC "United shipbuilding Corporation")Mikhail Borovsky.

Towing of the hull of the CNF11CPD Alexander Deev ferry under construction at PJSC Amur shipbuilding plant for completion to Vladivostok, October 2020 (C) PJSC Amur shipbuilding plant"

The Amur shipyard - in the recent past one of the largest shipbuilding enterprises in the Far East - is gradually gaining momentum. In the docks of Komsomolsk-on-Amur, not only corvettes and rocket boats are being built, but also ferries with tugs. Mikhail Borovsky, acting General Director of the company, told us about the current day of the plant and the prospects for its development.

ASZ was originally created as a highly mechanized enterprise to solve problems related to improving the combat capability of the Pacific fleet. Today the plant is a diversified enterprise, production capacity which include hull, Assembly and welding, electrical, pipe, machinery, paint production, testing center materials and products, Department of nuclear safety and security, galvanic coating section, section for the production of fiberglass panels.

The plant has three heated boathouses equipped with all the necessary types of construction support systems; crane equipment with a lifting capacity of 30 to 100 tons, which allows you to mount structures weighing 180 tons and conduct round-the-clock work on the construction of ships with dimensions of 190 x 19 m. The production capacity of ASZ allows processing up to 30 thousand tons of steel per year.

In 2021, one of the largest enterprises of the Khabarovsk territory will celebrate its 85th anniversary. During this time, more than 300 ships and vessels of various purposes were launched from the slipways of the Amur shipyard, including nuclear and non-nuclear submarines, surface warships, civilian vessels and marine equipment for various purposes: from small fishing vessels to cargo and rescue vessels with the highest class of automation.

- The development of civil shipbuilding is one of the most important tasks set by USC for the enterprise. How can civil ships be built efficiently at a shipbuilding plant?

- In my opinion, there are three main factors for the effective construction of commercial vessels. First, you need to count the money. It should be understood that the pricing of commercial orders is somewhat, if not strikingly, different from the pricing of GOZ. Every day you need to remember about the efficiency of production, minimize additional overhead costs, only this will allow you to build commercial orders with maximum profit for the enterprise.

Secondly, it is important to work with suppliers. On commercial orders, with foreign suppliers, and even in the face of sanctions, coordinated effective work with suppliers is an art! A product delivered on time is an order made on time.

And, finally, the third - design work and technical support of construction. Shipbuilding is a very high-tech, complex technological process, projects, as a rule, are not worked out at the proper level, and often these are the main (first) projects. Up to two-thirds of the ship's construction time is spent on the development of the project and working documentation, and the most effective enterprise will be the one that can minimize the time of this work, increase the quality of documentation development, and minimize the time to resolve issues that arise at the time of construction of the order.

- What civil projects are you preparing to implement, with whom are you negotiating? What is the plant ready to offer to commercial customers today?

- Today, the company has three civil orders: two ferries (the customer is the State transport leasing company) and one rescue tug of project 00360 for the Ministry of transport. The company plans to transfer these orders to customers in the near future.

Negotiations are underway to continue the construction of a series of ferries and lifeguards. Regarding the construction of ferries, I want to note that, having experience in the manufacture of vessels of this class, we are ready to continue working in this direction and place additional orders, making them serial. Then there will be no need to build a bridge to Sakhalin island. In General, the company is open and ready for any order.

The plant can offer commercial customers its services for the construction of various vessels. In our opinion, we have several very attractive qualities for potential customers. First, ASZ has earned an excellent reputation with the customer in the military segment with the delivered ships and has the right to count on references in the civilian sector. The civil vessels built by us over the past five years are highly appreciated by the customer, which has a positive impact on our position in the far Eastern region.

Another plus is our automated construction management system. This is one of the areas of development, along with re-equipment and optimization. In creating our own automated control system, we have greatly succeeded, and we have something to show civil customers today in the organization of ship construction. We are also distinguished by the quality of the staff, the engineering staff of the team. The average age of employees at the enterprise today is 42 years, more than half of the employees of the main production of the shipyard have a higher technical education. We can really boast of this to the customer.

Of course, it is worth saying about the quality of products. The company has a quality system that works well. The quality policy is an absolute component of the entire production process. I will also note the availability of reserves of production capacity. Today, we are underutilized in the field of civil shipbuilding and are ready to place orders for construction.

We are capable of innovation. Over the past ten years, the plant has mastered six projects from scratch, and has accumulated enormous experience in this area. We provide warranty service and repair of all built orders. The geographical location allows us to Express serious intentions to take over the entire segment of medium-tonnage shipbuilding for the far Eastern region, both commercial and state.

Another of our strengths is our well - established and strong relationships with major suppliers. Supply in the construction of ships is one of the most important issues.

