Kazan Silicate Wall Materials Plant — industry of the century in the Republic of Tatarstan

Almost no construction in the city of Kazan and the Republic of Tatarstan is complete without silicate bricks, and most of all in Tatarstan and the Volga Region it is produced by the Kazan Silicate Wall Materials Plant

Kazan Silicate Wall Materials Plant — industry of the century in the Republic of Tatarstan
Photo: Roman Khasaev/realnoevremya.ru

In November, one of the oldest enterprises in the construction industry of Tatarstan — Kazan Silicate Wall Materials Plant, which is part of TAIF Group, turns 92 years old. About what is the secret of the longevity of production, why silicate wall materials have been popular with builders for centuries, and what plans the KZSSM builds for the future — read in the material of Realnoe Vremya.

Environmentally safe, meeting modern requirements in construction

All this is silicate brick, or, as it is also called, artificial stone, the basis of which is natural environmentally friendly materials: limestone (6-11%) and sand (90-95%). The building material has been known to mankind since 1880, it was then that Dr. Michaelis received a patent in Berlin for the manufacture of silicate bricks. The production technology has certainly improved during this time — powerful presses and new product formats have been added, such as coloured, rusticated silicate bricks or large- and small-format blocks. But at the heart of all the same components as a century ago — sand (Silicon dioxide), thanks to which silicate materials got their name.

Silicate brick has been known to mankind for already a century. Photo: Roman Khasaev/realnoevremya.ru

“Silicate bricks and stones are made by pressing a moistened mixture of siliceous materials and lime or other lime-containing binders with or without pigments, followed by hardening under the action of saturated steam in an autoclave, from where the finished product comes out after 8-10 hours," Rustam Fayrushin, the director general of the KZSSM, said about the technological process.

In terms of environmental friendliness, silicate wall materials are in no way inferior to natural ones. The indisputable advantages of silicate bricks include the lowest level of radiation background among all wall materials, one of the highest indicators for sound and thermal insulation, frost resistance. Besides, the company's catalog presents a wide range of colours and various textures of the face brick surface. Due to the fact that the production of silicate bricks requires two times less electricity, fuel and capital investments, a lower cost of products is provided compared to the production of ceramic products.

Marat Minnivaleev: “A house made of silicate bricks will stand for 200 years complying with technology.” Photo: Roman Khasaev/realnoevremya.ru

“Our brick is used in almost all types of construction: multi-storey residential, private, industrial, socially significant objects. In compliance with the design solutions for the construction and proper operation of buildings constructed of silicate bricks, the service life reaches 200 years," explains the chief engineer of the KZSSM, Marat Minnivaleev.

92 years for benefit of Tatarstan

“In November 1930, the Silicate Plant named after May 1, one of the first enterprises of the construction industry of Tatarstan, was launched on the northern outskirts of the city," the event of a little less than a century ago, which gave rise to today's production, is modestly presented on the website of the Kazan Silicate Wall Materials Plant itself. In the first year of its operation — in 1931, the company was able to produce about 10 million pieces of silicate bricks. This despite the fact that most of the operations at that time were performed manually.

In the capital of Tatarstan, there are still many houses built of silicate bricks in the 30s, 40s, 50s, which only confirms the validity of the statement about the durability of this material.

Recently, the old pressing equipment has been replaced at the KZSSM with a new domestic one. Photo: Roman Khasaev/realnoevremya.ru

A familiarisation tour of the plant for the journalist and photographer of Realnoe Vremya was conducted by the chief engineer of the KZSSM, Marat Minnivaleev. According to him, the production has been seriously improved over the past decades. Improvements continue today. Recently, the old presses have given way to more powerful hydraulic presses produced in Germany and Russia. Thanks to the improvement of production, the accuracy of the geometric dimensions of the products has been increased, which was immediately noted by the consumers of the KZSSM — the leading construction companies of the republic and individual developers.

Transportation of raw materials to autoclaves for steaming. Photo: Roman Khasaev/realnoevremya.ru

The issues of current and major repairs of the imported component of equipment have also been resolved at the enterprise. In the context of unprecedented sanctions pressure on Russia, it has become difficult to build a constructive dialogue with former partners — foreign suppliers of components and parts. However, monitoring and preliminary negotiations proved that in Russia as a whole, and in Tatarstan in particular, there are enough companies ready to serve even the most complex equipment with high quality and with a guarantee.

Main issues with the maintenance of imported equipment at the enterprise have been resolved. Photo: Roman Khasaev/realnoevremya.ru

Plan for 2022 is 85 million pieces

Today, about 300 people work at the KZSSM. According to Marat Minnivaleev, the backbone was formed a long time ago. Everyone clearly knows their tasks, because the processes do not stop for a minute. The brick does not stay long on the temporary storage site. There are always several trucks for loading. Once one leaves, the following arises: at the height of the construction season in the republic, a lot of high-quality bricks are needed.

At temporary storage sites, the KZSSM products do not stay long — long vehicles line up for silicate bricks. Photo: Roman Khasaev/realnoevremya.ru

“Last year, we produced 83 million pieces of bricks, this year, I think, we will get 85 million pieces of bricks," the chief engineer of the KZSSM cited the figures in a conversation with the journalist of Realnoe Vremya. “About 20 types of products are produced. The plant works steadily, the plan is implemented. The main products are consumed by the construction organisations of Tatarstan," Marat Minnivaleev added during the tour around production.

