Aleksin Plant of Heavy Industrial Valves - Tyazhpromarmatura
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History of JSC "Tyazhpromarmatura"

The role of Tula gunsmiths, the founders of many plants in European part of Russia and the Urals, in development of metallurgical industry of the 18th century is significant. These are the dynasties of Demidovs, Batashovs, Mosolovs and other smaller manufacturers.  

Over the 18th century the Demidovs, Batashovs and Mosolovs founded and acquired 87 plants, by the end of the 19th century they owned 50 of them.

The first metallurgical plants in European part of Russia were built on the banks of the rivers because water was required for production of cast iron and iron as well as for articles` treatment. Water moved mill-wheels by means of which the bellows of smith`s forges and blast furnaces worked, large hammers lowered and heaved, drills and grinding machines operated. The building of the plant began from the construction of the dam which was necessary to bear the required level of water for mill-wheels turning. 

The founder of Myshega plant and of the industrial Mosolovs dynasty was Tula gunsmith Maxim Perfiljevich Mosolov. The personal example of Nickita Demidov, who had already built several water iron works by that time, and the fact that he had personally taken part in construction of Tula Arms Plant suggested Mosolov the idea to build his own water works.

On the 8th of July 1728 Maxim Mosolov forwarded a petition to Berg-collegium for building "Water iron works" and on the 2nd of August he was granted permission to build the works.

Myshega iron works produced the first melting at the end of 1729. It was an iron works typical for its time with water actuation, with blast furnace, hammer barn and smith`s forge. Metal was smelted there for sale and for making simple articles, mainly dishes and other household articles. Impoverished peasants and handicraftsmen worked as wage labourers at the plant. The plant melted finery iron. It was of low quality because of its inhomogeneity and shortness, but it was much cheaper than imported "swess" (Swedish) iron.

In the middle of 1753 the Mosolov brothers owned eight metallurgical works, six of which were located in the European part of Russia and two in the Urals. It was the prime of Mosolovs` business.

The period from 1753 till 1760 brought about a serious shock for Mosolovs` business. In 1753 one of Mosolovs` works was closed down by Berg-collegium. In 1954 a Senate order appeared that prescribed annihilation within a radius of 200 km from Moscow of all metallurgical works, glass works and distilleries that used timber for fuel and two more Mosolovs` works were closed down. But Myshega works, which was to be closed down by that order, remained active for melting iron and cast iron for Tula Arms Plant.

The founder of industrial dynasty of the Mosolovs, Maxim Perfiljevich, died in 1767. His sons divided what was left of the heritage. Myshega blast furnace and hammer works passed to the youngest son Antipa, who multiplied the profits of his dynasty. Over the 18th century the Mosolovs owned 15 metallurgical works, two of which were copper works and thirteen – blast furnace and hammer works. 

In the 18th century Russia made wars against Turkey for outlet to the banks of the Azov Sea and the Black Sea. During that period Myshega works cast cannons called falconet for land forces and navy. Cannon falconet, which was used for fortresses attack, weighted 250 kg, barrel caliber – 75 mm. Distance of ball flight was 1000 steps.

On the 2nd of July 1808 the ownership for Myshega works passed to Chesmenskiy A.A. At that time some reconstructions took place and the works started production of art castings.

During the Patriotic War of 1812 Chesmenskiy was a head of Kaluga people`s volunteer corps and his woks manufactured products for military service (production of balls of different caliber, grenades and case-shots). Myshega workers were the part of people`s volunteer corps and took an active part in actions against French invaders.

After the Napoleon troops had been driven out of Russia, Myshega plant specialized in manufacturing of art casting. Plant`s products – tomb monuments, architectural castings, park and garden railings – began to appear in Moscow, Kiev, Tula and other large Russian cities. A fine example of Myshega casters` craftsmanship is the enclosure of Alexandre garden round the Moscow Kremlin. After another change of the owner the plant became even more famous for its art casting: cast iron arches, columns, sculptural ornaments and monuments, made at the plant, are a part of architectural ensembles, created by great Russian architectures.

