Rivals need to step aside

Belarusian BelAZ striving for top place rather than honourable second among three dump truck global leaders

By Yevgeny Bogomazov

The company plans not only to raise production volumes of large and extremely large trucks (from today’s 500 to 1,000 annually) but to be the first to produce a 450 tonne capacity quarry truck.

The vehicle is currently under design, explains the First Deputy General Director for Technical Issues and Development, Chief Engineer Vladimir Volchok. The plan is to manufacture the truck within the next year or so. Meanwhile, BelAZ is launching its greatest reconstruction to date.

“We’ve already achieved the level of production seen in the 1990s,” Mr. Volchok notes. “At that time, nobody would have guessed that we’d produce vehicles of over 60 tonne capacity. Transportation costs fall as load capacity rises, giving improved economies of scale. We occupy second place on the global market for 130 to 160 tonne capacity trucks (the most popular size). However, serious modernisation is needed to ensure further development. Our main task now is to produce 1,000 trucks of large and extremely large capacity annually.”

Several major projects are to be realised at the plant over the coming 2-3 years, with the focus on the creation of 90-450 tonne trucks. The construction of facilities for building trucks of large and extremely large carrying capacity has been launched in Zhodino (the major site — covering an area of over 60,000sq.m.). There are also plans to launch the production of spare parts on the site. Kuzlitmash JSC is to set up Belarus’ unique facility for ring rolling, enabling the enterprise to make pieces for gear-wheels and side wheels.

BelAZ also initiated wagon building in Belarus. “Production is unfolding at the Mogilev Wagon Building Plant — the most rapidly developing within BelAZ,” emphasises Mr. Volchok. “In 2010, it manufactured over 1,000 wagons and, last year, produced over 1,500 — of all types. In 2012, around 500 wagons were produced in the first two months alone. We’ve studied demand and now plan an output of 5,000 wagons annually. A business plan is currently being prepared, detailing every stage of reconstruction. Moreover, the production of wheel pairs has been established (enjoying great demand in the CIS).

The project is worth almost $40m, with the tender for equipment supply won by the Minsk Plant of Automated Lines. By late 2012, produce should be supplied to BelAZ’s Mogilev site, with assembly following in early 2013. Another avenue for development is foundry production, as we still lack sufficient to meet our own demands, requiring import from Russia. A business plan has been agreed to set up foundry production in Mogilev, requiring over $200m of investment.”

Almost all BelAZ produce is exported. In 2008, this generated revenue of $593m for the head enterprise alone. In 2011, the figure surpassed $1bn, making it among the few ‘billion Dollar generating’ companies globally. The competitiveness of Belarusian machinery on the global market could rise once foundry production is established, ensuring independence from imports. BelAZ rivals may need to step aside.

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