- At the end of October, two vessels were launched at once, including a powerful ice-class rescue tug "Kerch Strait". When will there be clarity on the construction of three more similar vessels?

- Indeed, at the end of October, two ships were launched simultaneously. This operation is unique for us in that the simultaneous launching of vessels occurred for the first time in the history of the plant. The company has successfully completed this operation, and now both ships will be completed at the completion embankment.

Order No. 360 ("semimegawattnik") is not easy. Firstly, it is the first in a series, and secondly, due to disagreements between the customer and the designer (Marine Engineering Bureau) in 2012, the project was frozen at 31% technical readiness, construction was stopped. The company has maintained the order for six years, carrying out routine maintenance on the mechanisms. Construction has resumed and is proceeding on schedule. I think that the customer, represented by the Ministry of transport, sees the pace of work, and, as a result, next year a contract will be signed for at least three more such vessels.

- The construction of CNF11CPD rail-car ferries for Sakhalin began uneasily, the deadlines were postponed, and the cost grew. What are the reasons, and what is the situation today?

- We have already discussed the efficiency of commercial shipbuilding and identified three key factors for the effective construction of a commercial order. So on ferries, all these three factors were at the lowest level, and this is not only the fault of the enterprise.

The order is head, not tested, not worked out; the design and issuance of working documentation was delayed for almost a year, longer than planned. Hence the increase in construction time. The completion of the project causes constant alterations and the introduction of additional materials, hence the increase in the contract price. New, mostly foreign manufacturers of equipment - this is additional time for delivery, for initialing equipment and, as a result, for issuing working documentation. All these factors eventually led to an increase in construction time, a rise in prices, and a postponement of delivery dates.

But the company overcomes all the problems, one of the orders is already at the delivery base in Vladivostok. The case is formed in the volume of 100%. Work is underway on the delivery of the design, testing and painting of ballast tanks. Electrical installation works are actively deployed. More than 140 km of trunk and local cable has been tightened. Work is underway to turn on the power plant, diesel generators, electrical installation of the main and auxiliary equipment. We started preparing the premises for the start of work on the formation and equipment of cabins. Installation of the ballast and dehumidification system, fire extinguishing system, fuel and oil systems, gas flue systems are being completed. Preparatory work is underway on the Main engine and the shaft line. The equipment of the cargo Elevator, aft and side closure is being prepared for installation.

We plan to deliver the first order ahead of the deadline, which is indicated in the contract today. The second order is at the completion pier in Komsomolsk, the technical readiness on it is higher than on the first at a similar technological stage of construction. The second order will be transferred to the delivery base in Vladivostok next year, and we, like the first one, will deliver it ahead of the deadline specified in the contract.

- A separate division of the plant-the delivery base "Vostok" is located in Bolshoy Kamen and is engaged in the completion of ships and ship repair. How much is domestic ship repair in demand in the far East today?

- The delivery base of our company in 2017 was relocated from Bolshoy Kamen to Vladivostok, completely preserving both its purpose and the profile of the work. It is a separate factory division and performs the functions of final completion, sea trials and final delivery of the plant's products to customers. In addition to the workshops equipped with everything necessary for the completion and repair of ships, the base has its own berth wall with a length of 120 meters. This allows us to simultaneously repair four vessels of various types with a draft of up to seven meters.

The branch of PJSC "ASP" under the leadership of V. G. Atakova assumed obligations to provide services for the repair of the fleet and with dignity to meet them. Last year, a contract was signed for the Parking and maintenance of transport refrigerators of the Russian shipping company Vostokflot. The delivery base provides warranty service for supply vessels of project 22420, built by order of Gazprom FLOT LLC. At the moment, we have also established partnership relations with the companies "Pavino-Tanker", V. I. Lenin fish Farm and a number of other ship-owning companies.

In 2020, we gained experience in accepting an order built at a related USC enterprise. So far, we only provide services for placing orders and personnel and providing production space, but in the future, with the consent of the manufacturer, we are ready to perform a full cycle of delivery of the order from the stage of factory sea trials.

In the future, we plan to expand the list of potential partners not only by attracting new customers for the construction of ships and ships, but also by providing services for the repair and maintenance of marine ocean equipment. Consolidation in this production niche, increase in the list of services-for us it is not only expansion of the market, it is new jobs. For any customer, it is important to comply with contractual deadlines and quality. An important issue is the cost of work. Here, the support of the Russian government is of great importance, since the overhead costs of enterprises in the Far East are significantly higher than in Russia as a whole.

- Did you manage to pick up the pace of construction of corvettes of project 20380?