Among them are famous monuments of the Patriotic War of 1812: a great triumphal arch, constructed in Moscow in 1829-1834, design of architect Bove O.I.; monument in Tarutino of Kaluga Region, near which one of the main battles of the Patriotic War of 1812 took place. Most cast iron sculptural details of triumphal arch and monument were made at Myshega plant.

During the period of the Crimea War 1853-1856 the plant performed orders of Military Ministry for production of bombs and cannon balls. The plant was passing from one owner to the other till 1895 when the "society of Myshega mine works" was organized and new owners (company "Spits-Stuken and Co") stared to expand and to reconstruct the plant. The old blast furnace, which used charcoal as fuel, was replaced by a new one with gasholders and a mechanical hoist. Coke was used there for melting cast iron. The pipe-casting production was reequipped with some cupolas, machine shop was expanded. A new railway branch line was opened, it connected the plant with the station Aleksin of the Syzran-Vyazma railway, water-pipes were laid in the settlement. All those innovations helped Myshega plant reach the level of up-to-date metallurgical works.

In 1897 Myshega plant with a quarry and iron mines went into the ownership of Belgian stock company of Tula blast furnaces, which built Sudakov (now Kosogorsk) metallurgical works in 1896. At that period the plant was equipped with a power station, new power units and mechanical equipment. Product output increased and the quality got better. A large amount of dishes (washstands, mortars, stewing dishes, mugs), bathtubs and irons was transported on barges along the Oka to fair in Nizny Novgorod and sometimes to Middle Asia and Persia.

At the beginning of 1900 another world economic crisis broke out, it affected many branches of Russian industry and Myshega plant as well. The workers began to disorder. In February 1906 Belgian stockholders closed down the plant. Within several days all the workers were discharged, many of them had to move to other towns and villages to earn their living.   

On the 15th of February 1913 the enterprise was put into service again. The plant became a stock company which went to newly established Russian-Belgian stock company titled "Tula ironworks". On the eve of the World War I it turned into a large technically equipped enterprise. During the World War I the plant switched over to manufacturing of shells, mines, grenades.

After the October Revolution of 1917 and Civil War Myshega plant remained the only acting pipe-casting plant in the central part of Russia. It was not easy but the plant continued producing cast-iron pipes for water supply system, hydraulic columns, boxes, break blocks, bearings and other casts for railway transport.

In the second half of 1921 and in the first half of 1922 the plant only performed the order of Kashira Hydropower Station, firstling of Soviet electrification, for special iron-cast pipes and fittings for them. Because of coke shortage there was a risk of order failure. On the 12th of August 1921 Lenin V.I. sent a telephone message to the Governance of Fuel Industry of RSFSR that said "supply Myshega ironwork with one thousand poods of coke for urgent casting for Kashirstroy within ten days".
Coke was delivered and the plant honorably discharged the order. 

In 1925 pre-revolutionary outcome of production was improved. By the end of  the reconstruction period the plant satisfied 25% demand of the country in water pipes. It took the third place among manufacturers of that product and provided 50% of total country production of fittings for pipes.

In 1936 the plant secured an extraordinary order – to do art casting for lighting column for Moscow and Sochi. Numerous lighting columns, skillfully done by Myshega craftsmen, decorated the Kremlin, Tverskaya Street, VDNH, as well as Sochi`s squares and boulevards.

In those years the plant mastered the production of hydraulic columns for railway transport.

Industrialization of the country continued and the demand for stop pipeline valves rose. The government ordered to Myshega plant to master those production items. Since the end of 1938 the plant was titled Myshega valve plant, and since February 1972 – Aleksin plant "Tyazhpromarmatura".

The main types of stop pipeline valves were wedge, disk, slide gate valves. Valves were installed on the pipelines of small diameters. Check valves and hose valves were used infrequently. The plant started mastering of valve production from gate valves manufacturing. Product mix was rather rich: DN 100-1600, PN 2,5-100 atmospheres. It was not easy to master the products, workers had to perceive fine workmanship and to meet delivery times. 

