JSCO Sevmash

JSCO Sevmash is Russia’s largest shipbuilding complex and the sole shipyard of the country.

The basic structure at Severodvinsk, which is comprised of more than 100 subdivisions, stretches more than 300 hectares. This enormous enterprise is operated by over 25,000 people, one of which is Sevmash’s Nikolaj Yakovlevich Kalistratov, the company General Director.

IRJ sat down with Kalistratov to find out more about how Sevmash continues to thrive, grow and safeguard full-production capacity operation right up to 2020.

IRJ: In December this year, Sevmash will celebrate its 70th anniversary. Please tell us about your company, its structure, major activities, the company’s main markets, most important suppliers and consumers.

NYK: Sevmash, the joint stock company, is the largest shipbuilding yard in Russia and Europe. It is located in the town of Severodvinsk on the shore of the White Sea. Sevmash was established on 21st of December 1939, when “Soviet Belorussia”, the first battleship, was launched. The shipyard was designed and constructed as the biggest Russian north-west enterprise for surface shipbuilding (battleships and battle-cruisers). Since 1954, Sevmash has been building submarines of different classes and purposes, and has now launched more than 160 submarines, 128 of which are nuclear.

The new generation of submarines built by Sevmash are very high-technology items with rigid requirements, at times higher than those in space engineering. Here at the shipyard, we say that a submarine is a living organism which you have to feel and understand. This implies high-level technologies, specialist mastery, equipment condition requirements and innovation policy.

Sevmash production capacities are divided into two self-dependent in-line systems: first, there is metal manufacture and ship engineering workshops, and second, shipyard and outfitting workshops.

After all these long years the company has existed, the following major activities were defined as our core specialities:

Our main specialization is military engineering manufacturing for the Russian Navy (in line with the State defense order).

We also do commercial shipbuilding, both for export and internal needs. Over the last ten years our shipyard has launched more than one hundred vessels of different classes and purposes (sea/harbor tugs, mini-bulkers, pontoons, barges, fish farms) for the Netherlands, Sweden, Norway.

A new direction for us is marine engineering manufacturing for oil and gas production, mainly for the shelf of Arctic.

The fourth most important business for Sevmash is military technical cooperation with foreign customers. Within this programme in 2003-2005, two diesel-electric submarines, “Project 636,” were delivered. Also, according to an inter-governmental agreement with The Republic of India, the aircraft-carrier, “Project 11430,” is currently under repair and re-equipment. Finally, the preparation for construction of aircraft-carriers for the Russian Navy is being carried out.

The fifth direction in the shipyard’s activity, which developed in the 1990s, is the manufacturing of machinery products which has become one of the most importance for Sevmash. The shipyard produces metallurgical equipment and a wide range of rail transportation items. A great amount of work of Sevmash—the main North shipbuilder—is made in close cooperation with the industry, thus, our in-house designed friction bearings are delivered to all existing Russian shipyards. Another outstanding example is the production of shipping casks for the used nuclear fuel of nuclear-powered ice-breakers, submarines and earth stations.

Navy maintenance, warranty service and repair is another direction of Sevmash activity. Shipyard experts carry out warranty repair and routine maintenance of ships at the bases of the North and Pacific Navies. At the moment, on the water area of the shipyard, a heavy nuclear-powered missile cruiser, “Admiral Nakhimov,” is being repaired.

None of this would be possible without Sevmash’s long-standing and reliable partners—the biggest design bureaus, research institutes and companies, some of them are of a comparable size to, “Severodvinsk Giant,” as Sevmash is called sometimes. To name a few: Central Design Bureau for Marine Engineering “Rubin”, Central Design Bureau of Machine-building “Malakhit”, Russian Research Center “Kurchatovsky Institute”, State Research Center of the Russian Federation (SRC RF) CSRI Elektropribor, “Experimental Design and Engineering Bureau named after I.I. Afrikantov”, “Nevskoe Design Bureau”, “Kaluzhsky Turbine Plant”, OJSC “Severstal”, “Moscow Institute of Heat Engineering”, OJSC “Northern Production Association” “Arktika”, “Gazprom” and “Gazprom oil shelf”. In addition to these large and renowned partners, Sevmash has also reliable partnerships with more than a thousand small companies and enterprises.

IRJ: Please tell about yourself. How long have you worked in this field? Please tell us a little bit about your career developing?

NYK: I was born in the village of Adoryee (Novorzhevsky district, Pskov region). In 1973, I graduated from Leningrad shipbuilding institute with a specialty in Ship power plants and Mechanical Engineering in 1990, and completed a full course of National Economy Academy at Council of Ministers, USSR (specialty: national economy management). In 2004, I became a candidate of technical sciences.

After graduating from the Leningrad shipbuilding institute, I came to the Severodvinsk shipbuilding enterprise “Zvezdochka”, where I began to work as a production foreman. By 1992 I became the head of this enterprise and worked as the director general until August 2007, then was appointed as Sevmash Director General. I have devoted all my life to shipbuilding and ship repair services.

IRJ: What projects are the most significant for Sevmash now? What are the priorities for the company?

