Активы UST Inc. | Assets of UST Inc.
Evgeniy Petrov: We welcome all those who joined our new broadcast. My name is Evgeniy Petrov. I am the Deputy General Director for Marketing at Unitsky String Technologies Inc. In a series of programs on the New Year’s Eve, we are summing up the work of Unitsky String Technologies Inc. and satellite companies
for the past year and answering the questions being sent to us throughout the year by those who follow the project’s development. Today our guest is Sergey Tarasov, the Director of the uSky Testing and Certification Center, Sharjah, United Arab Emirates. Today here are the Director of the marketing company Unitsky String Technologies LLC, Moscow, as well as the employees of Unitsky String Technologies Inc.: Maxim Gusev, the Head of the Project Management Department, and the Director of the SV Plant production complex Alexey Savin. In this episode we will discuss the competencies, assets and material resources that the Group of Companies have at their disposal to implement commercial projects today.
We are talking about the fact that now the Group of Companies has already more than 1,000 specialists working on the implementation of the technology, 60 design bureaus, a number of companies in Russia, Belarus, and the United Arab Emirates; India is now joining, Indonesia is joining as well. We are all working together on the implementation of string transport projects, the localization of string transport in certain regions (we talked about this in previous episodes), but still one of the important assets has been and remains our General Designer Anatoli Unitsky. And, Arsen, I would like you to speak on this topic. Arsen Babayan: I believe that the most important asset is the technology that has been implemented. This can be said with a high degree of confidence.
And it was accomplished for many reasons. The scientific and engineering school has been formed in Minsk, which numbers several hundred wonderful engineers and scientific staff, other personnel from other specialties who are the carriers of this technology. Once, 12 years ago, when I met Anatoli Unitsky, it may be said, he was the only person who understood and carried this technology; today there is a school.
I believe this is a key and guarantee that the technology has succeeded. Evgeniy Petrov: Thank you, Arsen. Indeed, the participation of the General Designer in the work carried out by the Unitsky String Technologies Inc. team, or teams, or even more precisely, by companies involved in the implementation of Unitsky String Technologies Inc. projects is very important. But nevertheless, I want to draw attention to the fact that all fundamental decisions regarding the marketing strategy, regarding the business models in which our projects are implemented, are still made by the General Designer.
More importantly, technological solutions - not ideas or technical specifications, but solutions - are also issued directly by Anatoli Unitsky. Nevertheless, those who follow our project and its development have a number of questions related to the activities of both the test center in Belarus and the test center in the United Arab Emirates. In particular, people ask: why the building of our new line, the length of which is two and a half kilometers and which we currently and routinely call “Karat”, is taking so long time (according to the observers)? I would probably ask you, Sergey, as the person directly responsible for this area (primarily responsible, it is clear that there is a whole circle of responsible people here), to tell us about the project’s stage, about this year’s progress, about the staff, the team and what can we expect in the near future: the end of this year - the beginning of the next. Sergey Tarasov: Hello, colleagues, hello, Evgeny. Thank you for inviting me to this work meeting. It is an honor for me to speak out on this matter, concerning the directions in terms of uSky transport, those directions in which we are moving in terms of testing and certification of the Unitsky String Technologies at the moment and in particular in Sharjah.
Regarding our achievements over the past year. Some people are concerned that, in their opinion, the building and construction of individual structures in our country is taking a little longer time than someone expects. In fact, I will express my disagreement here, because, if we take an example specifically on test section number four that we have completed this year, which, as you mentioned, is two and a half kilometers long, 2,400 meters to be precise, the construction of the overpass track structure has been completed within a 10-month period, and I consider this is a great achievement for the entire Group of Companies, because the construction of this type of structure has no analogues in the world and we need to understand it. Then I will additionally note that the main difficulties were not even during the construction, but at the beginning stage of the construction. When the documentation – the construction, the design, the engineering one - was handed over to potential local contractors in the Emirates market, the majority, as they say, simply scratched their heads and did not know what to do with that, due to the uniqueness of the product, the uniqueness of our solutions, and therefore a lot of time was spent. I would not say that it is a lot of time, but a significant part of the project time was spent precisely on explaining to our potential contractors, the general contractor, suppliers, and so on, how these structures should be erected, how construction should be carried out, according to what standards, requirements, regulations and so on.
In the summer of 2022, the agreement was signed for the construction of the track structure. We hired a local contracting company, Galadari, which is one of the largest contractors in the Emirates market in terms of metal structures. From this moment, we can consider that the construction countdown has begun. And in fact, the construction of the overpass was completed within 10 months. So, starting from the zero cycle (I mean not some foundation work, as is customary in construction, but preparatory work: the development of suppliers who were not contracted at that time, and the mobilization of the contractor, his subcontractor and so on) until the track structure was raised to the height, to the designed level - all this took us 10 months.