New Hydro-electric Power Stations, Heat and Power Stations, metallurgical works were built and all of them required valves. The plant`s products were delivered to such new buildings as DneproGES, Magnitka, Moscow metro. Check valves for pipelines of diameter from 200 up to 2200 mm, hose valves were soon manufactured.

As gas branch of industry developed in the country in past-war years the plant had the main task – to master the production of valves for natural gas transportation.

It was a new stage in the development of the plant as production of valves for gas industry would take the largest part of capacities and values. Onrush of new branch required new efficient engineering solutions and technologies. Foreign firms, expecting great demand and large profits, took the lead in the market. So the plant had to compete with western companies. 

At the beginning of 50s of the 20th century the plant mastered production of plug cocks for gas pipelines DN 50-700 mm, intended for 64 atmospheres. 

Attempts to use classical gate valve design for gas valves didn`t succeed. Leak-proofness of the valves didn`t meet the requirements of the branch and resulted heavy losses. It was decided to manufacture plug cocks and specialists of the plant had to solve a lot of problems before the plug cocks were delivered to pipelines. It was hard to achieve leak-proofness for that type of construction because it is almost impossible to make two ideal conical surfaces. Gas got to the gaps. But engineers filled those gaps with special thick lubricant and solved two tasks: first, it prevented gas leak, second, lubricant between two surfaces reduced friction and it improved pneudraulic actuator capacity that drove the valve. It, in turn, allowed to reduce the actuator`s weight.  

It is significant to note that machine-tool industry left much to be desired and didn`t support the machinery industry with required machines. So plant personnel had to modernize existing metalworking machines in order to meet strict requirements of the customer.

From year to year gas industry increased volume of gas delivery to power engineering industry, metallurgical industry, chemical industry but plug cocks appeared to be a brake for flow capacity of gas pipelines because the plug reduced gas pipeline section for 30%. Valves, free of that defect, were required.

In 60s western firms were the first to solve that task: a design of new valve was developed. It was a ball valve with a ball of regular shape as a shut-off device and the nominal valve size was equal to pipeline size. Ball valve design made it possible to enlarge gas pipeline size up to 1400 mm and to build up pressure up to 80, 125 and 160 atmospheres. Gas industry progressed rapidly.

The plant was able to compete again. But the plant faced the problem of lack of equipment for balls manufacturing. Plant personnel designed and assembled special machines for processing of spherical surfaces. But it was not enough for volume production of ball valves. Thanks to gas industry a lot of turn and grind machines for processing of balls with diameter up to 700 mm was purchased. The plant capacities raised that allowed to satisfy the demand of gas enterprises.    

After that design and engineering solutions, made by the plant specialists, as well as successful cooperation with the partners allowed to develop ball valve production. Leak-proofness of shut-off device was improved, friction was reduced, the number of dismountable parts was also reduced, the valve became lighter because more developed actuators were used, a new design of remote control unit was applied. The plant purchased unique special machines of Russian and foreign machine-tool firms. As a result of technical re-equipment all finishing operations in valve units and parts production were made on special machines and machining centers that ensured high accuracy.

In the early 90s the plant "Tyazhpromarmatura" completely mastered production of ball valves with diameter from 50 up to 1400 mm for gas transporting pipelines. These ball valves meet the requirements of international standards. 

In November 1992 the plant was privatized and became a public joint stock company – PJSC "Tyazhpromarmatura".

The plant played a great role in industry development in our country as well as abroad. Valves were supplied to more than 40 countries of the world. Such enterprises as Bkhilajsk metallurgical plant in India, Asuansk dam in Egypt, Heat and Power Station in Pakistan, China and some countries of Arab East were constructed with the use of valve of Aleksin origin.

The plant took an active part in formation of nuclear energy sector of USSR supplying stop valves and safety valves for all nuclear stations under construction on the territory of USSR (Novovoronezhsk, Kolsk, Leningrad, Chernobyl, Ignalinsk, Smolensk, Zaporozhsk Nuclear Power Stations) and abroad where Nuclear Power Stations were constructed according USSR designs ("Loviisa" in Finland, "Kozloduy" in Bulgaria, "Nord" in GDR, "Paksh" in Hungary and others).

