Posted: 16.05.2024 11:19:43

Alloy of quality and craftsmanship

On April 24th, the President of Belarus, Aleksandr Lukashenko, signed Decree No. 174 on placing the winners of the competition on the National Board of Honour. Sixty-four organisations and regions were recognised by the decree as winners for the best indicators in the field of socio-economic development in 2023. Among the leaders is the only manufacturer of multilayer ceramic capacitors in the country, Vitebsk’s Monolit Radio Components Plant (VZRD Monolit OJSC). This is not the first victory for the Vitebsk-based plant — three years ago, it was also listed on the National Board of Honour.

Roaster Danila Ivanov           

Irina Azarchenko, a supervisor of the measurement and inspection section of the enterprise, expressed the general opinion, “Our enterprise is unique for Belarus. Years of uncertainty and doubt have passed. Now we are moving forward in leaps and bounds, production is developing, and our products are in demand both in our native country and abroad. The awareness of our value and support from the government is the best incentive for us, plant workers.”
A huge light workshop, divided into numerous separate sections, is a complex production mechanism that allows obtaining competitive products. Today, Monolit-made multilayer ceramic capacitors are used in a wide variety of industries, including for the production of radio equipment, kitchen appliances, TV sets, computers and telephones, in mechanical engineering and even in aviation, space and nuclear industries. The volume growth rate is really impressive. Aleksandr Shumakher, a director of the plant, noted, “At the beginning of last year we produced about 2.5 million capacitors per month, and by the end of the year — almost 4 million. Demand dictates supply. Belarusian enterprises actively use our products. Permanent shipments are made to large factories in Minsk, Vitebsk, Brest, Gomel, Mogilev and other cities. About 90 percent of our output is exported to Russia, India, Kazakhstan, and Kyrgyzstan. The geography of supplies has expanded this year due to Azerbaijan.”
During Soviet times, Monolit was a plant of nationwide importance. Currently, there are two other similar enterprises operating in the CIS space in addition to Monolit, which are located in St. Petersburg. Therefore, it is not surprising that all Monolit products have the status of import substitution.
The product range includes ten basic models of capacitors. They are the backbone for a wide product line in various design versions. “This is the section for initial operations,” Aleksandr Shumakher made a tour of the production. “Here we carry out metallisation of ceramic plates for future capacitors. The production is sterile, with all parameters of temperature, humidity, dustiness under the round-the-clock control. The new technological equipment that you see offers new opportunities. Earlier we could use a film with a thickness of 30 microns, but now, thanks to the upgraded production, the film is twice as thin.” 
Cutting machine operator Nikolai Arkhipovsky

For the layman, the explanation is like that — the smaller the capacitor and the larger its capacity, the better. Therefore, the constant renewal of the enterprise is a prerequisite for maintaining competitiveness in the global market.
Marina Gornak, a metallisation specialist of the sixth category, understands this very well — she has been working at the enterprise for over 30 years. She is one of the most experienced employees, an all-round craftsman who has mastered all the operations. Indeed, there is no higher category than she has. The specialist is sincerely glad to hear the news about another victory of her native plant in the republican competition. Marina Aleksandrovna shared her thoughts, “Like all my colleagues, I listened attentively to the President’s speech at the Belarusian People’s Congress. His words about Belarusians as a strong nation resonated with me, I liked this very much. In order to maintain this status, we need to become even stronger. This can only be done through the development of industry. After all, a solid economy has always been at the forefront.”
Marina Gornak is sure that the future of the plant depends on every worker of the Monolit plant today, while the fate of the country depends on each enterprise, “Great achievements are born from small victories. We went through the difficult 1990s, the collapse of the USSR. We survived the rupture of economic ties, and years of uncertainty... We thought our plant would never be revived, but the dark days are over. The company today successfully employs about 600 people and produces in-demand products. It is being upgraded and improved. The news about the next entry on the National Board of Honour is a confirmation of this.” 
Other employees of the section joined in the conversation. The main conclusion is that, given the difficult situation in the world, Belarusians should appreciate, cherish and multiply what they have. The plant workers were unanimous in their opinion that the adoption of the National Security Concept and the Military Doctrine at the Belarusian People’s Congress marked a very important step towards further preserving the peace and strengthening the security of our country. 
The work at the Monolit plant is boiling, both literally and figuratively. Thus, furnaces in the roasting section are capable of heating up to 1,300 degrees! The silvering operation follows, where an external electrode is applied to the capacitor. Mikhail Yatsuta, a leading process engineer, closely monitors the operation of the equipment — when subsequently connected to the circuit, small capacitors must reliably store and transmit energy. This will be scrupulously checked by specialists at the measurement site. 
Surprisingly, the tiniest capacitors manufactured at the Monolit plant look like grains of sand. Their size ranges from 1.6 to 0.8 millimetres! Yet, they are able to make the most complex and large mechanism work.  
Vitebsk’s Monolit Radio Components Plant will turn 70 years old next year. It will celebrate its anniversary with dignity by setting new strategic plans. What is important is the consistently progressive dynamics of the company’s development as it enables Monolit workers to strengthen their position in the market every year. Plant employees are working ahead of schedule in 2024, as well. The plant has already manufactured products for over Br20 million — this is significantly more than in the same period last year. Thus, the history of victories continues. 


In 2023, the growth rate of VZRD Monolit OJSC production volume amounted to almost 150 percent, more than $20 million worth of goods were exported, and sales revenue soared by 48 percent. Along with that, the plant managed to reduce the cost of production and sales of products. The growth rate of labour productivity exceeded 109 percent. Investments in the core production made up over Br2.5 million (these are exclusively own funds of the plant), which surpassed the previous year’s indicator by almost 4.5 times.
Finished products measurement site

Roasting section

By Yelena Begunova

Photos by Anton Stepanishchev