June 1, 1933 is considered the birthday of the Chelyabinsk Tractor Plant, one of the largest Russian industrial associations producing high-tech machine-building products. It was on this day that the first "Stalinist" S-60 with a capacity of only sixty horsepower left the production line of the plant. From that moment in time, at any point in our vast country, the solution of important technical and technological problems did not do without the participation of machines created at this famous enterprise. In 1936, the Chelyabinsk tractors perfectly showed their capabilities when passing along the "Snow Crossing" route in Yakutia, having successfully overcome more than two thousand kilometers in hard-to-reach terrain in a frost of fifty degrees. These vehicles did not fail either during the Pamir passage on the territory of the Turkestan Military District, when the path ran through high-mountain points at the level of four thousand meters.
The draft design of ChTZ was drawn up by the spring of 1930 in a special design bureau in Leningrad. Realizing that the construction of an enterprise of such a level as the Chelyabinsk Tractor Plant is possible only with the use of all the accumulated world experience, the country's leadership decided to carry out the final revision in the United States. In Detroit, the center of the American automotive industry, the Chelyabinsk Tractor Plant design bureau was established. Twelve American and forty Soviet specialists made many changes to the original sketches. Instead of the planned twenty separate buildings, it was decided to establish three workshops: mechanical, forging and foundry. To make it possible to change production facilities, the reinforced concrete supporting structures of the buildings were replaced with metal ones. Later, during the war years, this made it possible to quickly switch to the production of tanks at the plant. On June 7, 1930, the general plan of ChTZ was completed, and by August 10, the workshops were laid.
The first builders met with great difficulties: there was no equipment, housing and medical care. There was a shortage of materials, and by the end of 1930, funding for the construction had sharply decreased. Of the forty-three thousand workers who arrived here in 1930, thirty-eight thousand left by the end of the year. The threat of disruption loomed over the construction. However, on May 11, 1931, I. V. Stalin said that the Chelyabinsk Tractor Plant falls under the special supervision of the Central Committee of the All-Union Communist Party of Bolsheviks. After that, the construction of the plant proceeded at an accelerated pace. In 1932, an extensive installation of production equipment began, in the delivery of which three hundred seven companies from the USA, Germany, France and England, as well as more than one hundred and twenty domestic factories, participated. In general, the share of Soviet equipment was more than forty-three percent. What was done in three years was amazing. The endless field has turned into a growing city. Where there was only dirt recently, there were brick houses and huge workshops, there were asphalt roads. In the factory area there was a kitchen factory, a club, a cinema and a training center.
The first tractors produced by ChTZ im. Lenin, worked on naphtha, and only after a significant reconstruction in 1937, the enterprise started the production of new diesel vehicles created on the basis of the S-60, but with a capacity of five horsepower more than its predecessor. Already in May of the same year, the C-65 became a prize-winner at the World Paris Exhibition, having received a well-deserved Grand Prix diploma from its organizers. The serial production of these economical machines was established at ChTZ on June 20, 1937, thanks to which the enterprise became a pioneer in the domestic tractor industry, producing diesel tractors. In total, from 1937 to 1941, the plant produced about thirty-eight thousand S-65 tractors.
The S-65 tractor is the first domestic diesel tractor with an M-17 engine with a power of 65 hp. A working model of a tractor on the parade of rarities produced at the Chelyabinsk Tractor Plant.
The prototype of the S-60 tractor was the American Caterpillar-60 of the company of the same name. The main purpose of the tractor was to work with trailed agricultural machines and drive stationary devices. Due to heavy losses, the Red Army at the beginning of the war withdrew most of the S-60 and S-65 tractors from agriculture. They were used to tow large-caliber guns, in particular the 152-mm ML-20.
In 1939, the company expanded its product range, simultaneously mastering the production of a tractor for artillery S-2 or "Stalinets-2". Its power was already one hundred and five horsepower. The Chelyabinsk plant celebrated the day of March 30, 1940 with a new achievement: the 100,000th tractor rolled off its assembly line that day. Meticulous extras calculated that the total power of all the machines produced by the enterprise up to this point amounted to six million horsepower, which is approximately equal to the power of ten Dnipro HPPs.