"Absolutely! We can recall the history: the first serial order with the factory number 2101 for many objective reasons was built at the enterprise from 2006 to 2017. the Plant mastered the construction of this project, facing difficulties in working with composites, non-ferrous metals, bimetals. In fact, we were familiar with all this, but it was a long time ago, even before the 1990s, and we remembered a lot on this order. Many thanks to the Ministry of defense and the command of the Pacific fleet, who still believed in the plant and signed a contract for another serial order.

The second Corvette, the company has already built a lot faster. On it, we mastered working with composites, and the superstructure of composite materials was made independently. Assessing the high pace of construction and development of the project, the Ministry of defense decided to conclude a contract for two more buildings. The third order of the series is being prepared for delivery, and at the end of December it will be handed over to the Ministry of defense. Given that the ship has taken serious modernization measures related to weapons, we can talk about not quite a serial order. We have established positive relations with suppliers, and we are building the superstructure in cooperation with other enterprises of the USC group.

- How is the program for the construction of small missile boats [ships] of project 22800 being implemented?

- The technical readiness of order No. 201 "Rzhev" today is 12%, while the body is formed by 50%, the production of block sections is underway in the Assembly and welding shop, the final installation and Assembly of the entire body is planned in December. Order No. 202 "Udomlya" is made by 8%. This is 30% of the block sections, at the stage of completion of production another 30%, the beginning of Assembly and installation of the housing is scheduled for January 2021. Technical readiness of orders No. 203 (Pavlovsk) and 204 (Ussuriysk") it is still 4 and 1.5%, respectively. In the Assembly and welding shop, work is underway to form the bottom and side sections for Assembly in the block section. We plan to complete the formation of the buildings of all four MRCs in the first quarter of 2021.

From January next year, work begins on the formation of superstructures on the ships of the project 22800. Contracts for long-cycle deliveries are being approved, and the first deliveries of equipment are expected in the second quarter of 2021.

- During its history, the plant has repeatedly participated in the creation of complex equipment - built nuclear and diesel submarines, ships, drilling platforms, chemical carriers, multi-tonnage vessels of high ice class... What, in your opinion, is not enough for domestic shipbuilding to compete on an equal footing with foreign shipyards? What types of vessels should Russian shipbuilders focus on?

- Indeed, over the 85-year history of the ASZ, more than 300 ships and vessels for various purposes have been built and repaired. ASZ repeatedly participated in the development of orders, in the construction of head orders, but after that we received a series. I think seriality is the most important factor in successful competition. The fifth order is considered serial in shipbuilding, and we have not built an order larger than four units in the series in recent years.

In addition, I am convinced that the Russian shipbuilding industry needs state support, such as the "keel quotas" program. Russian ship owners and ship consumers should come only to the Russian shipbuilding market. One of the support measures can be assistance to enterprises that are remote from the center, have complex logistics, additional social burdens (Northern, etc.). Today, all these additional costs fall on them, and it is impossible to compete in the Russian market, not to mention competition with world leaders in shipbuilding.

- One of the leaders of the ASZ belongs to the words: "give us three orders a year and the company will show that it can build quickly, efficiently and with high economic indicators." Today, the "Amur plant" is provided with state orders for several years ahead, how can it surprise?

"I don't think 'surprise' is the right word." We plan to develop steadily, build and deliver vessels and ships to customers on time and with excellent quality. We have a very extensive production program for 2021. We plan to transfer to the customer the first cargo-passenger automobile-railway ferry of the CNF11CPD project "Alexander Deev". A multifunctional emergency rescue vessel with a capacity of 7 MW "Kerch Strait"will also be prepared for delivery.

We are completing the construction of the first series of multi - purpose ships of the near sea zone-corvettes of project 20380, transferring the fourth ship to the Ministry of defense, but we are starting construction of another line of ships of the same project. We will continue the construction of four Small karakurt-class missile ships of project 22800 and a second ferry for the Sakhalin line. The plans, as I have already said, are to prepare and conclude a contract for the construction of three more seven-megawatt ships.

- How is the plant planned to develop in the coming years? What are the main tasks to be solved?

- To choose the directions of development of the enterprise and to set the main tasks of development, it is necessary to first understand the main, key problems, those that today do not allow us to say that we are "the most efficient enterprise in Russia", and systematically, gradually, step by step to solve them.

Today, there are four main problems and four main directions in the development and solution of these problems. The first is a small load. Only a busy enterprise can develop, and technically re-equip, etc. the Amur shipbuilding plant today aims not to focus on military shipbuilding, but to balance the portfolio of orders. We actively work with commercial customers of vessels, repeatedly came out with the offer to become a co-executor in contracts of DVZ "Zvezda". In addition to profile construction, the company actively accepts orders for the manufacture of metal structures. We were once taught that you can not give up work, and it is under this motto that we work today.