And when we completed these construction and installation works at the beginning of this 2023 year, we began, according to our methodology, the stage of commissioning work, which is still being carried out today. Commissioning work was divided into two stages. This is commissioning work on the track structure, because the track structure, after its construction, had to be tested, checked, tested for compliance with different standards, different indicators, characteristics, values.
After checking the track structure, we began commissioning the vehicle. The vehicle, which is routinely called “Karat”, is a 25-seat uBus. The total curb weight of the vehicle is almost 9 tons, to be precise, if my memory serves me right, 8890 kilograms, and the total weight with passengers, that is, 25 passengers inside the cabin, is up to 12 tons. You need to understand, that 12 tons means hanging in the air, well, it doesn’t just hang there like a garland on a New Year’s tree, it should move along the track structure, move safely, comfortably for passengers, in accordance with those “unfortunate” standards, requirements - both local, European and American.
I will note (this is a very important fact): The Emirates has a set of laws and regulations. They have local standards that have been adopted and are still being adopted, the reasons for the parties are worked out first, and here the American and British standards are used. Accordingly, all these factors, all these points must be considered jointely because if we are talking about a European country or Russia, it is clear that we have SNiPs, GOSTs and so on. In the Emirates, this task becomes a little more complicated, because we need to ensure that our product complies with a number of standards, a whole complex. Therefore, Evgeniy, I think, I’ve answered your question that a long-term construction, according to some, in my case is a little... I refuse this rhetoric, because considering the complexity of everything that
I’ve said, it seems to me that uSky Transport together with the colleagues from Unitsky String Technologies Inc., our other partners, companies have achieved colossal results over the specified period of time. Evgeniy Petrov: Thank you. I would emphasize the role of the General Designer of UST Inc. Anatoli Unitsky. His direct participation in the development of project documentation allowed Unitsky String Technologies Inc., according to the prepared drawings, to implement the project in a record period of time. If you think that a 2 km long metro line could be built in 10 months, then this is unrealistic.
Sergey Tarasov: I agree with you, Evgeny. It is important to note the fact that, as you correctly say, Anatoli Unitsky actively participated. I’m even a little proud that such a structure was not erected in Maryina Gorka. That is, uSky, even within our Group of Companies, became the first organization that brought this goal to reality. It is clear that due to the novelty of this project, difficulties arose during installation. There is no need to hide this information. There were difficulties, setbacks arose at some stages, in which the General Designer of UST Inc. Anatoli Unitsky took an active part.
Thanks to his direct participation in the process, some solutions were adapted, modernized, improved, and ultimately achieved the goal. Evgeniy Petrov: Thank you, I absolutely agree with you. You have mentioned difficulties. Here I would like to ask the Project Management Department. What role does the UAE-built heavy semi-rigid string rail overpass complex play in the commercial projects being undertaken by Unitsky String Technologies Inc.? Maxim, please comment. Maxim Gusev: Hello everyone. The most direct and at the same time the most interesting role is played by the test site No. 4, as we call it. Evgeniy Petrov: This is an internal name. You said in Russian “inzhenera”, “konstructora”.
It’s like the sailors who set the stress in the Russian word “kompas” in their own specific manner, so for some reasons in the engineering community it is customary to say in Russian not “inzhenery”, but “inzhenera”. From the Russian language norms point of view, this is not very correct. And we call the track test section No. 4. Maxim Gusev: Yes, test site No. 4 is the internal name. We're trying to immerse you in how our work is going, so we use this term.
Test section No. 4 is the longest uST track. Why is it so special? It contains a large number of innovative solutions. The building structures of the complex are subject to serious loads. This track structure is one of the most powerful ones we have ever built.
Evgeniy Petrov: Sergey, correct me if I’m wrong. You said that 12 tons is the curb weight of the 25-seat Karat uBus with passengers. But as far as I know, this overpass is designed for a much larger load - up to 60 tons per span. Sergey Tarasov: Yes, that’s right. I'll just make one amendment. We consider the curb weight to be the weight of a vehicle without load, that is, without passengers. It is 9 tons. And the total weight of transport with passengers reaches 12 tons. But in fact, our route is designed for loads of up to 60 tons. You noticed everything correctly.
Maxim Gusev: As I said, theoretically in the future container vehicles can travel along this route in case we have such a need. I mentioned that the capacity of the Karat uBus is 25 people and that’s not that much. If we omit the legislative aspect, which states that each person should have several meters, If we omit the legislative aspect, which states that each person should have several meters, then up to 40 people can fit in uBus. During rush hour, it’s clear that your personal space is not really your personal space. In India, for example, this is public space as a whole. It turns out that a much larger number of people can board the uBus.
