JSC KAMPO, which has passed the way from the design bureau of oxygen-respiratory equipment of the USSR Minaviaprom to a diversified enterprise for the development and production of various types of equipment, this year celebrates its 60 anniversary. In connection with this significant event, our correspondent met with the General Director of the company Alexander Y. Kulik.
"MIC": Alexander Y., with what your company came to this significant date?
- We have kept all the traditional lines of work of our enterprise. Since its foundation, the company has always been engaged in the development and production of products, primarily in aviation and marine topics. Almost immediately, following them, back in the 50s, very active work began in the field of life support systems for manned space exploration (Yuri Gagarin's oxygen device, KP-55 product, with which Alexei Leonov first went into open space, several others) , as well as systems for the laboratory-training base of the Cosmonaut Training Center. In parallel with this, work was begun and continues to this day in the field of creating medical equipment, primarily for emergency medicine and assisting in the field (mechanical ventilation apparatus, inhalation anesthesia). The first breathing apparatus for firefighters were also created within the walls of our enterprise. In total, over the years hundreds of samples have been developed, which are then mass-produced and actively used. Initially, the enterprise was part of the 7th Main Directorate of the MAP of the USSR. After the corporatization carried out in 1993, organizational changes took place - the enterprise passed into the status of a joint stock company. Today KAMPO OJSC continues to remain in the list of strategic enterprises approved by the Government of the Russian Federation.
Over the years of its existence, a design school has been created, a production and technical complex, which allows us to develop further now.
"MIC": Tell, please, about new scientific developments.
- I will allow myself some digression, since the question is painful. It cuts the ear a bit when directors of purely industrial enterprises seriously talk about science, which allegedly thrives in their enterprises, about technologies that "have no analogues in the world." I confess: we are not engaged in science, but we are engaged in technology. Still different things. Real scientific data that can be used in work, the development of new technology, we, of course, are necessary. I would like on some basis to receive them from specialized scientific organizations. However, where in our country science is now hiding, in particular applied science, I personally don’t know.
In principle, three types of scientific activities can be relevant to our work:
1) is the departmental science involved in the formation of the technical policy of the relevant services, models of the use of technical means used;
2) science, creating a product in the form of new technologies in demand in our production, as well as means of optimizing production;
3) in relation to our specifics - research in the field of physiology, the creation of breathing mixtures, heating equipment, assessment of dangerous external influencing factors.
So, for those eighteen years that I have been working at the enterprise, nothing really useful for the cause in the mentioned areas of national science has ever appeared (despite the fact that, believe me, we actively communicate with our colleagues and try to keep our nose to the wind). New machines - yes, instruments - yes, materials - yes, software - yes (almost everything, unfortunately, has been done abroad). That is, some kind of science (also not ours) became the basis for the creation of the above-mentioned machines, devices and other things that we buy in the form of ready-made technical solutions, but in the areas on the basis of which we already produce our products - unfortunately, the merits of the domestic science is not observed.
We also have to deal with businessmen who are enthusiastically learning budget money under the guise of developing “promising areas”, and with good-natured dreamers who believe that they have submitted a promising idea, made a couple of reports with presentations - and this is enough, then everything should go by itself. There is no understanding that any good idea continues to be so and cannot be applied in production until it becomes a commodity, I apologize for this word. If this is a concept, it must be properly formalized and approved so that we can orient ourselves towards it, and not necessarily within the framework of paid R & D. We are quite ready and have already worked on some topics and continue to work in an initiative manner, but I would like to focus on a slightly clear customer’s vision. If this technology - it must be tested, provided with equipment, materials, documentation. If these are any biomedical issues that can form the basis of our technical solutions, they should be brought to the level of governing documents and then we can rely on them. We often deal with research reports, the real value of which cannot be extracted. There are examples when the authors of the report themselves, while developing the TTZ for OCD, do not rely on their own R & D.
The departmental, in particular, military science, and in the past has not been very bright with the achievements in the development of concepts for the use of forces and means, models for the use of technology, has simply collapsed in recent years. The reasons for this fall are many, and not all of them arose in the period of recent reforms. There are no new thoughts, proposals, concepts, just a professional discussion of urgent issues. If the industry, in turn, offers something - in most cases it encounters a categorical denial (without special arguments), endless correspondence, fear of the slightest responsibility. If there is absolutely nothing to object to - “do it, but we will not sign anything and dedicate our time to writing reports about what we warned, expressed fear,” in general, worked hard. As a result, the so-called scientific (military-scientific) support of OCD, as well as subsequent exploitation, in many cases results in absolute profanation. I do not want to blame indiscriminately all the workers of the departmental science, there are quite a few decent people and specialists among them, but we still interact with scientific organizations as a whole, and this is where the confusion described above begins. I would like, of course, to be an optimist, I hope the situation will gradually begin to change for the better, yet we have the same goal of work. Probably, the above is not very suitable for a jubilee interview, but it is too painful a question. I think that if the fellow directors read this, they will understand me.
