‘Golden’ bearing confidently competes

Minsk Bearing Plant (MPZ) is one of Belarus’ top ten enterprises and is among top three similar enterprises within the CIS in terms of overall production

By Alexander Lesnichenko

Rolling bearings comprise the major share of manufactures at the factory. Reliable and affordable, they enjoy enhanced demand at steel, mining and other industrial enterprises, primarily those located in Russia. They also sell well across the CIS and further abroad. In fact, the plant lacks the capacity to keep up with demand, necessitating large-scale technical modernisation.

Russia, accounting for around 45 percent of export supplies, is the company’s major trading partner, with Belarusian bearings being used in many Russian industrial enterprises. Goods are sold through a distribution network — from Vologda to Vladivostok. Naturally, the plant seeks to continue confidently improving competitiveness but the main selling point of Belarusian bearings is their durability. There was a time when Russian enterprises were lured by cheap Chinese bearings, paying no heed to their quality. They sometimes lasted not even a third of the length of time of their Belarusian counterparts. Since their replacement necessitates the disassembly of half of the rolling mill, it is not an undertaking to be entered into lightly. Clearly, the cheapest path is not always the most efficient. Belarusian bearings are both affordable in price and boast the highest reliability.

Orders come from almost every corner of the world. Alexander Labusov, MPZ’s Director General, notes that a contract has been signed to set up an assembly line of Belarusian bearings in India. However, Russia has been and remains the major vector of collaboration, with Russian bearing plants having ties with MPZ which date from Soviet times — although in a different form.

MPZ has made a true breakthrough in its development. Its recent production of Br8.5bn goods per month has risen to an impressive Br30bn. However, major goals still lie ahead. “We’d like to see Minsk’s Bearing Plant become a world leader,” continues Mr. Labusov.

The factory received a powerful impulse to revival after a visit by President Alexander Lukashenko. In line with his instructions, major modernisation has been launched at MPZ. This should lead to the enterprise rivalling the world’s best producers. Experts from the National Academy of Sciences of Belarus, the State Committee for Science and Technology and the Economy Ministry have worked on the modernisation plan, which has also been approved by the Council of Ministers. Practical works are now underway, with equipment being bought from the best Belarusian and world manufacturers.

Its technical modernisation will primarily tackle the manufacture of rolling bearings, which account for about 20 percent of total output and over 70 percent of the factory’s earnings. Around $70m is to be invested into the plant’s technical re-equipment, which will pay for itself within seven years. Moreover, MPZ has developed and implemented its own programme of technical modernisation, involving its turning, thermal, moulding and grinding lines. Minsk will effectively acquire a new plant.

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