The wear and tear of the equipment is the second most important. The plant is not young, in addition, it needs to be re-equipped technically, and within the framework of the Federal target program, the company is working on the reconstruction and modernization of production areas, as well as speeding up work on the creation of a "Compact shipyard".

We will continue to work on the reconstruction of the hull-processing, welding, slipway, pipe-processing industries and the technical re-equipment of the production facilities of the ASZ. We have almost completely replaced the welding equipment in the welding shop and on the slipway, launched a number of metal cutting and Metalworking machines, purchased auxiliary equipment for the Assembly of sections and control and measuring equipment.

Large-scale reconstruction continues in the hull processing shop, where in addition to the acquired automated cutting lines for sheet and profile rolled products, waterjet and thermal metal cutting equipment, a new line for shot blasting and preservation of rolled metal has been launched. Machine-building production was supplemented with CNC Metalworking machines. Both in the hull and machine shops, work is underway to replace physically worn-out lifting equipment.

The reconstruction of hydraulic structures for the technological support of the withdrawal of ships from the slipways will allow us to technologically ensure the construction, repair and withdrawal of ships from the slipways, increase the production of serial orders and, in the future, closely engage in the repair and maintenance of ships for the Pacific fleet.

The construction of a 7500-ton transport and launching dock, the development of which has already begun, will allow us not only to ensure the process of releasing ships and ships of the surface and submarine fleet in compliance with the contract construction deadlines, but also to eliminate the current costs of renting the dock.

The third. A high share of overhead costs leads to a high price for products, an inability to compete. We are engaged in bringing the main and overhead personnel to the optimal ratio, and if the last two years we have been optimizing overhead personnel, now we have set for ourselves the main task of increasing the number of main production workers, this is vital with the growth of the enterprise's workload.

We increase production productivity, including through the "Lean manufacturing" system. In 2019, the economic effect of the implementation of projects for the development of the production system with the use of "Lean production" tools amounted to about 400 million rubles. We expect this figure to increase this year.

We are developing and implementing a motivation system aimed specifically at the production of products, etc. However, more important in this process was the restructuring of one's own consciousness, awareness of the inadmissibility of any kind of losses and a conscientious attitude to work.

Another task is to get rid of the burden of loans, including with the help of state support. The reason for this situation was a long-term period of low loading of the plant, when a high percentage of overhead costs was not covered by the actual rate of profitability under existing contracts and it was necessary to attract credit funds. This snowball is growing and every year not only eats up all the profits of the enterprise, but also negatively affects the financial result of the Company. As part of the initial recapitalization, the plant received the first tranche of 4.2 billion rubles. The funds were used to repay the problem loan debt to Sberbank.

- Until recently, there were six shipbuilding plants on the Amur, now for the construction of corvettes or repair of submarines, it is necessary to attract workers from Zvezdochka and Sevmash. The plant is recruiting specialists in the North-West and the Russian South. What is the situation with the training of local personnel?

- Unfortunately, all enterprises of the far Eastern region are experiencing an acute shortage of personnel, we are no exception, so the plant has established work to attract personnel from other regions. These specialists receive compensation for the flight to the location of the enterprise, in the future they are partially compensated for housing costs.

We understand that the main task in the personnel policy of the company is to attract and develop its staff! That is why our company has its own systems for working with it. We successfully conduct training in the main working professions. In 2020, 140 workers who studied at the enterprise were accepted at the ASZ.

The adaptation system aims to secure the incoming employee. It includes various motivational payments, including payment every two years for travel to the place of rest and back, the possibility of participation of young workers in professional skills competitions with a further increase in the working category, and, consequently, with an increase in wages.

We also provide internal staff training, for example, on the basics of "Lean manufacturing". The creation of a personnel reserve is one of the areas of work on the training, training and consolidation of personnel. The company has a talent pool, and career growth at the ASZ is possible, there are many examples of this. Another component of securing personnel at the enterprise is the system of horizontal rotation, or the opportunity to retrain for a related, more popular specialty.

The system of training future workers and specialists for the ASZ is a cooperation with such educational institutions as the Komsomolsk-on-Amur ship-mechanical technical school. Hero Of The Soviet Union V. V. Orekhova, Governor's aircraft engineering College (interregional competence center), Komsomolsk-on-Amur state University.

I would like to emphasize that even in the conditions of the pandemic, the task was not just to bring the work of the Amur shipbuilding plant to an acceptable level that meets the necessary requirements, but also to try not to violate production plans. Even in this unstable time, we continue to increase the personnel potential of workers in the main shipbuilding professions, if in March the main production workers were 1,343 people, then at the beginning of November - already 1,460.

Author: Oleg Gnennoy

Acting General Director of PJSC "Amur shipbuilding plant" Mikhail Borovsky (C) www.korabel.ru

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