By the way, I will take this opportunity to thank your esteemed publication: when I am hungry for competent analytics, I read some articles with pleasure, not only on our subject matter - the authors' approach to the issue under consideration is interesting, in some cases it gives rise to analogies with our affairs .
"MIC": Have you in recent years, any new areas of work, new market sectors?
Even in traditional sectors, we take on new areas of work. In recent years, we have been very actively engaged in the repair of weapons and military equipment. And not only the equipment that was developed at our enterprise, such as, for example, rescue equipment of a submariner, but also completely different products that were not originally developed by our enterprise, in particular, mobile recompression stations PRS-VM on a vehicle chassis, sump pumps and other products. All these contracts were executed by us under the conditions of the most severe shortage of time, lack of spare parts, in some cases - documentation and much more needed for a complete repair. The efforts of our specialists in the shortest possible time created the conditions for the successful implementation of these contracts. It really was a very hard and unusual work for us. I am glad to inform you that we have not received a single complaint regarding the repairs we carried out.
Another example is the production of diving, including combat knives, flippers, diving shoes. We didn’t do this because of the good life - it’s just that when performing the ROC in the interests of the RF Ministry of Defense and the MIA of the RF Ministry of Internal Affairs, we were unable, for various reasons, to fulfill the customer’s requirements for conducting the ROC components for these products by engaging specialized enterprises. I had to carry out the development and development of production independently. But now all the mentioned products of our production are basic in the market.
In addition to the traditional directions for us, we gradually master the market sectors in which we had not previously been present, in particular, very serious and difficult work for us in the field of shipbuilding began last year.
This certainly has a great background. Since we have been engaged in equipping ships and vessels for many years, primarily for the Navy Fleet, with various diving, fire fighting and rescue equipment, in our development we somehow gradually came to the realization of new conceptual approaches already in the creation of search and rescue and technical watercraft. Our experts have prepared a concept for the development of search and rescue vessels of naval basing centers, which was approved by the Commander-in-Chief. To date, we proactively began the design and construction of the lead vessel. We have brought into this project both our experience in creating technical equipment for diving and rescue, and the experience of our partners, in particular Tetis Pro, in the field of search and survey equipment, and our vision of using these tools. Many former officers of the Navy work in our group of companies, and their practical experience is extremely important in the correct formation of the goals, objectives and the corresponding technical appearance of these ships.
The decision to create a shipbuilding direction was given to us quite difficult, not only because it took quite serious funds, but also because it was a new direction in general and we had to discuss a lot, from different angles to consider, evaluate all the risks that connected. Ultimately, the Board of Directors made this decision, and I hope that it was the right one. A very active work is underway now: the relevant team has been assembled, a huge production preparation has been carried out, a workshop with an area of over 3000 square meters has been involved, we continue to improve the design of the products, to work out the technology. In the summer of this year, the lead ship will be set afloat and presented to the general public.
In addition, we began work in the framework of the RATNIK design and development work on the creation of combat knives and bayonet knives for the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation, which was a natural continuation of the aforementioned activity on the creation of diving knives. Having acquired some experience in this field in recent years, we have found it possible for us to offer our services to the customer, to propose our samples on our own initiative. Recently we were notified that our samples were recognized as the best among those submitted for preliminary tests. We hope that in the future we will successfully carry out state tests in the composition of the new combat equipment and this product line will serve to further improve the weapons and equipment of our army.
Of course, all this diverse work would have been impossible without three components.
Organizational component development and production activities. Over the years we have come to the conclusion that not one of the ROCs, including those carried out under an agreement with the customer, that is, in the matter of financing, is performed without an appropriate market study in order to have a clear idea of how real this product is in demand the market and to what extent the costs that we incur in the course of this development and production preparation will continue to pay off. The most important point is that we are still at the stage of sample creation trying to analyze how much the planned cost and, accordingly, the price of these products will be perceived by the market. You can create an excellent sample that will cost unaffordable funds for the customer and, accordingly, will not be used anywhere. This prospect does not attract us, therefore all aspects of both commercial and economic work are considered by us at the earliest stages.