To produce valves for Nuclear Power Stations the plant had to train personnel and to prepare production. Complex welding of critical weld seams was mastered as well as destructive and non-destructive inspection methods. Afterwards inspection method used for Nuclear Power Stations valves were applied for gas industry valves.

Today Aleksin plant of heavy industrial valves is the largest enterprise in Russia which specializes in manufacturing of pipeline valves for different branches of industry.

Product mix of the plant is constantly developed to meet the requirements of the market. In 1997 they made a decision to master production of slide gate valves for oil pipelines. In November of the same year an pilot model of slide gate valve DN 350 mm was manufactured and in spring of 1998 after its testing the slide gate valve was recommended for serial production. Specialists and workers of PJSC "Tyazhpromarmatura" step by step mastered and improved production of slide gate valves, expanding the product range.

At the beginning of 2006 the plant got an order for slide gate valves for oil pipeline "East Siberia – Pacific Ocean". To implement the project the enterprise prepared and mastered production of equipment which had no analogs in Russia or abroad.

Strict requirements to quality, safety and ecological compatibility of all the project formed respective requirements to the pipeline valves. Increased pressure, high differential pressure at shut-off device (up to 100 atm.), seismic resistance up to 10 points per MSK scale, operation in hard climatic conditions – this is not the full range of requirements to slide gate valves announced by customers. 

Much work was done for that project: new engineering solutions were found, new materials were developed, new equipment was produced and tested. In a shot space of time pilot models of slide gate valves DN 700; 800; 1000; 1200 mm, PN 80-15 MPa for that oil pipeline were designed and produced.
At the end of 2006 the first lot of new valves was shipped to the customer.

In 2008, after a long-term pause, manufacturing of pipeline valves for Nuclear Power Stations was restarted. By the beginning of September the first industrial lot of special valves for nuclear energy sector has been produced – nine wedge gate valves DN 150 mm, Working Pressure 11 MPa for Novovoronezhsk Nuclear Power Station.

The plant masters a wide range of valves for Nuclear Power Stations: wedge gate valves Pp up to 24,5 MPa, check valves Pp up to 20 MPa. The new products of the plant have higher factors of durability and security in comparison with analogs. Stated service life of body parts is 50 years, high-wear parts – 10 years, average performance period – 1400 cycles.

At the present time the plant designers develop a full range of check valves with nominal valve size 300 up to 1200 mm, intended for pressure range 2,5 up to 12,5 MPa. These products are intended for automatic shut-off of pipeline in order to prevent reverse flow of working medium in oil pipelines, process flowsheets of pumping stations and tank farms.

Today the plant implements the program of production technical re-equipment: modern efficient machines are acquired for main and blanks production, equipment for quality control is introduced.

Having a lot of business rivals in Russia and abroad PJSC "Tyazhpromarmatura" gives particular attention to continual quality improvement of manufactured products. In 1997 the plant was one of the fist enterprises which certified its quality management system in accordance with international standard ISO 9001 and obtained the license of American Petroleum Institute per API Spec 6D. At the present time the enterprise has certificate of conformance to ISO 9001:2000 and GOST R ISO 9001-2001.

Plant personnel makes a careful study of customers` requirements, arranges conferences for buyers, introduces new achievements of science and technology in production, takes an active part in international specialized exhibitions. 

In October 2006 General Director of PJSC "Tyazhpromarmatura" Panchenko Igor Vladimirovich was awarded "Valve Oscar" for remarkable achievements in valves production. The award is instituted by international specialized issue "Pipeline valves and equipment". 

The plant gives special attention to social issues. Hundreds of workers and members of their families have rest and get medical care in the plant`s after-works sanatorium every year. Sporting events  take place in the plant`s gym, swimming pool and stadium. Valve manufacturers are concerned about rising generation, the plant supervises kindergartens and day nurseries. Youth recreation centre "Sovremennik" gives opportunity to children to learn dancing, drawing, fashion etc. Vocational school, machine building technical school teaches people who wish to get some working profession.

The enterprise values its history and owns the plant museum rich in the exhibit which reflect life and work of the plant personnel from 1728 up to the present time. 

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