From technician to General Director

Please meet Andrey Kuzmin who is General Director of large innovative production Aktobe Rail and Section Works (ARBZ) which was put into operation in the framework of Industrialization Map of the Republic of Kazakhstan and which has no analogues along the whole territory of CIS.

To be in control of such unique plant means a great trust but it is also a huge responsibility. The more so that two years ago production was started personally by the President of the State Nursultan Nazarbayev during nationwide TV satellite bridge.     

Andrey Anatolyevich considers himself a happy man as far as he took part in realization of such largest advanced project since its first days. He himself is a native of Aktobe. Back then he graduated with honors from regional State University. He had worked for TPP (thermal power plant), then in construction industry. He was at the head of one of branches of famous domestic companies. It was exactly that period when by the will of fate he was invited to be a part of team of the main founder of the project for construction of ARBZ.            

Today, Andrey Kuzmin remembers with a smile how a location was selected in 2012 for construction of the future production plant, how the first peg was driven into the ground where free wind is walking in the bare steppe. He fairly confessed that at that time someone even doubted the reality of the construction of such giant plant in a very short time. However, when a big construction operation was started, all these doubts disappeared and it became a truly nationwide construction project. Dozens of companies and hundreds of highly qualified specialists were attracted from all regions of the country, including those from near and far abroad. In short, continuous working process had been provided to all sites. For the construction of the main building only with area of 52,5 thousand sq.m. there were used 110 thousand tons of concrete, 34 thousand tons of steel structures.  On the whole territory of the enterprise equaling to 72 hectares there will be constructed and put into operation 34 facility objects. Huge work had been done during the installation and commissioning of the latest technologies according to European standard, automated rolling mill in the enterprise. The enterprise has been started up in a very short period.

Andrey Anatolyevich says, “The production is unique one, and simply saying, it allows to get rails of various modifications by pressing one button only.

In this spring, the products have been successfully certified and gained Certificate of Conformance and this standard meets the requirements of the customers from the whole countries of the European Union. The first lot of 120 m long rails was supplied to the domestic market by order of National Company Kazakhstan Temir Zholy.”

In order to move away a bit from the production topic, I asked the interlocutor to tell about himself, in particular how is that possible that having pedagogical education in “physics, mathematics, informatics” he suddenly immersed himself in the technical sphere.

He smiled, “The fact that educational work is not for me I understood only at the last years of study at the university. Upon completion of higher educational institute I deliberately went to work for TPP as an ordinary fitter which shall not be amazement to you. I repaired boilers, turbines…. I have no regrets. For me it became as a labour school.”

At that enterprise, he has acquired good skills and experience, he has risen to deputy chief engineer. There were difficult 90s, when it was irregular payment of wages and various difficulties appeared. But this only hardened him, taught to be organized, to believe in his power. In 2006, he moved from the energy sector in construction industry, where he occupied the job title of Technical Director in one of the divisions and then he became Director of Branch. Thus, life consistently prepared him for more harder work, unexpected, but an interesting twist of fate.

Within the years of working in TPP he got married. “We are familiar with Marina since being students. And now already 19 years since we are together.” They are raising a 14-years-old son. His name is Mikhail.

Andrey Anatolyevich says, “Family is sacred. It is my reliable base. I feel its support and understanding in all things. And it gives power. Mikhail is more involved in creation, he practices dancing in theater group. It is his choice. Anyway I cherish hope that he will proceed my business.”

We again proceeded talk about the plant.

A.Kuzmin says, “I have a big staff. Payroll schedule foresees 863 employees. Recruitment of specialists was carried out upon demand of the plant considering its reaching the project capacity. 90% of the staff is local employees. People came to working from Pavlodar, Astana, Kostanai, Karaganda, Almaty, Uralsk… In fine, from the whole country. Also, we attract specialists from near and far abroad countries who have specific skills which are just simply non-available in Kazakhstan. Today, almost 6 families work from Russia and Ukraine. They are rolling professionals who shall teach our specialist to be the same.”

Head of ARBZ company very warmly tells on his labor staff. Average age of its members is 30 years. The guys are competent, many of them are graduators of high educational institutes. It is not surprise that having worked 3-4 months and getting acquainted with commissioning process they successfully go through the way from a sling man to head of shift.

I asked A.Kuzmin, “Since the Certificate is received if the conveyer production is already arranged at the plant?”

He answers, “Definitely. At the first year of startup, we planned to produce about 140 thousand tons. It results from the fact of obtaining additional skills, adjusting the operation process. Total productivity of the plant comprises 430 thousand tons and we decided to reach the designed capacity within the scheduled time. However, to start with 140 thousand tons as a beginning it is also a challenge because maintenance schedule does not foresee it. There is no such practice in the world as to build a plant for 2,5 years, then to master production of rails for 6 months and to reach the designed capacity for 1,5 years. There were no such precedents before. But we will overcome even that.

– If the products will be sold only on domestic market?

– Not only. We have specific contract for selling the rails in significant quantities in Uzbekistan, Tajikistan. Not long time ago we have registered at commodity marker of the Republic of Belarus. They are also ready to buy. Special interest to our products is demonstrated by other potential customers. The product attracts first of all by its high quality, durability and strength. This is confirmed during the process of cycle testing in Laboratory conditions. Our rail is differentiated, heat-strengthened and it can be used on tracks with quite intensive load. And it is its unique. It weathered all tests required for certification according to National standard which in turn is fully synchronized with European standard of quality.

– How many cycle tests can weather the usual rail?

– For simple comparison our rail weathered 7,5 million of cycles and rail of one of the competitors just 250 thousand. So make conclusions.

A.Kuzmin is strongly secured of the fact that technology which is applied at the plant both in rolling of rails and in thermal hardening, cambering, straightening is the best in the world! With its startup Kazakhstan in fact changed the whole market conditions of rails production. It was not occasion that in the nomination The Best Industrial Project of the Year the plant became a winner of special prize of the President Altyn Sapa. This award was personally given by the Head of the State to the Head of Innovative Plant.

Andrey Anatolyevich says, “For me it the unforgettable event in my life and I am proud of that those tasks which were set out for the plant’s staff have been performed with honor – the first rail produced in Kazakhstan came out of the conveyer in the scheduled time. And some time later output of our products consequently enters the phase of usual operating process and the plant every time increases its capacity.”

Extracts: The life consistently prepared him for more harder work, unexpected, but an interesting twist of fate.

7,5 million of cycles  is lifetime of the rails produced by Aktobe Rail and Section Works.