Russian Manufactured Goods

Discussion in 'Science & Technology in Russia' started by Bellum, May 9, 2013.

  1. Bellum

    Bellum Citizen

    Joined:
    May 6, 2013
    Messages:
    5
    Likes Received:
    4
    Gender:
    Male
    Apart from the defence sector Russia doesn't produce many goods that are known around the world, for the moment at least. As things hopefully change and new products from Russia comes to light, it would be nice to hear of those. This thread is for sharing knowledge of new Russian goods and discussing about them.

    http://www.yotaphone.com/
    YotaPhone from Yota Devices won the CNET Best of CES award for Hottest Mobile Device.
    http://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20130110006316/en/YotaPhone-Wins-CNET-CES-Award-Hottest-Mobile

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yo-Mobile
    New hybrid car from Russia has produced some news around the world, but plans of production were delayed from 2012 to 2015 and it casts some doubts on the project.
    AKarlin likes this.
  2. Moscow Exile

    Moscow Exile Ship Secretary (11th class)

    Joined:
    May 7, 2013
    Messages:
    373
    Likes Received:
    55
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Moscow, Russia
    I do believe that there are some Soviet pharmaceuticals that are effective. I remember commenting a long while ago on how they've been trying for years to find a cure for the common cold in the West and was told that they've been giving an effective prophylactic against the common cold to Russian schoolchildren for ages. I also remember the anti-hangover tablets that could be bought in kiosks here. The company that made them was bought by a US firm a few years ago and I believe they are now marketed in the USA as a KGB recipe against hangovers.
  3. AKarlin

    AKarlin Generalissimo Staff Member

    Joined:
    May 1, 2013
    Messages:
    163
    Likes Received:
    39
    Good idea for a thread. From the start, I want to mention that the best resource bar none for this is sdelanounas.ru (lit. made by us). It does have a pretty explicit "patriotic" slant - not surprising, really, as many liberals and commies refuse to believe Russia manufactures anything other than oil and gas - but nothing else has close to as comprehensive a coverage of developments in Russian industry. Unfortunately, it is only available in Russian; while there is an English version of the site, it's not updated for months at a time.

    @Bellum,

    As regards those two products:

    The YotaPhone sounds really interesting, though as far as I know, by far the most energy-intensive process in a cell phone is maintaining reception. So I'm not sure why having an electronic paper screen is considered such an awesome development. Frankly, I'd rather just use my cell phone for making calls and my e-book reader for reading stuff.

    I don't know about the E-Mobile. Prokhorov keeps promising but it never appears. Where is the damn car??

    Kolokol likes this.
  4. Alexander Mercouris

    Alexander Mercouris Ship Secretary (11th class)

    Joined:
    May 5, 2013
    Messages:
    189
    Likes Received:
    62
    Gender:
    Male
    There are actually more areas I know where Russian manufactured goods enjoy a very high reputation within their specific markets. I would just cite a few:

    1. Russia is becoming a leader in medium to heavy helicopters. The MI8 workhorse is sweeping the board in this sector. Even NATO in Afghanistan uses it. You could say that the MI8 is the Dakota or Hercules of helicopters. In heavy lift helicopters there is no helicopter in the world that compares to the MI26, though I am not sure whether it is still actually in production. However I understand that there are on going talks with China to develop a new heavy lift helicopter based on it. Russia by contrast is weak in light helicopters because of a disastrous decision taken in the early 1960s to transfer development of light helicopters to Poland as part of the CMEA arrangements. There's been some work in this field since the CMEA collapsed but it will take a long time before Russia is able to compete internationally in this sector.

    2. Commercial vehicles, the KAMAZ series being a major international success story. Generally Russian trucks have a good reputation for toughness and reliability.

    3. Nuclear power engineering, in which field Russia is an acknowledged leader.

    4. Chemicals, a sector I know well because a close friend of mine works in it, where Russia is also a strong player especially in such fields as synthetic rubber, plastics etc. The fact that Russia is such a major player in missile technology is to a great extent a function of the effectiveness of its chemical industry

    5. Gas turbine engineering - an extremely complicated and difficult technology that is however vital to the building of large aircraft, but which is also used for example in operating gas pipelines. Russia is one of the few countries that has successfully mastered this technology and which is able to build high bypass turbofans.

    There are actually lots of other goods Russia produces that one could mention. The reality is that Russia produces the complete range of manufactured goods, all the way from minor consumer goods to space rockets. Not all these goods are competitive on the international market but with good investment and proper management quite a few of them could be.

    What Russia lacks is not ranges of manufactured goods but (1) well known brands, which more than anything else is a function of successful design and marketing, areas which are still very underdeveloped and (2) internationally marketed consumer goods and household appliances, which is what people use in their everyday lives and on the basis of which they form their idea of the industrial success of a country.
    AlexBond likes this.
  5. AlexBond

    AlexBond Office Registrar (13th class)

    Joined:
    May 7, 2013
    Messages:
    16
    Likes Received:
    11
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Saint Petersburg
    Russia, as is well known, also excels in

    arms industry - Russia is the second largest arms exporter in the world;

    space industry - satellites, rockets, rocket engines;

    aviation industry - helicopters already mentioned in the thread, military planes, and the large-scale production of civilian airliners is being restored;

    some areas of shipbuilding - icebreakers and "river-sea" class ships.

    Exactly. Very well said.
    Kolokol and Alexander Mercouris like this.
  6. Philip Owen

    Philip Owen Office Registrar (13th class)

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2013
    Messages:
    77
    Likes Received:
    10
    Gender:
    Male
    Copied from economy section as it is relevant. Deripaska's car is missing the point.

    Agriculture, as Alexander has pointed out is a success story. Russia and the Ukraine between them dominate the world's export markets for barley albeit the lowest value cereal. Wheat, a riskier crop to grow is still developing. R & U are the only serious sources of sunflower oil not in the big trading house cartel. However, access to international markets outside the FSU is difficult because of the cartel. Ukrainian farmers are already accepting free seeds and fertilizers from the cartel members in exchange for a fixed price for the crop to be delivered to the mills owned by the cartel.

    The best land in the best places is already in large modern farms but even intermediate land is still untended and cheap. The shortage are of storage and transport.

    Tsarist Russia was a major exporter of beef. There's a long way to go there. In terms of the time it takes to set up a flock or herd, the figures are something like this. Chickens, 6 months; pigs, 18 months; cattle, 3 years. With the focus of Russian business on short payback times, because capital investment is so productive, pigs struggle for investment and beef is a distant dream. However chicken may soon become an export product. Theoretically, Russia should be able to have a world beating livestock industry. Soyabean is native to the Russian Far East and grows well in the Black Earth.

    Manufacturing, even branded design has success stories. Gloria Jeans started as a coop in Rostov in 1987. It is now a billion dollar corporation which has exported to the UK since 2001 and is planning to export Jeans to China! Everything is made in Russia or the Ukraine. In a smaller way, Bosco, the sportswear company, has also enjoyed export success through leading edge design.

    Russian metals, especially steel, aluminium and nickel have had such export success that, until WTO membership, they faced substantial tariff barriers. WTO membership has given these industries a big boost in export markets.

    Russia also exports electricity and has the potential to export a great deal more as the interconnectors already exist but the collapsed state of the grid and generating capacity makes it impossible.

    Russian software firms continue to thrive and cell phone operators are buying their way into new markets such as Turkey and Egypt.

    The biggest failure and hope for the future that I can point to is electric vehicles. Modern trams and trolleybuses are major technology drivers that blend into electric buses. Russia has a huge home market and manufacturing base in this industry but does nothing to support it (such as developing a municipal bond market to finance transport system renewal). Electric vehicles are low noise, low pollution at point of use and increasingly solutions to transport in major urban centres. Instead Russia subsidizes a dead civil aircraft industry which insists on staying dead. The Superjet has crashed twice.

  7. Philip Owen

    Philip Owen Office Registrar (13th class)

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2013
    Messages:
    77
    Likes Received:
    10
    Gender:
    Male
    The furniture sector has some firms that have the potential for export. Kalinka with divan designs for small flats (China?). Maria Kitchens could become a low cost supplier in the kitchen sector. The limiting factor is a lack of capacity in Russian saw mills, particularly in European Russia where the wood is often poor quality anyway.
    Kolokol likes this.
  8. Carlo

    Carlo Ship Secretary (11th class)

    Joined:
    Aug 3, 2013
    Messages:
    114
    Likes Received:
    17
    Gender:
    Male
    Then we have the greatest hope for Russian civilian aircraft industry: Sukhoi Superjet 100. So far there are very few international orders mostly from small airliners in developing countries (Laos, Indonesia, Mexico). Mexican regional airline Interjet is making an extremely risky move by starting to replace their Airbus 320 (a mass-produced and proven aircraft, with an established world-wide customer support) for the new Russian plane. If Interjet doesn't go bankrupt by this move and Sukhoi (together with its Western partners) manages to give an adequate support for their aircraft, then probably international sales will grow.
    The Mexican plane presented in the latest Le Bourget Air Show (http://russianplanes.net/id110722):
    [​IMG]
  9. MarkPavelovich

    MarkPavelovich Commissar

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2013
    Messages:
    146
    Likes Received:
    22
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Victoria, British Columbia
    The Boeing Dreamliner was grounded for four months. It is normal for new designs to suffer problems. At least one of the Superjet crashes was pilot error by a hot-dog pilot who believed himself immune to the laws of physics, although those who authorized his descent near a mountain bear some of the blame as well - in any event, it had nothing to do with the airworthiness of the plane.

    Russia does need a civil aircraft industry because it has the potential to be very competitive, and if it gives up that ambition for even five years, all its domestic fleets will consist of foreign aircraft and it will be impossible to revive the industry.
  10. Alexander Mercouris

    Alexander Mercouris Ship Secretary (11th class)

    Joined:
    May 5, 2013
    Messages:
    189
    Likes Received:
    62
    Gender:
    Male
    Civil aviation is the major area where Russia has lost significant ground, a matter of serious concern to the government.

    Back in the 1950s the USSR was a leader in gas turbine powered civil aircraft. Unfortunately the industry took a wrong turn in the 1960s with the supersonic TU 144 project at a time when the US was focusing on the much more promising field of wide bodied aircraft. The sad irony is that what was arguably the first wide bodied aircraft - the AN 22 turboprop freighter - was designed and built in the 1960s in the USSR. By the 1970s the USSR had fallen so far behind that it is a little known fact that there were plans to build Lockheed Tristars in Voronezh in the 1970s as part of the détente process, which unfortunately had to be abandoned in the face of US hostility.

    The key technology required for successful civil aircraft is gas turbine technology, specifically for wide bodied aircraft high bypass turbofans. Following the Lockheed Tristar failure the USSR invested heavily in this technology and finally in the 1980s Soviet high bypass turbofans in the form of the Progress D18 and the Perm PS90 did finally appear. By all accounts in basic engineering terms these engines were comparable to western engines. Had the country avoided the crisis of the 1980s there is every reason to think that these engines and the aircraft they were used for (the IL96, the TU204 and the AN 124) would have been further refined and would have become successful. It didn't happen, crucial time and market share was lost and the entire industry now has to be rebuilt from scratch.
  11. Carlo

    Carlo Ship Secretary (11th class)

    Joined:
    Aug 3, 2013
    Messages:
    114
    Likes Received:
    17
    Gender:
    Male
    That is true, but in fact there was only one hull-loss of the Superjet: the one that crashed against Mount Salak in Indonesia. The gear-up landing that happened in Iceland last week didn't cause big damages to the aircraft. As always, I find funny the double standards of Westerners when talking about the Superjet, claiming how unsuccessful the program is because of last year's crash and ignoring completely that the Airbus 320 also had a number of crashes in the start of its operations, or referring to technical problems that Aeroflot is facing with the Superjet but also happily forgetting the much bigger headaches the 787 is giving to its first operators.
  12. Carlo

    Carlo Ship Secretary (11th class)

    Joined:
    Aug 3, 2013
    Messages:
    114
    Likes Received:
    17
    Gender:
    Male
    Yes, the USSR was a leader in the 50's and 60's in civil aviation: the first passenger jet really operational (the Tu-104; the Comet first flew and started commercial operations before, but had a lot of very serious issues with fatigue that caused the aircraft to tear apart in flight, while the Soviet machine was very reliable from the start); the first turbofan-powered (Tu-124); the first regional jets (Tu-134 and Yak-40); and the first widebody was the Tu-114, which used the same powerplant and wings of the strategic bomber Tu-95. After falling behind in the 70's, the USSR managed to caught up with the West in the late 80's, with the Il-96 and Tu-204, which were pioneers in the use of fly-by-wire technology (together with the Airbus 320), but suffered tremendously under the post-Soviet crisis and never really entered mass-production. If they had appeared in more favourable conditions, these planes probably would have had a better fate.
  13. AKarlin

    AKarlin Generalissimo Staff Member

    Joined:
    May 1, 2013
    Messages:
    163
    Likes Received:
    39
    Just to add a couple of graphs to the discussion (I planned to post it at my blog sometime, when I got the time, but the data can hang here for now).