There is no point in talking about the control system as a whole. In uBus it is also more advanced. And if we are talking about the level of innovation and the level of those solutions that are currently being tested at test site No. 4, then this is one of those complexes that we plan to scale in the future. And the track on test site No. 4 is the closest solution of what will be implemented for the client. Therefore, for us this line is one of the most basic. The second most important complex for me is uLite. Evgeniy Petrov: It is important to add that project documentation can be completed with the highest possible quality and we succeed in this. But it’s one case to design, and another case to build, especially when we are talking about the construction of a complex for the first time in the world.
Sergey, you said that there was a number of difficulties that we successfully resolved, thanks to our competencies. But we could afford to face such difficulties, since there is a uSky Testing and Certification Center and there is a right to some kind of error, postponement. But when we are talking about commercial projects, we have no margin for error. Any setbacks are simply unacceptable, because our business reputation and the success of the business as a whole will depend on it.
Therefore, before entering the construction of commercial projects, we had to build this facility. We have successfully built it and will put it into operation next year. Do I understand correctly, Sergey, that at the same time we are also carrying out certification of this complex? Tell us more about this.
Sergey Tarasov: Of course. I would say that we are not carrying out certification in parallel; we started it last year. I will note the participation of our partner. I will call this company a partner, because we have already been working with it for probably three years. This is the world-famous company TUV SW Standardization Certifications. If I'm not mistaken, their main office is in Austria.
But nevertheless, the company is registered in the United Arab Emirates. Previously, we invited it to certify the first test site. Let me remind you that this is a string rail overpass with a length of only 400 meters. In 2020, TUV SW Standardization Certifications carried out work, as a result of which we received a certificate of conformity. The same work will be carried out at test site No. 4 - “Karat”, as we now call it. This work was started in advance. The construction of the overpass was divided into several stages.
First, we had anchoring structures and supporting towers. Subsequently, we erected a track structure on the pre-built constructions. Accordingly, we began certification of supporting towers in advance, when the track structure was not yet fully ready. And today the certificate has already been received. By the way, it is on our official website. Thus, we have confirmed for compliance with various regulations and standards our steel structures, which make up the supporting towers, and have proven their safety, which is very important in our industry.
Certification work for test section No. 4 is divided into two stages. At the first stage, we completed the certification of supporting towers. The second stage consists of several sub-stages, including certification of the track structure, anchoring structures and the 25-seat Karat U4-212 uBus.
This is the internal name of this model. The work on the second stage of the track structure certification will begin in the near future. The next stage will be the certification of transport. It will begin after the full scope of commissioning work on all uPod systems is completed. Our anchoring structures are also ready for certification. But it is more expedient to combine anchoring structures and track structure into one scope of work in order to attract this company. Thus, taking into account the upcoming new year, certification is planned for early 2024. In fact, this is not such a labor-intensive process, especially considering that we already have significant experience in this field.
Therefore, we estimate that this work can be fully completed at the beginning of next year. This will take approximately 2-3 months. Evgeniy Petrov: It turns out that we are working in parallel in two different regions in terms of the regulatory framework, in two different jurisdictions. I mean the territory of the Commonwealth of Independent States and the United Arab Emirates, where the standards adopted in the United States apply. We carry out the certification and commissioning procedure. A very important project, to the completion of which we also successfully approached this year, is the uLite complex. This is the first commercial project implemented by Unitsky String Technologies Inc. Maxim, tell us what is the importance of the uLite project.
It seems that it is small in terms of passenger traffic and length, that is, we are not talking about colossal traffic, for example, 50 thousand passengers per hour. This is a small project, quite modest, for tourist purposes. Why is it so important to us? Maxim Gusev: The uLite complex is not about novelty and technical delights.
It's light. This is one of the cheapest transport lines that we have ever built. Due to the fact that it is so simple and cheap, it is also reliable, because there is nothing special to break. All elements in it are brought to minimalism. During the construction of the complex, we tried landless installation, because this line runs over the water and the road. We do not have the right, for example, to close them for several months and carry out installation.
It was carried out very quickly. By the way, uLite is one of the most energy efficient vehicles. If we talk about other aspects, then uLite is the country’s first official commercial autonomous vehicle. There are no analogues. This is something we can be proud of. Imagine that you want to buy a car. This car costs much less than our complex. But as soon as you see a brand that is unfamiliar to you, even a Chinese automaker, you appeal to the Internet and read reviews. But at the same time, you are not reading them on the manufacturer’s website. Why? As they say, trust but verify marketing. This is a classic topic.
