This 2010 year, one of major Russian truck crane manufacturer – Galichsky Truck Crane Plant, JSC (GAKZ) will celebrate its 65th anniversary. On the threshold of this good round figure, it is worth remembering the most important stages of the plant history and telling about the current situation of the joint stock company.
Since the time the company entered the engineering industry, there have been three stages in the plant history, in particular, engine-repairing, excavator-building and crane-building stages. The origin point is considered to be July, 25, 1945, when the Kostroma Regional Land Department made a decision on constructing an engine-repairing plant “Yuny Leninets” and machine and tractor repair shop. The same year, captured metal-working machinery was brought, and the plant started repairing of tractors and machines, manufacturing of spare parts for farming machines, and manufacturing of simple agricultural machinery. On May 26, 1946, Galich Repairing Plant belonging to Ministry of Agriculture was established.
If truth be told, it is worth mentioning that since 1945 the GAKZ history as a machinery plant started. However, at early XX century, the site of the enterprise was occupied by a grape spirit distillery, which in 1914 was repurposed into a footwear factory to make ammunition boots. Leather-making factory was kept till 1930’s, then it was cooperage combiner plant and machine tractor repair shop. During the Great Patriotic war, the enterprise did not run.
1961 was a life-changing year for the plant. Upon the application of the Kostroma Council of national economy and in accordance with the resolution of Council of Ministers of the USSR, the Galich repairing and engineering plant was repurposed to be an excavator plant. On January 28, 1961 the first excavator of the E-1513 model mounted on a tractor T-16 chassis, and dipper capacity of 0.5 m3 left the plant territory. Since 1963, the firstling was replaced with an improved model of a caterpillar-tracked excavator E-157 with the same dipper capacity. Over the entire excavator history, the plant mastered 9 excavator models. For a long time, an excavator EO-2621 mounted on a ‘Belarus’ tractor chassis and a hydraulic caterpillar-tracked excavator E-5015A were manufactured. Before 1980’s, when excavator production was ceased in the city of Galich, the plant had manufactured 37132 caterpillar-tracked excavators and wheel type excavators in total. Over the considered period of time, the Galich plant was considerably enlarged: in 1970 the first line of production facilities was commissioned – 20,000 m², in 1980 – the second line. Since 1960 to 1980, number of people employed increased from 315 to 1506.
The next turnaround in the plant history took place in 1982. In accordance with the order of the Ministry construction and road machinery, the “Krasny Excavator” production association was re-arranged into the “Autocrane” production association and repurposed to manufacture hydraulic truck cranes of KC-4572 model with lifting capacity of 16 tons, and hydraulic cylinders. In 1982, a pilot lot of 5 cranes was manufactured; in 1983, initial lot of 30 cranes was manufactured; since 1984 commercial production of truck cranes started. Production capacity was 500 truck cranes per year. In 1986, the plant was renamed to be a ‘truck crane” plant.
In total, since 1982 the plant has mastered production of 22 model cranes mounted on different chassis; in September, 2005, a 10,000th GALICHANIN truck crane was manufactured.
A completely new turnaround was made by the Galichsky Truck Crane Plant in 1996, when they started cooperation with KUDESNIK, Co, the representatives of which entered the GAKZ board of directors in two years. During this period, the most difficult for the Russian engineering industry, on surviving years of economical recession and stagnation, the plant again started to gather pace: production outputs increased, new crane models were developed and introduced into production, new approach in dealing with suppliers of materials, parts and base chassis was implemented, the same with users of finished products. In 1996, production of 20-ton truck cranes started, in a year – 22.5-ton truck cranes, the next year – 25-ton cranes models, later they became a ‘business card’ of the plant. After that, since late 1990’s till the first half of 2000’s, the production of 25, 30, 32 and 36-ton cranes started, and the production of timber loading manipulators was mastered.
Since 1998, the reconstruction and modernization of the GAZK production facilities was carried out. New technologies were implemented such as plasma arc cutting, welding of high-strength steels, crane cab manufacture was mastered, and rotary supports. The plant possesses unique equipment and is one of major manufacturer of wide hydraulic cylinder range. Machinery equipment was renewed. Since 2002 to 2009, more then 105 million rubles were spent to purchase and modernize machinery equipment.
At the plant, particular attention is paid to continuous improvement of truck crane technical parameters and enhancement of their family. In the production program, the main emphasis is made to 25-ton cranes of KC-55713 family, their portion in the overall output is 90%, and the majority is based on KAMAZ truck chassis.
