This year Samara Metallurgical Plant will celebrate its 60th anniversary. Today Arconic SMZ is a centre for development, testing and implementing the newest technologies and innovative equipment. Aerospace, oil and gas industry, construction – it is hard to picture a sector that has no use for the product manufactured by the Samara metallurgists.
From a can to an airliner
Arconic SMZ is Russia's largest producer of a wide range of aluminium semi-finished products that are in high demand in aviation, aerospace, packaging, shipbuilding, automotive, construction, oil and gas and many other sectors. From an aluminium can, hopper railcars and facades of modern buildings to MS-21 airliners – the production lines of the plant bring unique solutions to Russian and foreign markets.
In 2019 the production output reached 230 thousand tonnes, marking the best results since 1993, while the aggregate annual production capacity of the plant exceeds 260 thousand tonnes. The plant has a unique set of equipment including the Russia's largest horizontal (20 thousand tonne-force) and vertical (75 thousand tonne-force) presses. Approximately 500 million US dollars were invested in upgrading the equipment, improving the safety standards, and implementing the production system.
Samara Metallurgical Plant was the first in Russia to produce aluminium sheet whose quality was sufficient for anodizing, managing to substitute the imported products. The products made from Samara metal were used to decorate Irina Viner-Usmanova's Centre for Rhythmic Gymnastics, particularly to decorate its most stylistically expressive element – the wave-shaped roof that resembles a waving gymnastic ribbon. Thanks to this expressive designer's mark the building won the Aluminium in Architecture contest during the AlumForum 2019, and was entered in the shortlist of the World Architecture Festival – one of the world's most prestigious awards that is sometimes referred to as the architectural Oscar.
In 2016 Arconic SMZ and VSMPO-AVISMA launched a joint venture: AO AlTi Forge that produces products from titanium- and aluminium based alloys for aerospace sector. In the same year, the plant started its partnership with Irkut Corporation, launching a wide range of aluminium semi-finished products specifically for MS-21 airliner. And this is not the only aviation-related victory of Samara's metallurgists – their products have always been used in all major aviation projects in Russia.
The metal from Samara is used to produce Russia's first aluminium hopper railcars that serve as mineral carriers. Thanks to the use of aluminium, the rail cars will create additional value for their operator by virtue of the reduced mass of the rail car, its high corrosion resistance, improved carrying capacity and extended service life. The carrying capacity of such a rail car reached 79 tonnes (3 to 8 tonnes bigger than that of comparable rail cars), the volume of the car's body is 109 cubic meters, resulting in cost savings of 10% per tonne of transported cargo, on average.
Since 2017 the plant has resumed the production of light alloy drilling pipes. These pipes have exceedingly high strength-to-weight ratio and are 40% lighter than comparable steel pipes. The aluminium solutions developed at Samara plant are suited for drilling deep vertical and horizontal boreholes in different climatic and geological conditions. It is worth mentioning that the quality of the pipes produced by Samara metallurgists has been tested during the drilling of the Kola superdeep borehole in 1970 - 1980s.
Employees are the core value
The plant employs approximately 3000 highly skilled workers and the annual labour efficiency has been growing 5% annually. Every year the employees of Arconic SMZ win many awards at different levels and are consistently named "Engineer of the year" and "Professional of the year".
In the anniversary year of 2020 the plant entered the widely recognized rating of Russia's 100 best employers compiled by HeadHunter job hunting platform proving that the metallurgical plant is an attractive place for building careers in engineering and technology, which are in great demand in the times of the fourth industrial revolution – Industry 4.0. Robotics classes, technology contests in the field of physics and chemistry, professional orientation programme, the support that enables the young people from orphanages to learn the profession – the company is actively promoting the engineering and technical professions among the youth. Out of 400 roubles that have been invested into social programmes since 2010, 70% of the funds have been channelled to educational projects in STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics).
One of the focus areas is providing the support and implementing unique municipal and regional charity projects to preserve the biodiversity in Samara region, creating accessible social and cultural space for the representatives of vulnerable strata of the society, as well as developing the entrepreneurial skills through the UN Empretec program.
"The achievements of Samara Metallurgical Plant are the results of continuous search for new ideas, supported by more effective technology solutions and by the efforts to maintain and improve the quality. Long years of successful operation prove the exceptional professionalism and coordination of the team that possesses ample experience and deep knowledge", says the board chairman of the Aluminium Association Alexander Zazhigalkin.
We send our congratulations to our fellow members of the Aluminium Association and wish them professional success in developing wonderful new projects.
Interesting facts about Arconic SMZ: