History of Samara Metallurgical Plant
(ZAO Alcoa SMZ)
Wide applicability of aluminum and its alloys in all spheres of national economymade it necessary to increase the aluminum production capacity in Russia after the Second Patriotic War (1941-1945). Thus in 1950 it was decided to start designing and building the largest in Europe aluminum fabricating plant in Kuibyshev city (currently - Samara).
In the shortest possible time the necessary feasibility study was performed, the detailed project report and construction design were developed and in 1951 the construction started.
In 1953 the mechanical and repair shop of the aluminum plant manufactured its first products – non-standard equipment for the core manufacturing shops. In early 1955 mold casthouse was put into operation (thus non-core production facilities were being created. Their shop floors and departments are still running, to maintain and upgrade the equipment of the new production facilities). In the same time year the central plant laboratory was established. Together with the industrial buildings a lot of residential buildings public utilities were constructed.
Since 1955 a hot period of adjusment and setup had started at the plant. Shops were still being built, but the installation of the most powerful and up-to date metallurgical equipment in the world was already in full swing. Engineers from all over the country worked on the creation of the plant. The first core shop to be commissioned was Casthouse. There were smelting and casting machines, homogenizing pits with automatic temperature controls, continuous ingot processing lines. All this equipment was new to the metal industry of Russia.
On November 4th, 1955 the first ingot was cast. Since December the shop started mass production of ingots.
The first aluminum processing shop being built was rod and profile shop. It was equipped with the unique horizontal hydraulic presses, vertical quenching furnaces, which were the most up-to-date in t rod and profile production, and powerful stretching machines for extruded profiles and panels, slab saw lines and other newest equipment items.
On March 6th, 1956 the first rod was extruded with 5,000 tones press. Throughout the year 6 more presses of different capacity and other equipment were involved in the production process. Together with the profile shop, instrument shop and energy shop were launched.
On February 2nd, 1958 the first hollow billet was extruded with 3,500 tones press. In March 1958 the first pipe was rolled. The shop floor team started improving production facilities and expand the range of pipes produced. In 1960 the Main Committee of All-Union Exhibition of Achievements of National Economy awarded the plant with the diploma for designing and introducing a new method of manufacturing hollow billets and drill pipes. The manufacture of drill pipes reached such a scale thatrequired additional production facilities. In 1969 the drill and welded pipe shop was put into operation at the plant. The first lot of pipes for probe drilling, deep drilling and well operation (oil, gas and for geologic exploration) was produced in April 1971. In April 1978 the first lot of aluminum coated sheet was produced at the same shop floor.
In 1954 the construction of the largest shop Mill Products was started . Scientific research institute of metal and mechanic engineering under the supervision of academician A.I. Tselikov for the first time ever developed the technology of semicontinuous rolling with single slab heating, designed the hot rolling mill “2800” which consists of 2 reversing stands and 5 continuous rolling stands. A group of engineers from Uralmash plant designed and produced 2-stand cold rolling mill “Tandem-2800”. There was also installed a special application taper mill , for the first time there were installed sheet hardening and annealing machines, continuous sheet cutting and finishing lines and other innovative sheet processing equipment.
In December 1958 the hot rolling mill rolled the first ingot into a plate.
Die-forgings production traces its history back to November 1959. In April 1960 Forgings and Extrusions production originated. In May 1960 Forgings and Extrusions shop was put into operation. It was equipped with the powerful vertical and horizontal presses and other unique equipment for large-size forgings production, die-forgings production, rods, pipes, profiles and panels used in airspace and defense industry, shipbuilding, car industry etc. Semi-finished products and aluminum products manufactured at Samara metallurgical plant were widely used in all models of spacecrafts “Soyuz”, “Vostok”, transport system “Energia” and the spacecraft “Progress” as well as the orbital space stations “Salyut”, “Mir”, etc.
Simultaneously with the construction of the core production facilities, non-core shops were built. In 1955 the railway shop and the repair and construction shop were put into operation. In 1958 the transport shop opened and so did repair and installation and new equipment shops in 1960. At the same time the hot period of adjustment andsetup was coming to an end.
The metallurgist district was under construction along with production facilities development. In 1953 12,000 sq m of residential space was commissioned. In November 7, 1954 the cinema October (“Oktyabr”) opened. A hospital, kindergartens, nurseries, a stadium and everything for proper lifestyle was under construction, too.
On July 5th, 1960 the government committee headed by Deputy Chairman of the Council of Ministers of the RSFSR E.M.Ryabikov gave a good mark to the plant and commissioned it. This date is considered to be the date of birth of the plant. That was a great achievement: the plant and the metallurgist district were built in less than 8 years. Now there was a new objective to manage the production facilities, master the manufacturing process, product variety and quality.
