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ECONOMY

Made in Russia

Both FORD and VAZ - FROM RUSSIAN METAL

In April of this year, Lipetsk craftsmen swung at unprecedented impudence - to deliver a test batch of 20 tons of automobile sheet to the Ford plant in Germany, which produces Focus.

Dmitry LEONTIEV

The interest of Ford is understandable: in the Leningrad region, in the city of Vsevolozhsk, they are also preparing to assemble this model. The main task is to cheapen the novelty of the Russian market as much as possible.

Outlining a circle of suppliers of low-cost components for world-class cars, Ford representatives have already visited GAZ. The Novolipetsk Combine (NLMK), founded, incidentally, 300 years ago by Peter the Great, was also included in the list of applicants.

When the trial batch for Ford was at the factory, I asked the metallurgists to show it. “We are not sharing - for Ford or for whom else. Here lies the export products. Where will she go? Maybe at Ford … ”It seemed to me that the goods for the world-famous customer would be almost under protection here. Well, calm is a sign of confidence and strength.

FOLLOWING THE COURSE …

Along with the Ford project, NLMK began supplying galvanized sheet for VAZ: 350–400 tons per month. The task is to replace the import sheet that Volga Automobile Plant is purchasing today. By the way, so far only NLMK and the plant in Lysva are making such a sheet for automobile bodies in Russia. True, Lysvensky plant does not produce metal, but buys it in the same Lipetsk and only galvanizes. So you cannot name him a competitor to NLMK. The Novolipetsk plant is generally considered the first among suppliers to all domestic car factories. VAZ receives from here half of the metal it consumes, KamAZ - 50%, UAZ - also about 50%, GAZ - 35%, and ZIL - all 100.

- Metal prices are rising following the dollar. This is very annoying car factories. They claim that metal rises in price faster than any other materials and components, that enterprises are not able to buy a sheet at the prices of the London Stock Exchange, ”the NLMK engineering bureau explained to me the situation. To make a car sheet, we must buy ore, coal, non-ferrous metals … The prices for all this are also tied to the dollar. In addition, the share of ferrous metals in the cost of a car is only 10%. So many claims against us are far-fetched, ”my interlocutor concluded.

The Novolipetsk Combine really sends a lot - two-thirds of its products for export. And this is a good sign: after all, export makes you keep the brand and improve quality. And our domestic market does not discipline at all.

WHO NEEDS THIS QUALITY?

As long as the automobile industry existed in Russia, so many directors of automobile plants prayed to raise the quality of metal. But … here, finally, we can produce steel no worse than abroad - please order. But they do not want to! Now one concern is to make it cheaper.

A good sheet is expensive (5800 rubles per ton). A good galvanized sheet is twice as expensive. But the trouble is, many Russian car factories just keep on the market due to scanty, compared to foreign cars, prices. So it turns out: together with AvtoVAZ, the Ministry of Economics is preparing a program to improve the quality of metal (which, incidentally, includes a large-scale production of galvanized sheet), but GAZ, KamAZ, ZIL, Moskvich, UAZ are not ready to connect to it.

The new quality of metal requires not only "extra" money, but also new technologies. How, for example, to be with welding? A simple sheet can be connected with an ordinary spot device, and galvanized requires a laser. This is only at the VAZ. By the way, the Volga plant has always pulled up our metallurgy. Specially "under the VAZ" in Soviet times, they built entire workshops, purchased the latest equipment, introduced many modern technologies. It’s the same now: for example, Severstal has launched the release of a new sheet for gas tanks (not leaded, which is already prohibited by European environmental requirements, but with an aluminum coating). But to weld this sheet (and, therefore, to purchase it) is able, again, only the Volga plant.

ZINC “TAG” “TENS”

“Aren't you afraid that other plants, for example from Ukraine, will eventually push you out of the market - after all, a consumer requires low prices?” I tried to Novolipetsk metallurgists. "Not. “A car with a very high quality surface finish is required for a car, so there will always be demand for more expensive metal.”

Soon right in the galvanizing workshop, NLMK will put on the pedestal a “dozens” body “in iron” and paint will indicate which parts are coated with it (see the article “How steel was protected” on page 150). Workers must know their specific contribution to the most modern VAZ family. Moreover, in the future, NLMK plans to begin stamping the bottom for the "ten." So there will be more and more Lipetsk parts at the VAZ. And in the future, if the joint program of AvtoVAZ and the Ministry of Economy on improving the quality of metal is implemented, then Severstal will begin supplying the galvanized sheet to VAZ. Then, probably, a body with marked details will appear in Cherepovets.

Our reference

GALVANIZED SHEET is obtained in two ways: by galvanic or by hot galvanizing. The first is used at the Lysvensky combine, the second - at Novolipetsk. About which method is better, argue metallurgists around the world. In all countries where there is a metallurgical industry, both types of galvanizing are used. "Popularly" the galvanic method is considered more reliable.