Nizhny Tagil, where the parent company, Uralvagonzavod Scientific Production Corporation OJSC, is the birthplace of the first steam locomotive and the largest supplier of freight rolling stock for railways of Russia and the CIS countries, is a tank-city, which gave the country and the world a huge amount of combat vehicles - one of the best on the planet. However, few people know that the beginning of the space age was also largely laid on Tagil land.
The significant flight of Yuri Gagarin would not have taken place without OAO Uralkriomash, an enterprise that is part of the UVZ corporation. Tagil specialists took part in all domestic space programs. Mobile refueling facilities for launch vehicles were developed here, which ensured the launch of not only the Vostok-1 spacecraft, but also the first satellites, as well as the implementation of the Energy-Buran and Sea Launch programs.
In space - in liquid oxygen
In 1946, as a result of the development of long-range combat missiles, which began under the leadership of Sergei Korolev, the country’s nuclear-missile shield was created and prospects for the practical exploration of outer space were opened. New technology required a large amount of liquid oxygen — an oxidizer fuel; therefore, at the beginning of 50, with the development of space research in the Soviet Union, there was a need for means of transporting large quantities of liquid oxygen by rail, which turned out to be an incredibly difficult task. The experience of creating railway tanks for the transport of cryogenic liquids was absent in the country. The solution to this acute problem was entrusted to Uralvagonzavod.
The resolution of the Central Committee of the CPSU and the USSR Council of Ministers as part of the F. Dzerzhinsky State Unitary Enterprise named after F. Dzerzhinsky October 1 of the year created a special design bureau - OKB-1954 for cryogenic equipment and ground launch equipment headed by chief designer Mefody Veremiev, later becoming independent the company is OJSC Uralkriomash. In fact, work on the creation of a cryogenic tank began two years earlier. Therefore, already in the same year, a team of designers developed documentation for a new railway tank for the transport of liquid oxygen - the product 250Г8. The serial production of the novelty, which started at the same time, marked the birth of a new branch in the country - the cryogenic transport engineering.
The complexity of the solved problems was incredibly high. Liquid oxygen reacts with many metals and evaporates quickly. Therefore, for the inner vessel of the tank, the aluminum alloy AMCS, which does not interact with the liquid gas, was selected. Another advantage was its excellent weldability. The space between the inner vessel of the tank and the outer casing was packed with a heat-insulating material - mipora.
In 1954, the future academic Sergei Korolev gave the cryogenics specialists of Uralvagonzavod the technological task of creating refueling facilities (8Г117) and refueling (8Г118) with liquid oxygen from the famous space rocket R-7. In 1956, UVZ began the production of means for filling space launch vehicles with liquid oxygen. With their help, the intercontinental ballistic missile Р-1957 was tested at the cosmodrome Baikonur in August 7 in August - an outstanding achievement of the national rocketry, which still brings spacecraft and Earth satellites into near-earth orbit. Mobile refueling equipment (refueling and refueling operators of liquid oxygen and nitrogen) for the R-7 rocket with powerful cryogenic pumps ensured successful launches of a number of artificial Earth satellites, automatic interplanetary stations and the Vostok spacecraft with the first cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin on board.
When the first and most difficult tasks were solved, the fundamentals of cryogenic production technology were laid, factory specialists began working on the reliability of their products. The isolation of cryogenic vessels was imperfect, some of the contents of the tanks evaporated during the journey. Sometimes they came to the cosmodrome half empty. Then OKB-250 vacuum was mastered - the best insulator in nature. At that time, no company had any experience in manufacturing large vacuum insulated vessels.
The first copyright certificate for the invention, which the OKB-250 group of specialists received, was the certificate for the 8-XXNX tanker with vacuum-powder insulation. It was the prototype for the new generation of modern cryogenic tanks and radically solved the problem of the loss of liquid oxygen and nitrogen during transportation from five to 513 percent per day.
The next stage in the development of cryogenic technology was the creation of stationary complexes at cosmodromes for the storage and refueling of spacecraft with liquid oxygen and nitrogen. They were used to launch the Soyuz space-rocket system (RKS) and proved to be much more reliable and efficient than the previous mobile fueling facilities.
One of the outstanding achievements of OKB-250 in 60-s was the creation of railway tanks for the transport of liquid hydrogen - the most efficient, but extremely explosive rocket fuel. The new task in complexity far surpassed the previous ones. The temperature of the liquid is only 20 degrees above absolute zero. Superinsulation with a deeper vacuum is required. The work begun in 1966 was completed with the creation of an EHV-100 tank. It was carried out the perfect principle of isolation - screen-powder-vacuum. The XHUMX XHUMX tank in 100 – 1969 was successfully used in the H1972-LZ space exploration program, and its improved modifications were used in the Energia-Buran rocket and space system launch program.