    Civil aircraft production

    [​IMG]

    Helicopter production
    [​IMG]

    As one can see, there is still a long way to go to reach Soviet peak production levels (note of course that the economy had been in freefall since mid-1990, whereas the charts begin at 1992).

    Nonetheless, underlying trends - very recently for aircraft (does that reflect the beginning of serial production of the Sukhoi SuperJet?), since the late 200's for helicopters - are all very encouraging.
  14. Philip Owen

    Philip Owen Office Registrar (13th class)

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2013
    Messages:
    77
    Likes Received:
    10
    Gender:
    Male
    But tram and trolley bus production survived anyway. Russia could get world leadership in these. I would also say that the Rolls Royce RB-211 was outstanding. It was using composites for fan blades 40 years ago.
  15. MarkPavelovich

    MarkPavelovich Commissar

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2013
    Messages:
    146
    Likes Received:
    22
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Victoria, British Columbia
    Let's not forget the Avro C-102 Jetliner, which was the first passenger jet to fly in North America and which flew only two weeks after the Comet; it also did not come apart from stress fractures and was by all accounts quite reliable. Like Canada's great fighter, the Arrow, it was canceled for political reasons on the eve of achieving major sales, and Canada's aircraft industry went down the tubes as its technicians, architects and engineers emigrated to the USA and UK to follow the work.

    http://www.avroarrow.org/jetliner/jetlinerintro.html
  16. Philip Owen

    Philip Owen Office Registrar (13th class)

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2013
    Messages:
    77
    Likes Received:
    10
    Gender:
    Male
    Concorde/TU144 was not a mistake in so far as a permanent cartel for oil production was not envisaged at the time. The US kept up its protectionist stance until the jigs and fixtures for Concorde were scrapped. Only then was it allowed into JFK in New York.

    Modern planes have square windows (as per The Comet) because passengers prefer them to portholes but the corners are rounded. Comet's weren't. Hence the stress fractures.
  17. Patrick Armstrong

    Patrick Armstrong Commissar

    Joined:
    May 7, 2013
    Messages:
    220
    Likes Received:
    48
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Ottawa
    Something that I remember trying to push for Canadian interest in (in my small and, ultimately, quite ineffective way) when I was at the Emb was this thing. the Ekranoplane

    Pretty wild and crazy piece of high-tech -- huge carrying capacity and fast at the same time -- works over water or land. (think of it in the Arctic)

    But it seems to have faded away into the past. One or two rotting away in Kaspiisk and formerly visible on Google Earth.
    Kolokol likes this.
  18. Patrick Armstrong

    Patrick Armstrong Commissar

    Joined:
    May 7, 2013
    Messages:
    220
    Likes Received:
    48
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Ottawa
    Hah! still there -- go to Kaspiisk and look in the breakwater area.
    Kolokol likes this.
  19. Patrick Armstrong

    Patrick Armstrong Commissar

    Joined:
    May 7, 2013
    Messages:
    220
    Likes Received:
    48
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    Ottawa
    One other possible thing (I believe Georgia has some capability in this too) -- I think they're called bacteriophages. They are thingimees that eat bad bacteria rather than kill them. Much harder for bad bacteria to adapt to things that eat them.

    But just heard about this some years ago and don't know anything about it.
  20. Philip Owen

    Philip Owen Office Registrar (13th class)

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2013
    Messages:
    77
    Likes Received:
    10
    Gender:
    Male
    From memory, the BBC did a programme on the Georgian bacteriophages in the late 1990's. They were proposed as a saviour when antibiotics stopped working. There was a viscous quarrel going on amongst the academics who controlled the library of phages as to who owned the IP - a common story in the FSU because academics' contracts didn't specify ownership of IP (according to the academics who wanted to emigrate!). The science seemed dodgy and underdeveloped. Soviet biology.

    There has been an update.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-21799534

Share This Page