Transport tractor S-2 "Stalinets-2"
C-2 tractors were on all fronts, at most on the South-West. They carried 85mm anti-aircraft guns, as well as medium and heavy artillery systems, including 203mm howitzers and 280mm mortars. They were effectively used in the evacuation of medium and light tanks. By September 1, 1942, the army had about nine hundred C-2 tractors. They were carefully taken care of, since factory supplies of spare parts have not been produced since 1942. There was a case when the C-2 driver's gearbox broke down, and in order not to abandon the car, he drove in reverse one hundred and thirty kilometers to his unit. Unfortunately, not a single such military tractor has survived to this day.
The expectation of war, hovering in the air, required a reorientation of production, and in 1940 intensive research work and preparation for the production of heavy tanks (type KV) were carried out at ChTZ together with the designers of the Kirov plant in the city of Leningrad. At the same time, a fuel pump for engines of T-12 bombers was being prepared. The first tank was accepted at ChTZ by the state commission on the last day of 1940.
The beginning of the invasion of the Nazis and their rapid advance through our territory in 1941 forced the country's leadership to urgently evacuate all large enterprises deep into the USSR, in particular to the Urals. The main production shops and specialists of the Kirov plant were transported to Chelyabinsk from Leningrad in the shortest possible time. Production was deployed on the territory of ChTZ. In the future, the Kharkov Motor Plant and five more enterprises evacuated from the territories already captured by the enemy were attached to it. On the move, in the cold, among the snowdrifts, people unloaded the equipment, immediately put the machines on the foundations and put them into operation. Only then were the walls erected around the equipment and the roof was erected. Seventeen new workshops were built and launched in the shortest possible time. As a result, on the site of the former Chelyabinsk Tractor Plant, the largest machine-building plant for the production of military equipment and weapons was created under the code name "Tankograd".
Officially, from October 6, 1941, the enterprise became known as the Kirov Plant of the People's Commissariat of the Tank Industry. Even after the end of the war, for twenty years, Chelyabinsk residents produced their products under the brand name of the Kirov plant.
The production of tanks was started at one or two per day, but soon this number was brought to twelve or fifteen. All shops worked in a barracks position. In cold rooms people worked for sixteen to eighteen hours, systematically malnourished and sleep deprived, with full dedication. No one left their seats until they completed two or three norms per shift. The words: “Everything for the front! Everything for Victory! The company's specialists managed to put on stream the assembly of heavy tanks IS-1, IS-2, IS-3 and KV. The Chelyabinsk Kirovsky plant was slowly becoming the country's main military supplier, producing the latest and greatest examples of military equipment, without which it would be simply impossible to resist such a well-trained and equipped enemy as the German army. ISs represented all the best that domestic heavy tank building could offer. They harmoniously combine speed, armor and weapons. Lighter than the heavy tanks of the Germans, with thicker armor and a more powerful cannon, they were unmatched in terms of maneuverability. After the ISs appeared on the battlefields, the command of the Third Reich forbade their tankers to contact them in open battle.
In addition to heavy tanks, the plant produced the most famous and widely used T-34s, as well as SU-152 (self-propelled guns). In total, during the war, Tankograd produced and sent to the front eighteen thousand self-propelled artillery installations and tanks of various types, eighteen million blanks for ammunition and forty-nine thousand diesel engines for tanks. Despite the tense situation, the engineering minds of the enterprise worked fruitfully, which during the war created thirteen new types of self-propelled guns and tanks, as well as six types of diesel engines for these combat vehicles. For selfless work and outstanding achievements, the plant's staff for the entire war period was awarded the Red Banner of the State Defense Committee thirty-three times as the winner of the All-Union competition. Two banners were even left at the enterprise for eternal storage. On August 5, 1944, the plant was awarded the Order of the Red Star and the Order of Lenin for services in the development and production of new types of equipment and invaluable assistance to the army. The second Order of Lenin was awarded to the design bureau of the plant for achievements in the development and production of tank diesel engines on April 30, 1945.
After the end of the war, the work of the enterprise again entered a peaceful course, and on January 5, 1946, the plant produced its first post-war brainchild, the Stalinets-80 or S-80 tractor, in which a closed-type cab was already used. Since mid-July 1946, the enterprise has launched mass production of this machine, indispensable for the post-war restoration of the economy, which was subsequently widely used not only in the development of fallow virgin lands, but also during the construction of the largest and most ambitious facilities of the Soviet Union. By the way, of the entire fleet of machines that carried out earthworks during the construction of the Volga-Don Canal, ChTZ tractors accounted for more than half of the available equipment and completed most of the work.