NYK: High-tech capabilities that we have been using in nuclear submarines building are now being efficiently applied in commercial production. First of all, this was in construction on offshore platforms for Arctic oil and gas fields developing. Thus, for OJSC “Gazprom,” our shipyard is now building the first Russian Off-Shore Ice-Resistant Fixed Platform “Prirazlomnaya”. The platform is a main oil field service object, on which basal and auxiliary production processes such as well-boring, extraction, preparation, accumulation and shipment of oil on tankers will be realized all year round.

Construction methods used at Platform “Prirazlomnaya” were tried out by Sevmash for the first time. The unique operation of mating caisson superblocks using an underwater welding was carried out. Sevmash has mastered cold-resistant steel welding technology. Now the shipyard is finishing construction of the platform crest structure and continuing with the installation works; blocks of process and utility modules have been uploaded. After all the necessary tests are carried out at the shipyards, the platform (total weight more than 110.000 tons) will be hauled to Murmansk for concrete ballasting.

Having accumulated enough expertise in the area of marine equipment construction for shelf development, Sevmash is now ready to actively participate in Shtockman’s gas-condensate field development.

During the 1990s, in all aspects challenging for the industry years, in order to save its high-technology production and preserve professional skills of the personnel, Sevmash was actively looking at foreign armament markets. Consequently, under the secured contract with the Indian Navy, the yard is now repairing and refitting the heavy aircraft cruiser “Admiral of Soviet Union Navy Gorshkov,” into the aircraft carrier “Vikramaditya,” equipped according to all modern technical requirements.

A lot of leading Russian enterprises are involved in systems design and production for this ship. Today, “Vikramaditya” looks like a big workshop with more than 2,500 specialists working in two shifts. The ship outfitting is at full speed with shipping of large-size equipment in engine and boiler rooms and arrestor gear compartments, wiring works, outfitting of compartments are all being performed. Refitting of the aircraft carrier is being carried out in close cooperation with FSUE “Rosoboronexport” (“the Federal Russian Defense Export”) representatives, and the Indian Navy Headquarters specialists.

Today Sevmash is the only Russian shipyard that builds nuclear-powered submarines for the State Navy. Over 50 years ago we began to master the processes involved in construction of nuclear-powered ships, and these days Sevmash is engaged in construction of fourth generation nuclear-powered submarines. Very recently, the shipyard has launched the nuclear submarine cruiser “Yury Dolgoruky” for trials. Coming up, but currently still on the slipways, there are two more serial submarines: “Alexandr Nevsky” and “Vladimir Monomakh”. Full-scale production of multi-purpose submarines has commenced.

As things stand at the moment, the existing state defense order will allow Sevmash to work on its execution at its full capacity until 2020. It should be noted that work on every new project is accompanied with innovation and production development. Thus, special renovation and an additional equipping program are being developed and implemented. Two similar programs have been already realized, the third one is now running and the fourth one is not far off as Sevmash is seriously considering the opportunity to build aircraft carriers.

IRJ: What is the key to the success of Sevmash? What helps the company to stay ahead of competitors?

NYK: The path to business success is largely due to Sevmash management’s traditional policy of preservation. We know how to maintain technology, industrial engineering traditions and, most importantly, the expertise accumulated by generations of our specialists. And it is not a simple conservation of the years of previous achievements, but rather a basis that helps to speed up progress. Having built wide and vast cooperative contacts, our enterprise in turn encourages its partners to master advanced technologies, generously shares its experience with interrelated companies and thereby assists in developing our country’s technological progress.

It goes without saying that the quality policy is of major importance for Sevmash. In line with that, the strategic goal of the company is to supply competitive products that satisfy customer requirements and expectations at the profit levels sufficient for our own social and economic development. Quality control at the enterprise is implemented by QA/QC Department and The Research, Engineering and Testing Center, which are both accredited by the Federal Agency of Technical Regulation and Metrology. Laboratories within the Testing Center are certified to test materials, raw materials, semi-finished products and designs, and are acknowledged by the Russian Maritime Register of Shipping.

Further, there are two major grave controllers testing Sevmash’s main products, the ships (including nuclear submarines), both of which apply the most stringent quality demands, and these are the Russian Navy and the World Ocean. As a result, the tradition of applying high standards to ourselves and our suppliers, scrupulous work with design bureaus, special requirements to personnel, and the main thing, high production and technological discipline is always maintained.

IRJ: Has a global economic crisis influenced on your business? What steps have Sevmash taken in light of this recent turn of events?

NYK: The state helped our enterprise to meet and fight off the challenges of the global crisis. The Ministry of Finance offered the following mechanisms to improve defense industry enterprises financial affairs.

1. 100 per cent advance payment for the state defense order;
2. Strict monitoring and scheduling of the government customers’ payments;
3. Providing interest subsidies on the loans taken under the state order;
4. The increase of Sevmash’s share capital via an expansion of the state’s share in it.

All these measures are designed to help us to have internal funds for advanced payments to our suppliers to further implement the current projects. 

I would like to particularly stress the fact that during the financial and economic crisis, our company has not reduced its staff-levels but, in contrast, is ready for expansion. We are now looking to employ further 2,500 production workers to complement our current 26,000-strong work force. I believe this fact speaks for itself in the present economic conditions when thousands of people lose their jobs throughout the country.

On the eve of its 70th anniversary, Sevmash faces the future with great confidence. We have interesting and perspective orders and modern production capabilities. However, our main strength is our experienced and professional work force and specialists ready to take on any challenging tasks!

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