Festo has been a partner of the Russian manufacturing industry for over 40 years, providing automation and training solutions. In view of Russia’s accession to the WTO, this industry is now increasingly focusing on compliance with international standards. Growing demands on quality and energy efficiency are now making Festo the No. 1 partner of the Russian machinery and plant manufacturers. In addition to factory automation, process automation is also playing a major role.
More than 9,000 customers in automation and 3,000 in didactics are served by Festo’s Russian national company, with headquarters in Moscow and six automation centres in St. Petersburg, Novosibirsk, Chelyabinsk, Irkutsk, Samara and Rostov-on-Don, along with further outlets in a total of 21 cities.
This market success in Russia dates back to 1971 with the signing of the first contract with the USSR Ministry of Machinery Manufacture for the supply of automation equipment. The next step followed in 1988, with the establishment of a joint venture with a representative office in Moscow; and in 1989, the national company was established with headquarters in that same city. Today, Festo is the market leader in Russia with over more than 200 employees.
The market has been characterised by growth for a number of years. The expansion of logistics has cut delivery times in the Russian market to only a few days, since more than 50% of all goods are now delivered directly from the Moscow warehouse. The Solution Engineering Centre SEC Moscow, founded in 2004, caters to the increasing demand for individual customer-specific solutions. One example of such special developments is the bear-proof GBVA drive system for the oil and gas industries. But there is also strong demand for energy-efficient solutions, both in mechanical engineering and in water and wastewater technology.
Access to the global market and energy-efficient solutions for major cities
“We are currently observing two significant trends: on the one hand Russian mechanical engineers from the manufacturing industry – for instance from the food and packaging sector, or the automotive and rubber/plastic industries – are seeking to position themselves on the global market with their products. As a result of the WTO accession, the companies are hoping for new market opportunities that they intend to realise with the help of our support in the form of German production technology and expertise. The companies that we are supporting here on location have great innovation potential, but are currently still largely manufacturing for the local market,” says Alexey Vititnev, Managing Director of Festo Russia, and adds: “The second trend relates to the increasing awareness of energy efficiency on the part of towns and major cities in Russia. Our solutions in water and wastewater technology concentrate on precisely this development and offer us enormous potential for growth. Vodokanal of St. Petersburg supplies that city’s 4.8 million inhabitants with clean drinking water and has set itself the ambitious goal of reducing electricity consumption by one third. Energy-saving pneumatic drive units from Festo are already being used in the new K-6 block of the water treatment plant.”
One example is the machinery manufacturer KB-NS, which produces equipment for processing pastry and pasta. The company is increasing its production capacity by 40% in 2013 and will now be producing 14 machines per month. KB-NS is relying on an intensive technology partnership with Festo in this undertaking. “Our customers use our machinery on a 24-hour basis,” explains Anatoly Zelenkjevitsch, Managing Director of KB-NS, “and Festo’s products are ideally suited for these high loads. At present, our market focus is still on Russia and its neighbouring countries. We have already held initial discussions with potential customers in the EU, and we are technically in a position to deliver EU-compliant machinery at any time.”
Qualification of experts is the key
To achieve this, the Russian machinery manufacturers need increasing numbers of highly qualified staff. Here too, they are supported by Festo: “If Russia intends to earn a reputation on a broad basis as an export nation, the next few years will see a high demand for skilled workers. Major deficits are to be expected here. With our Didactic Centres in Moscow, Chelyabinsk and St. Petersburg, we provide companies, universities and public educational institutes with practical qualification schemes, ranging from training courses and seminars to the planning and equipping of industrial learning laboratories and learning factories,” says Andrey Shpitov, Head of Festo Didactic Russia. The course “MEI Festo” at the Moscow Energy Institute (MEI) of the Moscow Technical University, for example, was already initiated in 1999 to provide high-quality, state-of-the-art technical training and English classes. An increasing number of leading universities in Russia have since been relying on learning systems from Festo for the qualification of experts. As part of its Corporate Educational Responsibility (CER) initiative, Festo also supports technical universities in Russia by providing laboratory equipment and learning systems.
Russia: a growth market
For the coming years too, Festo Russia can look to the future with optimism: “We are expecting growth in sales to the order of 16 to 18% on average. With our wide range of offers in not only factory but also process automation, we can also optimally cater to sectors highly characteristic of Russia – such as mining, oil and gas or the aluminium industry – with our customized range of products right down to the low-temperature range,” explains Alexey Vititnev.