Main volumes of manufactured products are shipped to Tatarstan builders. Photo: Roman Khasaev/realnoevremya.ru

In addition to the classic single and one-and-a-half silicate bricks, coloured crushed bricks with a front side decorated with natural stone are in increasing demand. They go to the exterior cladding of the facades of buildings and look great on both private buildings and apartment buildings.

Coloured facade silicate bricks are becoming increasingly popular. Photo: Roman Khasaev/realnoevremya.ru

The selection of high-quality, resistant and, at the same time, close to natural, that is, environmentally neutral, dyes from production specialists took a lot of time, but now the brick does not lose brightness over time.

The line of crushed bricks is also working almost non-stop.

Crushed brick preparation line works almost non-stop. Photo: Roman Khasaev/realnoevremya.ru

The KZSSM is ready to guarantee high quality and timely delivery of its products. Our own certified laboratory controls all stages of production — from the acceptance of raw materials to the acceptance of finished products to the warehouse. The KZSSM products comply with GOST 379-2015.

KZSSM's own certified laboratory conducts strict quality control at all stages — from incoming raw materials to the moment of shipment of finished products. Photo: Roman Khasaev/realnoevremya.ru

Silicate is the only and irreplaceable

“From the very moment of its foundation, that is, since 1998, all our construction sites have been of silicate bricks. Why? Just my opinion: there is no alternative to silicate brick. I am for ceramic bricks with both hands, but this material is expensive, and in construction it is mainly used in wet rooms. The silicate brick is universal. It is suitable for both external and internal masonry. And it is suitable for partitions. The only one and, as I believe, irreplaceable," Andrey Belyakov, the CEO and founder of FSK Breeze PLC, one of the largest developers in the Republic of Tatarstan, an active participant in the implementation of state construction programmes, is sure.

Andrey Belyakov: “Silicate brick is the only one and, as I believe, irreplaceable.” Photo: Maksim Platonov/realnoevremya.ru

“We work only with the KZSSM. All our facilities are located in Kazan, and in logistics, the KZSSM covers all our needs in full. As for the assortment, the main product in demand by us is a white silicate brick for internal masonry. But in the practice of construction, we have repeatedly had both commercial and social facilities, where coloured silicate bricks were used for facades. There were no problems with this construction material either," Radik Shamsetdinov, the head of logistics at Ak Tash Group of Companies, also a major developer in Tatarstan, told the journalist of Realnoe Vremya.

“To be honest, in high-rise housing construction, houses are built entirely of silicate bricks. But not from ceramics. In this regard, the silicate brick wins. Due to the geometry, due to the speed of masonry. Silicate and ceramic bricks are quite comparable in strength characteristics, but it is more convenient and faster to work with silicate bricks in terms of masonry speed. Technological control is constantly carried out at the KZSSM, which allows achieving both good density and geometry accuracy. We often use silicate bricks also for cladding both in public areas and in exterior masonry," said Ilgizar Sibgatullin, the executive director of the large construction company Amanat, which is one of the key general contractors of the developer Unistroy.

“We work in compliance with all construction technologies and pay special attention to the selection of high-quality building materials that meet all modern requirements. We cooperate only with leading manufacturers of building materials. One of our main suppliers is the Kazan Silicate Wall Materials Plant. A huge plus is also that the plant is actively expanding the offered range of facing bricks, which gives us the opportunity to implement facade solutions in different styles," Andrey Alekseev, the founder and director of KST PLC, which is currently one of the leaders of the Tatarstan design and construction of individual housing market, shared in a conversation with the journalist of Realnoe Vremya.

“Since 2010, we have been introducing over 2,4 million housing units annually, and in 2021 we reached the level of 3 million 11 thousand. This is a record level. This year, we plan an even larger volume — about 3,1 million. We already see the groundwork for 2023 — by almost 6%, and we need to increase the volume of groundwork for the next years," Ilshat Gimaev, the deputy minister of construction, architecture and housing of Tatarstan, shared in an interview. He also added: “Our manufacturers of building materials are one of the most important links that allows us to achieve these indicators and goals.”

The deputy minister is confident that silicate building materials have been used, are being used and will be used in construction in the future:

“Silicate brick turned out to be very viable in two positions, because it has always been more attractive in basic parameters and it has a very good property — precise geometry. It is very convenient for laying out. Silicate brick has been modernised, is competitive, and has a diverse architecture. Not everyone will be able, looking at a number of facades made of various materials, to determine exactly where silicate bricks were used for cladding. It really takes a very serious share in both high-rise and low-rise construction.

Advertising of KZSSM PLC. Token: Pb3XmBtzsyxgbJTr84ehz5rFWtDN9fjutznYs2n. Photo: realnoevremya.ru (archive)

And the key producer of silicate building materials in Tatarstan and the Volga Region is the Kazan Silicate Wall Materials Plant. If necessary, the plant is ready to increase production volumes. The design capacity of the plant exceeds 117 million pieces of conventional bricks a year.

The management of the Kazan Silicate Wall Materials Plant is ready for a constructive and productive dialogue with consumers.

Arseny Favstritsky