This reusable RCS kicked off 15 November 1988 of the year. After the orbital flight in the unmanned version, the ship "Buran" made an automatic landing on the airfield with an accuracy of several centimeters. The Uralkriomashivtsi have been preparing for this triumph for about ten years. The Burana power supply system created at the UVZ is a prototype of the energy complexes of the future interplanetary ships. At start-up, the energy supply system of the Energia-Buran nitrogen supply system developed and manufactured by tagilchani was also used.
Another interesting page of the space annals of cryogenic production is the Sea Launch. Specialists Tagil Uralkriomash developed and manufactured means of storing and refueling missiles "Zenith". Participation in this international program was the best evidence of the relevance of the unique design and technological experience gained by the company.
Uralkriomash OJSC today is a diversified, steadily growing enterprise, one of the leaders in the production of specialized railway cryogenic equipment in the “1520 space”. The company works in all directions and with various consumers: it manufactures products for the needs of railway carriers and oil and gas companies, Roscosmos and the national defense industry. OJSC Uralkriomash provides the customer with a full range of services: starting with idea generation, development of schematic diagrams and design documentation, production with obligatory quality control at each stage of work and ending with installation supervision, warranty, after-sales and after-sales service.
The presence of such an enterprise within the corporation, of course, provides the UVZ with a number of competitive advantages over other serial enterprises - manufacturers of rolling stock.
In 2011, OJSC Uralkriomash together with OJSC Scientific and Production Corporation Uralvagonzavod developed a development strategy for 2012 – 2015 years. The company for this period has set itself ambitious plans to expand the product line: both cryogenic and means for transporting various liquid products. Also in the plans of the enterprise is a gradual, without prejudice to the production, but a significant modernization of the existing facilities and the construction of new facilities.
One of the priority goals of the new marketing policy is to enter new markets. This is important both for OJSC “Uralkriomash” and for the research and production corporation UVZ as a whole. Historically, a cryogenic enterprise was focused on the domestic consumer and the country of the former Soviet Union. But now they are actively working to expand the geography of product supplies.
Thus, it is predicted that the presence of Uralkriomash in the structure of the corporation will allow UVZ to enter new innovative high-tech and high-tech markets, including foreign countries. These are the markets for equipment of cryogenic gases of the CIS countries, the emerging markets of liquefied natural gas and liquefied petroleum gas of the countries of the CIS, Iran, Pakistan, Afghanistan, markets of a single specialized cryogenic equipment.
Over almost 60 years of activity, OJSC Uralkriomash has accumulated vast experience in the development and manufacture of specialized railway tanks for the carriage of various gases in a cryogenic liquefied state. The company is a monopolist in Russia and the CIS countries in this industry, because the main activity was, is and remains the development and manufacture of vehicles and fixed tanks - products of cryogenic engineering.
In cryogenic railway tanks and tank containers produced by OJSC Uralkriomash it is possible to transport various cryogenic liquids: oxygen, nitrogen, argon, hydrogen, liquefied natural gas, ethylene. The production of tank containers is approved by the Russian Maritime Register of Shipping, which allows them to transport liquids and gases in them by road, rail and water transport, including international circulation. The range of volumes of boilers produced railway tanks and tank containers - from 10 to 52 cubic meters. Work is underway to expand the nomenclature of a number of rail tank cars and tank containers.
In addition to railway and cryogenic tanks, OJSC Uralkriomash produces capacitive equipment for the storage of cryogenic products with a geometric vessel volume up to 250 cubic meters, cold gasifiers, cryogenic pipelines. In general, OAO Uralkriomash manufactures products that provide for the process of transporting, draining / filling, storing and gasifying cryogenic liquids.
One of the largest projects in this direction is the construction of the Vostochny cosmodrome. Naturally, the joint stock company as a manufacturer of cryogenic capacitive equipment does not stand aside from the implementation of this project. Uralkriomash will manufacture fuel component delivery systems for the Soyuz-2 launch vehicle, and later, after 2015, for the Angara launch vehicle. The volume of orders is large.
In 2013 – 2015 for Roscosmos it is necessary to develop and manufacture a refueling system, including 16 stationary tanks, fittings. Also within the framework of this project, it is planned to produce up to 30 units of specialized cryogenic rail tank cars of model 15-558С-04 for these years. In addition, an order was received for the manufacture and delivery of 47 similar tanks for the Ministry of Defense during this period.
The tank car 15-558С-04 is an improved version of the new generation model 15-558С-03, designed to carry liquid oxygen. The first two prototypes were made in the 2012 year. Its feature compared to the previous model - 15-558С-01 is that it was developed for the specific requirements of the customer - the Federal Space Agency. The main condition for the creation of the product was an increase in the volume of cargo. It was necessary to observe the railway dimensions and apply the basic platform produced by Uralvagonzavod - a railway platform with two-axle bogies of the 18-100 model. The designers of Uralkriomash successfully coped with all the tasks.
In turn, the tank car 15-558С-04 plans to increase the product retention time from 30 to 60 days due to the use of superinsulation, as well as the use of stainless steel in the outer shell instead of the black ferrous metal version.