"Stalinets-80" or S-80
The S-80 had good traction, large power reserves and increased productivity. The universal design was designed for different types of work: agricultural, road, construction. The tractor was used as a bulldozer, a grubber, there was even a swamp version with wide tracks. Having rightfully earned the title of national, the S-80 tractor was used to create canals, plow fallow lands, and restore the economy. It was used until the mid-1970s.
Historical for the Chelyabinsk Tractor Plant is the day of June 20, 1958, when the enterprise was finally returned to its original name. By that time, the plant was already mastering the production of a new T-100 machine, which in 1961 won the gold medal of the international exhibition. The T-100 tractor (popularly nicknamed "weaving") was distinguished by a high level of comfort inside the cab for the sixties, it had a soft seat, lighting, forced ventilation. A number of machines of this type are still in operation. The tractor was produced by the enterprise until 1963, when its improved model T-100M (108 horsepower), also awarded the highest international award in 1968, was introduced into production.
By 1964, ChTZ was already producing twenty-two models of the T-100M tractor, among which a significant part was occupied by machines with increased productivity and reliability for working in swampy areas, permafrost zones, as well as on sandy soils. And back in January 1961, the Chelyabinsk plant launched into mass production a completely new type of diesel-electric tractors DET-250, having a capacity of three hundred and ten horsepower and subsequently awarded three times medals of international exhibitions (in 1960, 1965 and 1966 th).
DET-250 is designed to work as a bulldozer or ripper. In addition, the equipment of the drilling-crane machine, yamobur, trench excavator can be fixed on the tractor. The only tractor in the world (except for DET-320) with an electromechanical transmission. This is due to the fact that at the Chelyabinsk Tractor Plant they could not organize the production of machines with a hydromechanical transmission, and the mechanical one was recognized as inexpedient. Despite being overweight, low efficiency. and a complex cooling system, the electromechanical transmission of the DET-250 tractor has certain advantages over the hydromechanical transmission in cold climatic zones.
Without stopping the production of tractors, at the end of the sixties, a major reconstruction of the enterprise began and its complete re-equipment in accordance with the new requirements of the time and preparation for the manufacture of tractors of the new generation T-130. Construction of new facilities and work on the reconstruction of ChTZ on May 26, 1970 received the status of the All-Union Komsomol construction site. And already on January 22, 1971, the plant received another award, the Order of Lenin, for excellent performance in fulfilling the tasks of the five-year production development plan. It was on the basis of this plant that on November 10, 1971, the first production association in the history of Soviet engineering was created “ChTZ im. Lenin”, which united four more production branches.
The T-130 tractor is a deep modernization of the T-100. These machines deserve a controversial assessment. Compared to tractors of a similar class, they were easy to maintain, repair and inexpensive. However, the design of the T-130, "rooted" in the thirties, is seriously outdated. The mechanical transmission complicated the control, the levers and pedals vibrated strongly, the semi-rigid suspension did not allow the engine to realize its traction potential, and the lifespan of the side clutches was very short.
On May 31, 1983, by the anniversary date from the date of creation, the enterprise received the Order of the Red Banner of Labor, and on June 1, the first-born ChTZ and the first domestic tracked vehicle S-60 were installed on a pedestal in the square in front of the plant. To the golden date, the plant's specialists also timed the release of the world's first heavy-duty tractor T-800, used for dismantling rocks in especially difficult conditions, where explosives are powerless. A significant day for ChTZ was the day of November 3, 1984, when the millionth tractor with the company's marking came off the production conveyor. And September 1988 was marked by another unusual achievement: the T-800 bulldozer-ripper was entered in the Guinness Book of Records for the highest productivity and gigantic dimensions.
The T-800 is the largest tractor produced in Europe. A total of ten of them were produced. The thrust force at par is seventy-five tons, the maximum is one hundred and forty, the engine power is more than eight hundred horsepower. The total weight of the T-800 is more than one hundred tons. The giant was baptized at the construction of the South Ural nuclear power plant and during the reconstruction of Magnitka. The machine performed tasks where no other equipment could function in principle. While trying to deliver the T-800 for diamond mining in Yakutia, the platform of Aeroflot's most powerful aircraft, Antey, collapsed, unable to support its weight. Subsequently, the tractor was delivered by the Mriya superliner.
