Kazan Helicopters launches new painting and finishing workshop

Russian Helicopters, a subsidiary of Oboronprom, part of State Corporation Rostec, announces that Kazan Helicopters has launched a new painting and finishing workshop as part of its ongoing programme of upgrade work. The new facility was opened today in the presence of the President of Tatarstan, Rustam Minnikhanov.

"The construction of the new workshop was driven by the plant's increased production volumes," said Vadim Ligai, General Director of Kazan Helicopters and Deputy CEO of Russian Helicopters. "Using new paint ovens will shorten the helicopter painting cycle by an average of 25-30%, increase application quality and improve working conditions."

The new workshop consists of advanced equipment including seven paint ovens built by Russian company Novateck, a pre-painting processing chamber, and equipment to regulate temperature and humidity during adhesion operations. Before the reconstruction, helicopters were painted in non-segregated premises that also housed the paint ovens. There were also no separate workshops for finishing of components, including VIP cabins, and no isolated areas for pre-painting surface preparation or design of fuel tanks and other parts.

The cost of constructing and outfitting the new workshop was about RUB 467 million. The investment has increased the throughput capacity by 50%, while the painting cycle has reduced from nine to five hours. Another important benefit is that the new equipment will increase energy efficiency, reducing electricity costs by lowering consumption.

Upgrading production capacities is a key aim of Russian Helicopters' ongoing drive to create a dynamic and globally competitive helicopter industry. Russian Helicopters launched this extensive programme in 2008, and has made significant investments: in 2013 investment in production capacities totalled RUB 8.3 billion, an increase of 8.5% on the previous year.

Work began in 2008 on upgrading and technical refitting at Kazan Helicopters and the rest of Russia's helicopter industry. Today the plant has an investment programme through 2018 that includes around 15 individual investment projects. Since work began, the plant's machining production facilities have been completely reconstructed: two automated production lines by Mazak have been installed for production of components, each of which requires a single operator per shift. The lines can work for 8 hours unsupervised, which means that they can operate around the clock. Labour productivity is 2-2.5 times higher than for traditional machining centres, and more than 20 times greater than using general-purpose equipment.

Upgrade work of the plant's warehousing facilities and logistics is also nearing completion, while reconstruction of the assembly, galvanising and other production facilities is underway. In total the plant plans to spend RUB 12.245 billion on reconstruction and upgrade work. 

Kazan Helicopters produces Mi-8/17 series helicopters that are operated in over 100 countries worldwide. A wide range of configurations are produced: transport, passenger, search and rescue, landing and transport, among many others. Preparations are underway to launch production of the Mi-38 passenger transport helicopter. Since 1997, Kazan Helicopters has been certified to develop helicopter technology: today the light twin-engine Ansat helicopter is in series production.

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