However, the plant associates its future with other models. First of all, they are 32-ton cranes of KC-55729 family, with the production mastering started in 2004. Cranes are mounted on the KAMAZ and MAZ chassis, including those of off-roader KAMAZ-63501 (8x8). Today, GAKZ manufactures 32-ton cranes of the KC-55729V family, which are modernized versions of KC-55729B family cranes, which employ new technology of arm production compared with the previous crane versions. Currently, arm sections of Galich 32-ton cranes are assembled of two bent “trough-shaped” channels, using only two butt-joint seams, thus allowing significantly mass reduction. Cranes of this family are equipped with hydraulic drives and two axial-plunger hydraulic pumps. All crane mechanisms are equipped with an individual drive controlled separately from hydraulic motors and hydraulic cylinders. Some load-bearing metal structures of crane facilities and 4-sectonal telescopic arms 9.5-30.1 m long are manufactured of high-strength steel Weldox. To achieve high smoothness of motion when using a long arm, hydraulic drives of crane facilities are equipped with western hydraulic control valves. Being installed in a hydraulic system, they ensure not only smooth control of all crane mechanisms but also possibility to simultaneously perform up to three crane operations, featuring wide range of associated speed control.
In cranes of this family an idea has been implemented to use additional removable counterbalances thus allowing, on one hand, to ensure the optimal distribution f axial loads, and on the other hand, to significantly improve load-lifting capacity with middle and long arm reaches, making them very close to similar characteristics of Russian 50-ton cranes, and also ensuring a 27-m arm reach. Removable counterbalances are mounted and dismounted without involving additional lifting facilities or supporting personnel.
At late 2007, the plant specialists mastered commercial production of the most powerful 50-ton crane KC-65713-1 mounted on eight-wheel KAMAZ-65201 chassis (8x4). Arm metal structures are manufactured by advanced technologies, using high-strength steel Weldox. Other critical units of crane facilities and support frame are also manufactured of high-strength steels. The length of 4-sectional arm is 11.5 to 34.1 m; on one hand, such length ensures crane compactness and maneuverability when moving, on the other hand, it has wide working area and high load movement altitude. A crane arm being completed with telescopic jig 15.1-m long (9.1 m – stationary portion, 6.0 m – telescopic portion) to be set with 0° and 30° angles enhances the crane service area and dimensions of sub-arm space. Maximum dimensions of the support contour (7.2x7 m) are achieved due to outriggers equipped with folding telescopic support beams. Thanks to such solution, a crane is capable of performing works with loads within the entire circular zone of 360 degrees, and keeping high-level and unchanged load-lifting characteristics.
At late 2008, the plant started mastering a new model of KC-55713-1V family cranes, which have longer arms compared with KC-55713-1 family cranes. New arms similar to 32-ton crane arms are assembled of two bent “trough-shaped” channels made of high-strength steels and welded by two butt-joint seams. Now, arms of renewed 25-ton cranes have 4 sections, they are 28-m long, and can be completed with grid 9-m jigs.
Currently, GAZK turns out 25, 32 and 50-ton cranes, tightly being number two in Russia in crane output amounts. Over the last three years, an annual output exceeded 1100 cranes, in 2007 the output was the maximum one achieving amount of 1325 cranes.
One of important tasks of the Galichsky truck crane plant is further enhancement of crane types in terms of lifting capacity. In the 2009, at the international exhibition “STT’2009” the plant presented a new product, in particular, a 60-ton truck crane KC-65721 mounted on the Volvo FM400 chassis. For the next year the plans are to create a 70-80 ton truck crane.
Considerable attention is paid by the company to the quality of finished products. Thanks to the branching network of dealer and service centers and feedback available, the company continuously gathers and generalizes information regarding consumer properties of cranes in use. Many innovations in crane design and production technologies are stipulated by users’ feedback. Products promotion is hardly possible without the innovations. At the plant a selection and certification technique for suppliers of constituent components has been developed and implemented. Thanks to this technique, unconscientious suppliers have been rejected and quality of constituent components has been improved, thus improving crane reliability in whole. The next backstop for the arrival of poor-quality items is incoming inspection system. Is covers both individual components, starting from high-pressure hoses and up to chassis inclusively, and all materials, semi-finished items used to manufacture a crane (metals, power fluid etc.). Thus assuring product quality when entering production processes, the next system level addresses the quality of the very crane manufacturing process. Today, to provide high-quality production of crane facilities, GAKZ employs the system based on three-stage product control approach. The system includes item-by-item (sometimes, operation-by-operation) acceptance, unit-level control and operability check of a crane in whole.
Recognition of merits in the field of product quality improvement is the successfully completed enterprise quality management system certification versus the requirements of GOST R ISO 9001-2001. Every year, the products of the plant are awarded by the Board of the program “100 Best Goods of Russia” with a badge of honor “For Quality Achievements”. It is worth mentioning that on manufacturing a crane and handing it over to a user, the plant does not break connecting clue with their products. Today about 80 service centers give services to the Galich crane owners for post-sales support; the number of these centers will increase.