Athletes from Zhodino
[b]The small town of Zhodino, located 60km from Minsk, has many residents keen on weightlifting… as we shall later explore. Its Silach (Strongman) Health and Fitness Club has a triathlete section and has produced Anastasia Novikova, who captured gold at the World Weightlifting Championship in Paris in November 2011. This seemingly fragile woman managed to lift a 237kg barbell, allowing her to be crowned Europe’s strongest woman for the third time. She also won bronze at the 2008 Olympics[/b]Recently, hundreds of Zhodino residents came to see Kirill Shimko pull a BelAZ heavy duty truck (able to carry 55 tonnes of cargo). Belarus’ record breaker in combined heaving events was awarded an honorary diploma by BelAZ’s Director General as a sign of appreciation for another record.
Recently, hundreds of Zhodino residents came to see Kirill Shimko pull a BelAZ heavy duty truck (able to carry 55 tonnes of cargo). Belarus’ record breaker in combined heaving events was awarded an honorary diploma by BelAZ’s Director General as a sign of appreciation for another record. Of course, public interest was also inspired by the fact that the Belarusian Automobile Works (BelAZ) is based in Zhodino. Its vehicles have been used in various records and, impressively, over 70 countries worldwide use its machinery. In fact, most Zhodino residents are connected with BelAZ in some way. Why are they so keen on endurance sports though, including weightlifting at the Silach Club?
BelAZ is steadily developing new models and modifications for its machinery, while expanding its production volumes and conquering new markets. In early 2012, twenty 45 tonne dump trucks are to be sold to Indonesia. Meanwhile, the Belarusian giants are already used in China, Australia and the South African Republic. At present, the plant oversees a third of the global market for quarry machinery, exporting 95 percent of its manufacture.
“We are winning large tenders organised by foreign companies who are keen to purchase ever more of our dump trucks,” the General Director of BelAZ JSC, Piotr Parkhomchik, tells us. “In 2010, we took part in a tender in Serbia, which did not previously use dump trucks of high capacity. Eventually, we won, despite competing against world renowned foreign firms. The Serbs bought ten dump trucks from us and, in 2011, purchased another eight without holding a tender. This speaks for itself.”
Dump trucks of high and super-high capacity can carry loads of 220 tonnes or more; these occupy a major share in the plant’s range. Not long ago, BelAZ assembled its first 360 tonne giant: over 9m high and 15m long. Today, the enterprise’s range equals that of famous rivals, despite the fact that dump trucks of high and super-high capacity are enjoying growing demand globally.
The Belarusian Automobile Works plans to produce a unique 450 tonne vehicle in 2013, with customers in Chile and Russia already showing interest. BelAZ is designing its giant to suit these countries’ pits. The cutting edge design uses a new type of engine (since none existed of the necessary power) and new tyres (since none were able to withstand the colossal load). Two engines drive the gigantic vehicle, while dual tyres are installed at the front and rear axles; in time, BelAZ’s related enterprises will produce all the new components themselves. Clearly, BelAZ is pushing forward world automobile design.
“A 450 tonne heavy duty dump truck is a unique technical solution,” noted Belarus’ Prime Minister, Mikhail Myasnikovich, on visiting BelAZ. “To bring it to life, the enterprise is using its intellectual and production potential, while finding sales markets for its new machinery.”
Amazingly, a 560 tonne capacity truck is now being designed, as the technical opportunities for its construction already exist.
The Zhodino-made giants are ever being improved. Not long ago, BelAZ’s new generation cabin won a gold medal at a specialised international exhibition — being more spacious and boasting an electronic system of diagnostics. It is also equipped with a more comfortable seat, a climate control system and a table on which drivers can enjoy a light meal.
“In developing the cabin, we took into account the wishes of our customers. By making drivers comfortable, we improve their working efficiency,” explains the Deputy General Designer of BelAZ, Gennady Boldyrev.
All 90-320 tonne dump trucks being supplied to foreign markets are now equipped with the new cabin. The plant is ever expanding its range and the first 180-190 tonne vehicle is soon to be assembled, while 240 tonne dump trucks are already a reality. In the near future, BelAZ plans to manufacture a 280-290 tonne vehicle. The enterprise is also expanding its range of auxiliary technology for dump trucks.
“We’re currently moving towards heavier duty dump trucks, and a whole complex of quarry machinery to develop mineral deposits,” underlines BelAZ Chief Designer, Oleg Stepuk. “Moreover, our range of machines for underground use is also being developed.”
Impressively, over its 50 years of operation, the company has created around 500 models of quarry machinery (over 135,000 vehicles in total).
BelAZ is also enhancing its plant facilities. In 2011 alone, its industrial output rose about 1.5-fold against the same period of 2010. As the company tells us, by the end of 2011, it had manufactured fourteen 220 tonne dump trucks a month, rising by another two per month in 2012. Its production of 320-360 tonne giants will double. Technology is being constantly updated, with more efficient and, often, unique equipment installed.
By 2015, new production facilities will have been launched at the plant, enabling it to annually manufacture 840 heavy duty dump trucks. In November 2011, Belarus’ Prime Minister, Mikhail Myasnikovich, visited the plant, discussing prospects for development and solemnly laying a time capsule into the foundations of a new production block (for the manufacture of heavy vehicles). The investment project is to cost around $500m. By 2013, the site should be ready for equipment to be installed.
By 2015, BelAZ’s production should be double that of 2010. Simultaneously, Bobruisk’s Belshina JSC is working on new tyres for these giant vehicles. No doubt, a new era is on the horizon for Belarusian quarry machinery.
By Vladimir Yakovlev