Since 1992, a new stage began in the life of ChTZ. First, on April 30, the Government of the Russian Federation made a decision to privatize it. Then on October 1, the production association was transformed into OJSC URALTRAK by the decision of the shareholders' meeting. But three and a half years later, on April 27, 1996, the same meeting decided to change the name to JSC "Chelyabinsk Tractor Plant". The difficult situation in the country, the wrong financial policy, despite the demand for the company's products in the market, led in 1998 to the recognition of ChTZ bankrupt and its complete reorganization. However, the legendary enterprise managed to survive, after the changes made, a new machine-building giant appeared on the market, named ChTZ-Uraltrak LLC.
Every year improving the manufactured model range of machines, the plant's products are constantly awarded honorary titles and awards. At the international exhibition "URALSTROY - 2000" held on September 25, 2000 in the city of Ufa, ChTZ tractors received the gold Cup of the 1st degree. And two years later, at the end of July 2002, the country's first regional shopping center, ChTZ-URALTRAK, was opened in Perm.
In a solemn atmosphere, the seventieth anniversary of the plant was celebrated on June 1, 2003, when from the gates of the enterprise a whole column of machines proceeded to the view of the townspeople, in which all models of tractors produced at different times by the enterprise were presented. The already legendary S-65 and later modernized brands of tractors took part in the tractor parade. Among the samples of military equipment, one could see both the "old man" T-34, and the BMP-1 and T-72 in the arsenal of the modern Russian army. The column that followed along the main street of Chelyabinsk gave the city residents the opportunity to see with their own eyes the engineering vehicles, wheeled and small-sized vehicles produced by the plant. Later, this most interesting exposition was installed on a prepared demonstration site, which was visited in a few days by several tens of thousands of residents and guests of the city.
ChTZ products have received recognition abroad as well, some vehicle models are exported. On July 25, 2003, for his contribution to the strengthening of friendly economic relations between Vietnam and the Russian Federation, the President of this Socialist Republic decided to award the staff of the plant with the Order of Friendship. In May 2009, ChTZ-URALTRAK became the Best Russian Exporter of 2008 among mechanical engineering enterprises, confirming this title a year later.
Certain models of tractors created at ChTZ have repeatedly become diploma winners of the competition well known among domestic manufacturers under the name "100 best goods of Russia": in December 2004 this honor was awarded to the DET-320 model, in December 2010 - the T13 tractor and loader PK-65, and in 2011 - bulldozer B-8. In addition, the enterprise itself was awarded for the high quality of its products. Another evidence of the recognition of the plant's authority was the election of ChTZ General Director V. Platonov to the post of the head of the committee of the Russian Chamber of Commerce and Industry in July 2006.
It is curious, but the good "deeds of the enterprise for the good of mankind" were also noted by the Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia Alexy II, who in June 2008 decided to award ChTZ with the Order of the Holy Right-Believing Prince Dmitry Donskoy.
Obtaining a European quality certificate for one of the models of equipment produced by the enterprise (bulldozer B11) in June 2009 and a certificate for labor protection in June 2010 opened the way for ChTZ to the EU market with the possibility of organizing joint production. The fruitful cooperation with Italian partners resulted in the mini-foundry launched in September 2010. And in January of the same year, the enterprise began testing the latest bulldozers using the GLONASS satellite navigation system.
In March 2011, Uralvagonzavod Corporation acquired a controlling stake in ChTZ (63.3%), which, together with the shares already owned by this enterprise, amounted to about 80%. The agreement between UVZ and ChTZ was rightfully called the "Deal of 2011". The main direction of production of the plant as part of UVZ was the production of road-building equipment for civil purposes. Thus, today ChTZ is one of the largest production associations in Russia, which can offer Russian and foreign consumers not only high-quality tractors, bulldozers and engineering machines, but also high-capacity pipelayers, vibratory rollers, loaders and diesel engines, as well as diesel engines. generator sets and diesel-hydraulic stations, spare parts for tractors of our own production, mini-tractors and communal machines. In recent years, the plant's products have become familiar not only in the former Soviet republics, but also in sixteen foreign countries, including the states of Eastern Europe, Vietnam, India, Indonesia, the United Arab Emirates and many others. Large export orders for foreign countries, as well as internal orders of the Federal Forestry Agency, oil and gas corporations, allowed the enterprise to finally solve all financial problems and resume hiring personnel for the first time in many years.