The quality management system of the enterprise has been introduced and certified. This area of work is paid much attention. All the main processes are described, moreover, with the active participation of the heads of departments and leading specialists who are directly responsible for these processes. Each process passes the “running in” procedure, is implemented and regularly updated. The principle is this: if you think that something is wrong in the governing document - give a suggestion for an adjustment. Until an adjustment is made - be kind, do what is.
An important aspect of organizational activity is, of course, the transition to a new, more modern system of production planning and management. We have carried out serious work on the development and implementation of the new system.
What do I mean by "development"? The fact is that our company still grew out of a design office and pilot production. Strictly speaking, we never had a fully-fledged serial production, so our task consisted of two parts: first, to create the planning and management system itself, which, frankly, was not even in the Soviet understanding of twenty-five years ago; secondly, to make it automated - working on the basis of modern management, including on the basis of appropriate software. For this, first a large and, frankly, difficult work was carried out on our own understanding and development of our approaches, identifying all the risks, all the problems that are associated with it, and then - working on the selection of appropriate software. After a long search, we focused on Microsoft products, MS Dynamics AX, which we have been implementing over the last two years, of course, with our own big problems, but at the same time with absolute faith in the result. And I must say that although this work has not yet been completed in full, it already gives its visible results. With the growth rates of production that we have gained in recent years, manual planning, built on specific key figures that hold the main aspects of this planning in mind, would have ended a production collapse long ago. It was very important (and not easy!) To understand that the program itself cannot plan anything, for this it should be based on a methodical approach that is acceptable specifically for our company and its specifics, and, of course, people who continue all this accompany, guide, maintain a database.
This topic is also a subject for our small pride, we consider all this very important.
The technical component. The reconstruction and technical re-equipment of the production, as well as the test complex. The basis of the machine park of mechanical production is currently the newest high-performance machining turning and milling centers made in Japan.
New equipment for molding plastics, tool production, a number of other industries and technological processes were purchased and put into operation.
The development of new types of products and their production are carried out with the use of modern computer-aided design (CAD).
Quality Control Department is equipped with the latest testing equipment.
Designed and manufactured unique test equipment and stands for deep-sea testing of breathing apparatus and rescue equipment for the Navy, as well as apparatus for firefighters and rescuers.
Large funds, as I mentioned, are invested in the shipbuilding industry.
Reconstruction and repair of buildings and structures were carried out, new furniture was purchased, windows were replaced, air-conditioning systems were installed. Maybe this sounds somewhat prosaic, but we believe that without creating normal production and living conditions, it is impossible to organize the activities of a modern enterprise.
And the third is, of course, the personnel component. I will not be original if I say that there are many problems here. Unfortunately, in recent years, not very many people want to work in industry, in particular, this also applies to workers and engineering and technical workers.
What we are doing in this direction: it is certainly an attempt to create a relatively benevolent microclimate in the enterprise, combined, of course, with certain requirements of discipline and internal labor regulations, we have a close to perfect order in the divisions, cleanliness directly in the workplace, the corresponding measures for labor protection, fire safety. Not forgotten, and material incentives, promoting healthy lifestyles. In general, everything that we think can really be done for people is done at the enterprise. We managed, as far as possible, to keep the main core, which remained from Soviet times. Of course, many veterans have already left the company, but there are quite a few people who started their working biography in the USSR, who took the “Soviet hardening” in the good sense of the word, which they only developed and brought their experience and knowledge to all piggy bank of our company. Now they bring up young people, who still come, still work and are already starting to show good results.
Of course, the enterprise has the Collective Agreement, takes into account all social benefits and guarantees, both provided by law and supported by us on our own initiative.
"MIC": My next question is about technology. Tell me, what product samples have appeared recently?
- Probably, it is necessary to answer in sections:
In a brief interview it is impossible to tell about all the work carried out even in recent years, I mentioned only the main topics.
"MIC": How do you see the prospects of the enterprise?
- I hope that they are quite optimistic. In recent years, we have taken such overclocking and mastered so many new directions and types of products that even in the event of some fluctuations in some markets, we can maintain stability by working on others. Moreover, we are not working alone. Close and fruitful cooperation with sales structures, partners in foreign production cooperation allows us to plan our development calmly and look ahead with confidence.