Other liquid gases can be transported in tanks for the transport of liquid oxygen: argon, nitrogen. In addition to the space industry, they are in demand in the metallurgical industry, as well as private companies selling air separation products. In addition, the issue of manufacturing tanks for the 15-558C01 model is being worked out to replace the used rolling stock of civilian enterprises.
Another serious niche in the cryogenic industry is the creation of stationary storages for air separation plants. Today there is a paradoxical situation when oxygen-nitrogen plants are built at the enterprises of the Urals, and storage facilities for them are supposed to be shipped from China. Uralkriomash plans to occupy this niche and supply stationary equipment to Ural plants.
Thus, for the period 2013 – 2015, the production capacity of OJSC Uralkriomash in the cryogenic direction will be fully loaded.
A further prospect for OAO Uralkriomash could be the manufacture of products for the transportation and storage of liquefied natural gas. Today, the world is actively developing the production of tank containers for liquefied natural gas. For example, in the United States, where shale gas production is actively developing, the fields are mostly small and drawing a pipeline is simply not profitable. The best way to transport is using containers.
The situation is similar in Russia, where there are remote villages to which it is not economically feasible to lead pipelines. Therefore, it is necessary to deliver natural gas there either in a compressed or in a liquefied state, but it is more profitable in the latter.
Since liquefied natural gas is a cryogenic liquid with temperatures close to those of liquid oxygen and liquid nitrogen, Uralkriomash has great potential in creating means for transporting, storing, filling and gasifying liquefied natural gas (LNG).
For this purpose, OJSC Uralkriomash develops a cryogenic tank container KCM-40 / 0,8 and, for the first time in Russia, a rail tank car for transportation of liquefied ethane, ethylene and natural gas, model 15-712. In addition to tank containers for liquefied natural gas, Uralkriomash Open Joint-Stock Company developed technical documentation for a tank truck, options for storing liquefied natural gas, and a liquefied natural gas gasifier.
In 90, funding for space research has declined sharply. This forced the team of tagil cryogenics specialists to look for orders for the development and manufacture of products previously uncharacteristic of them, including for the agro-industrial and fuel-energy complexes. We put on the production of a mini-brewery, installations for freezing foodstuffs with vapor of liquid nitrogen, installations for freeze-drying vegetables and fruits using the vacuum method, installations for drying wood. At the same time, fire extinguishing installations were created, tanks for the transportation of refined petroleum products, liquefied carbon dioxide, railway tanks for light petroleum products were developed and manufactured. The company is also engaged in the production of tanks and tank containers for petroleum products today.
The development and production of non-cryogenic products is actively continuing. One of the main tasks for OJSC “Uralkriomash” is access to a new promising market for railway rolling stock for liquefied petroleum gases.
In the framework of this direction, in 2012, the Ural Railway Car Building Design Bureau - a structural division of the corporation - developed a new tank model 15-588-01. Its manufacture and certification took Uralkriomash. The tank is also installed on a railway platform with two-axle bogies of model 18-100, which is manufactured by Uralvagonzavod.
The demand for this model is very high and every year is about 15 thousands of units. This demand is due to two factors. Firstly, the domestic LNG cistern fleet is very obsolete: about 30 – 40 percent of the fleet is suitable for write-off. Secondly, in Russia and the CIS, the production of oil, gas and their products is increasing, which means that the need for their transportation is growing. Large oil refiners repeatedly made inquiries to OAO Uralkriomash about such tanks.
Due to the increased boiler volume, increased payload and other parameters, the 15-588-01 tank has the best performance among competitors. It is planned that the production volumes of tanks models 15-588-01 will be large-scale.
At present, production of chemical tanks of the model 15-157-02 has been transferred to Uralkriomash from the corporation’s head enterprise. For a cryogenic plant, a chemical tank has become a new product. Despite the novelty and tight deadlines, their production has been successfully mastered and products are made. New tanks meet all necessary conditions. Since the sodium hydroxide environment is very aggressive, special requirements are placed on the quality of welds and structural strength. But according to the specialists of the joint-stock company, the development of chemical tanks for them did not become the most important task, since the development and production of cryogenic equipment is much more difficult and higher class. And due to its high scientific and technical potential and flexible technological process, OJSC Uralkriomash is capable of mobile restructuring for the release of new products.
In 2010, OAO Uralkriomash, together with OAO Kuznetsov and OAO VNIIZhT, entered the Guinness Book of Records, having developed and manufactured a tender tank for the GT-1 gas turbine locomotive. This is a new type of traction rolling stock, which uses a gas turbine as a propeller and LNG as a fuel. Its operation, as economists emphasize, is four times cheaper than using diesel. This project was implemented as part of the Russian Railways innovation development program for the transfer of traction rolling stock to alternative energy sources. Work under this project continues.
OJSC Uralkriomash is an unusual enterprise. Due to too much pilot production, it cannot be attributed to scientific research institutes or design bureaus. But at the same time, it is not possible to call it a plant, because its structure includes a powerful design bureau. Such a successful symbiosis makes OJSC Uralkriomash a unique enterprise with the highest potential and great prospects.