And here is a real opportunity for our clients. Why is this first commercial project important to them? It is important for them to get an independent opinion on how this line works and is operated. Once this project launches there will be reviews because it is in an open area. That is, you can come, buy a ticket and take ride with your family. Test sections are made in order to test our technical solutions. In addition to this, we talked about contract strategy, which is part of the intellectual property, no one shares it.
Due to the fact that the complex is located on another legal entity, it is possible to develop all these contracts, communicate with the state, discuss which contracts are suitable and which are not, and what the risks are. Don't forget about certification. We talked about the fact that certification should take place in the country where we will build the complex, but this requires a project. And this is just an opportunity for us to walk the path with minor changes. Because other countries have different standards.
Specialists who have passed this path will do it much faster on other projects. uLite is very important for me, my team and the Group of Companies as a whole, because, on the one hand, it is light, simple, reliable, on the other hand, it is first in such kind and this is our locomotive. Evgeniy Petrov: Thank you. In general, it can be summarized that these two projects, the majority of the construction work and the start of the test site No. 4 commissioning in Sharjah, occurred in 2023. This is the pre-final processing of our basic and technological solutions in the field of preparation of contractual and regulatory frameworks before entering the commercial routes construction.
Basically, the solutions that we are developing today are designed for quite large passenger traffic. This is exactly the type of complex that will be put into operation in Sharjah next year. To conclude, I will say that both Unitsky’s design and engineering schools have been formed, and we have the experience in certifying normative confirmation of construction, which is also invaluable. That is, we truly, based on experience, assess the construction timeframe, the risks that exist, and are ready to enter commercial projects. Those who follow the development of the project have questions about the readiness of the material base for the production of rolling stock.
Here I will ask the director of the SV Plant production complex, Alexey, to talk about how our production complex is staffed today. How many employees are there, what kind of equipment is there, how quickly and in what quantities can we produce rolling stock for our commercial projects. Alexey Savin: Good afternoon, dear viewers, colleagues, today we have at our disposal 4000 meters of production space and 150 employees, 90 people of which are the production workers.
Over the years, parts for 13 vehicles have been assembled and manufactured. In addition, individual components of the track structure, equipment for testing fixtures and parts for the infrastructure complex were manufactured at the production facilities. We employ qualified specialists with the competencies necessary for assembling vehicles, prototypes, as well as entering small-scale production. Today we have at our disposal more than a hundred units of various equipment and accessories. We have seven processing centers, four of which are from the world-famous manufacturer Okuma.
This year we purchased another processing center of joint Belarusian-Chinese production. Negotiations are currently underway on the acquisition and delivery of another milling processing center next year. Production is constantly growing and expanding. We can say with confidence that we will achieve the goal of entering mass production of vehicles. We have key specialists in all areas; factory cooperation with enterprises in the mechanical engineering region of the Republic of Belarus is widely developed, because it is not economically feasible to hold all competencies at the SV Plant production site. Some of them, such as heat treatment of parts, galvanizing, powder painting, can be placed in cooperation. In order to enter serial production of vehicles in the existing areas, we need to recruit production personnel additionally. This will allow, if necessary, to introduce second and third work shifts.
We are able to reach production output of 10 units of rolling stock per month within 10-12 months. Evgeniy Petrov: In the projects that we are currently working on at this stage, the number of rolling stocks is measured in hundreds. Do I understand correctly that, basically, we can completely satisfy the demand for rolling stock with our own production? Alexey Savin: Of course, given that there will be time to prepare. First comes the actual design of the complex, construction and installation work, and vehicles will only be needed at the moment the track structure is put into operation. That is, the delivery of vehicles is carried out at the stage of the construction part of the track structure readiness.
Accordingly, we have time to, if necessary, recruit personnel and organize additional production facilities on the territory of the Republic of Belarus, or, if such a decision is made, in the state where the project will be implemented. The core of our production unit is the specialists who assembled all the previous units of equipment. They are ready to train newly hired workers both on the territory of the Republic of Belarus and in other countries.
Evgeniy Petrov: Thank you, Alexey. There will probably be such a need. There will probably be such a need. So, friends, from the staffing point of view, market insight, practicing the rules of action in terms of the regulatory framework and, most importantly, from the proven technology point of view, the installation of technology for the production of transport lines and the capacities of our SV Plant complex itself, we are fully and completely ready to go to the construction site and expect to do this next year. I thank you, colleagues, viewers, for participating in our video conference and remind you that at the end of the cycle, during which we tried to answer the main questions received over the year, our viewers will receive a speech from the General Designer Anatoli Unitsky and the General Director of UST Inc. Nadezhda Kosareva
summing up the work of the Group of Companies for the year 2023. See you again!