The one and only Chelyabinsk.

So my first business trip this year… Wait, what am I saying — this decade! :) Okay, so my first business trip this decade took me to the famed Chelyabinsk!

If you know Russia well, you know the stereotypes about how “tough/rugged” the people are here. But it’s not a bad thing! No, just the opposite, the jokes are reverent! One-liners like “People from Chelyabinsk are so tough that…” have turned the city into such a well-known brand that if I was… I don’t know, a taxi driver, I’d give everyone from here 10% off just out of respect! I can’t get enough of these memes! I searched the web for these memes and couldn’t stop laughing for 15 minutes :) The best part is that the jokes all mean well. The pictures and quotes are respectful in the vein of “don’t mess with Chelyabinsk”.

A question for %Russian hackers%: Got the guts to infect this Chelyabinsk flash drive? :)

In short, people in Chelyabinsk aren’t just tough, they’re very enterprising and keen on innovation. Years ago they were one of the first to recognize our newest solutions even when they were just prototypes. That’s a good a reason as any to take a trip to Chelyabinsk and show love to all these progressive guys and gals and guarantee the closest partnerships moving forward. “Peace and love,” as they say :) So ticket, plane, runway, sky! See ya Moscow! Next stop, Chelyabinsk!

Note to Aeroflot: pay more attention to this plane. First off, the paint’s chipping off the wings. Secondly, inside it sounds like an angle grinder cutting pipes. “It’s the air conditioning,” me and Petrovich agreed. “Yeah, the air vents,” the cabin attendant prompted as we deboarded. We only had to listen to this “music” for two hours; the flight attendants have to deal with it all day!

Okay, now it’s Chelyabinsk time! What’re we doing here?

The main reason is to visit ChelPipe, a pipe-rolling plant and old partner and customer of ours.

Built in 1942, or rather evacuated from Mariupol during the WWII, and first operating in an open field with no walls or ceiling, today ChelPipe is one of Russia’s largest core enterprises and a pipe supplier to many major construction projects. The company has a rich and interesting history. But our destination was its newest workshop opened in 2010. It’s called Vysota 239 (“vysota” means “height” in Russian) because this “captain’s bridge” is 239 meters above sea level. The workshop has an innovative design both inside and out. You’ve got to admit it’s not what you’d expect a metallurgical plant to look like!

And the tour begins. This isn’t a special showroom, it’s a real workshop where pipes are actually manufactured. Real metal pipes. In a wide open, clean(!) space with plants in tubs lining the “corridor” and only minimal metallurgy smells. You only hear the occasional boom of a sheet being pressed. The workshop is super long, 700+ meters, with practically no workers! Production is automated to the max.

Wait, no, here’s proof of people in the workshop. A whole symphonic orchestra! This place is truly unique. Imagine classical music in a pipe-rolling plant!

Looks like the concert was here ->

Here’s a glimpse of the production process. A metal sheet is pushed along to the press and undergoes various inspections and seam welding. Then they chop off the pipe’s “ears,” do some more engineering inspections of its flatness and soundness, and off to the next stage. All the while, I’ll say it again, in a clean space with hardly any smells or sounds. They call this “white” metallurgy. In other words, a people-centric and environmentally friendly manufacturing process.

Boom! A rock garden! They really bust out the big guns :) A real – almost Japanese – rock garden. Well groomed to boot.

But I must admit, they’re not unique in this sense. For example, NLMK Lipetsk has a full on swan lake on their grounds. Don’t believe me? Click the link for evidence.

On we go. This isn’t a warehouse. The way they explained it, there isn’t any warehouse storage here in the traditional sense. Pipes are made to order and only stick around until they’re loaded onto specially equipped vehicles.

Some of the most innovative ChelPipe-exclusive products are on display to inspire staff and, obviously, impress tour groups. And impressed we were. To be frank, we all walked out of the workshop a little speechless. Nobody expected in the least that level of comfort and design, let alone a rock garden in a metallurgical plant. In a word — awesome.

The second half of our tour was in a workshop specializing in non-standard pipe products called Eterno. Don’t mind the camel statues, they’re a symbol of Chelyabinsk.

Inside the workshop. Semi-finished and finished products, and metal furnaces.

Yes! The semi-finished stuff is coming out the furnace and ready to roll! Straight off to the press…

What happened next wasn’t very visible :) They rolled the semi-finished material, took it out and put it in the corner to cool.

And I’ll say it again: clean, spacious, and truly a sight to be seen!

Only the occasional welding sparks… Oops, wasn’t fast enough to catch them :)

An “achievements in pipe rolling” exhibit showing how automated robots manufacture the most complex constructions, and other technological accomplishments.

If you haven’t gotten enough iron yet, you can go pump some on the second floor :)

Okay, last time: everything here is so carefully colored, maintained and designed! It’s a pleasure to look at and makes you want to go work study to be an rolling-mill operator industrial control system engineer :)

We work closely with ChelPipe Group on a number of projects I’d like to talk about here too, but I figured they’d be best for another time. I don’t want to make future promises, I’d rather share the here and now.

There was a reason for talking about studying to become an engineer – they weren’t just idle words. Because now it’s time to talk about our collaboration with the South Urals State University. And not just as part of our traditional cyber-education programs.

The university folks from Chelyabinsk are so advanced that they found the necessary materials about our immune operating system, studied everything themselves, selected students and carried out three interesting projects. They were: a gateway for data exchange between subnets on the ModBus protocol; an automatic system for forming security policies to control IPC (inter-process communication); and a steganography module to hide data exchange in industrial devices. Everything was based on KasperskyOS and they did it all by themselves.

Yes, I’m ashamed to admit it, but there was almost zero participation from our side. It won’t happen again though – we’ll be helping everyone with materials, specialists, invitations to conferences and anything else that’s required. And in this particular case I decided to go to Chelyabinsk and personally say thank you to all of them and their leader Mr. Andrey Barinov. There are quite a few photos because, well, it’s no trouble for me, educational for you, and it’ll be nice for them to see themselves in my stories :) Besides, they deserve it – they all did an excellent job!

“Keep up the good work!” Petrovich said.

And another thing. I promise to visit, meet and communicate with the most advanced educational institutions that promote our OS. And build new, secure solutions on it.

And that’s where the Chelyabinsk stories come to an end. Or rather, “to be continued” :)

Check out my other Chelyabinsk pictures here.

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