All the scientific and technological achievements and production success were possible thanks to a team of highly qualified workers who were really devoted to the plant. They are still remembered with respect and many of them are still working at the plant sharing their valuable experience with the youth. Hundreds of dynasties worked and keep working at the plant. It is impossible even to name all the families of the best workers as there are thousands of them. Some of them received valuable governmental awards, for example, smelter K.I. Lyubaev was named Hero of Socialistic Labour; caster A.N. Klemin – laureate of the State Award of the USSR; pipe-roller K.S. Grednev, press operator V.A.Sezemin – Honored metallurgists of the RSFSR and many others.
During the same period science and research were quickly developing at the plant. This happened due to the great talent of a scientist and educator of VILS (All-Russian Institute of Light Alloys) V.I. Dobatkin. A lot of specialists working at the plant presented their dissertations, published monographs, and started giving lectures at universities. Overall more than 50 specialist at the plant obtained postgraduate degrees and one specialist had a doctor’s degree.
Nevertheless, there was a constant need to attract young specialists to the plant. To solve this problem a special plant-based technical college was established. It started preparing specialists for the main technical qualifications. Naturally, experienced production foremen and workers were involved in the educational process as tutors. Full-time courses and evening courses of the metallurgical technical college provided training and education for young people who then became qualified workers and foremen. Finally, at the Kyibyshev Aviation Institute there was organized a department of metal forming. Scientists from the institute and workers from the plant carried out scientific researches. The department of metal forming educated a group of specialists to take leading roles at the plant. Many of them are still part of the plant’s senior management team.
During more than 50 years since the plant was built there were only 5 directors, which is the proof of the enterprise stability. In 1951 Pavel Petrovich Mochalov was appointed as a director of the plant under construction. He was truly a legendary person and was honored with many government awards and titles. The honorary citizen of Kyibushev city P.P. Mochalov worked as Plant Director until 1979. From 1979 to 1984 Gennady Vasilievich Khodasevich worked as Plant director. He was succeeded by Maxim Borisovich Ovodenko, who was one of the most influential leaders in light alloy industry at that time. In 1998 Mikhail Vasilievich Fedorov became the director of the plant. He began his career as an ordinary dogger and finished it being a director. From 2008 until today the Director of Samara plant is Mikhail Grigorievich Spichak.
During the years of its existence Samara metallurgical plant became famous not only in the USSR but also around the world. In 1980 the plant received Gold Mercury International Award for its contribution to the development of the international cooperation. The labour of plant workers was recognized by the government. More than one thousand metallurgists were awarded with medals and orders. Among them more than 20 people received Superior State Honour Awards. The staff of the plant was honored with the Orders of the Red Banner of Labour (1965), Order of the October Revolution (1986), different awards and diplomas for the successful creation and development of production facilities, upgrade of the technological process, manufacturing the unique types of products.
Since the plant’s creation it has become a proving ground for research, development and implementation of the most up-to-date technologies and equipment in aluminum processing. Moreover, Samara metallurgical plant has unique experience in serving aerospace industry.
The technology and equipment are upgraded all the time in all the production facilities. The plant is known as a pioneer in manufacturing such products as coated sheet, ribbed extruded panels more than 2000 mm wide for the shipbuilding industry, light-alloy drill pipes, light-gauge welded pipes less than 220mm in diameter for irrigation systems, large-size forgings and die-forgings for the aerospace industry, which are produced with 75 thousand tones capacity press, the most powerful press in the world. The plant is still a sole manufacturer of some kinds of such products.
The Samara plant is famous for its can stock production facilities. Samara metallurgical plant in the only factory in Russia to produce can stock used to make cans for soft drinks and beer. Aluminum can stock production is the most advanced and up-to-date and serves as the driving force for improving production quality at Samara Metallurgical Plant in general. Several employees of the plant received The State Award of the Russian Federation in Science and Technology for their development and implementation of scientifically proved rolling technology for processing highly textured aluminum strip, modernization of the rolling mill and organization of mass aluminum can production.
Since February 2005 Samara Metallurgical Plant entered Alcoa, one of the world’s largest producers of alumina, primary aluminum and fabricated aluminum.
Today Alcoa SMZ is one of the largest Russian producer of fabricated aluminum. The market share of Alcoa SMZ for aluminum rolled products in Russia is about 40%. The plant produces a wide range of flat-rolled products, extrusions, die-forgings of all kinds of aluminum alloys in compliance with international and Russian standards.