Titanium Institute history

In August 1956, in Zaporozhye on the base of then under-construction Dnieper Titanium and Magnesium Plant an affiliate has been formed – SSDI (State Special Design Institute). Its purpose was to provide design and development work for the firstborn of domestic titanium industry – Dnieper Titanium and Magnesium plant. This date is now considered the day of birth of Titanium Institute.

Within two years Institute designers have developed prototype models of apparatus and equipment for second extension of the plant, designed objects of primary and auxiliary production.

In 1958 the affiliate is reorganized into the Ukrainian Non-Ferrous Metallurgy Design Institute "Ukrgiprotsvetmet”. While performing primary work on titanium production development in Zaporozhye, the Institute fulfilled general planning for other non-ferrous metallurgy facilities. By the beginning of 1960 a design team has been formed, the Institute facilities enhance. The Institute forms a Research Division.

Laboratories carried out the research in the fields of advance of production of aluminum, titanium, organic-silicon compounds, new analysis methods were being developed, physical and chemical studies were carried out.

As the Institute did not have its own experimental base, the Institute performed first studies directly on the industrial units, in laboratories and shops of titanium and magnesium, aluminum and electrode plants. This work has been supported by plant experts. The subject of studies was in line with the primary and relevant industry demands. The Institute Design Division grew and consolidated , volume of work increased, work quality improved, the Institute’s prestige has been building up among the customer enterprises, authorities and co-operators.

As the Institute grew, staff qualification improved, scope of design and research activities in the field of titanium industry enhanced. In 1960-1965 a range of large-scale designs and engineering developments for Zaporozhye Titanium and Magnesium Combine was created. Widespread development of research and design activities took place in the fields of creation of closed-type ore-smelting furnace and titanium slag melting technology, high-capacity chlorinators, effective condensing units, high-capacity apparatus for reduction and distillation of titanium sponge, a range of works for improvement of titanium sponge quality has been fulfilled.

Titanium and magnesium industry in USSR has been created in undertime. Growing demand for titanium required high rate of development. This suggested a necessity of extensive reliance on creative forces. A huge amount of plant design work, engineering of equipment for scientific research, mastering of equipment and technology has been fulfilled by Titanium Institute during construction and reconstruction of titanium and magnesium enterprises: in Zaporozhye, Berezniki and Ust-Kamenogorsk with the help of experts from VAMI (All-Union Aluminum-Magnesium Institute), Giredmet (State Research and Design Institute of Rare Metal Industry) and ZTMC, BTMW and UKTMP. Interchange of experience, the creative union forged between this enterprises helped to master the projected plant production capacities in short terms. In 1965 Titanium Institute has been appointed the leading branch institute of titanium industry and was renamed to All-Union Titanium Research and Design Institute.

In the following years VAMI transfers all research work on titanium to the Institute as well as function of leading institute in magnesium production. In line with the Institute specialization fundamental structure changes take place, new laboratories are created and facilities are enhanced.

In 1971 Titanium Institute is merged with DTMZ (Dnieper Titanium and Magnesium Plant) forming ZTMC. In 1976 it regains the status of independent entity – All-Union Research and Design Institute, responsible for titanium and magnesium production. Its structure is enhanced by accession of Berezniki branch (former VAMI institute branch), thus consolidating Titanium Institute and enhancing the volume of research and development work, especially for Berezniki Titanium-Magnesium Works and Solikamsk Magnesium Plant.

The 70s and 80s were marked by constant increase of volume and improvement of quality of research and design work, tightening of creative partnership with experts from production plants and with institutes – co-contractiors. The Institute has acquired the function of general designer of Berezniki Titanium and Magnesium Works and Ust-Kamenogorsk Titanium and Magnesium Plant. Concerning this plant it should be particularly be noted the vast and nationally important amount of work on design and creation of semiconductor facility shops: germanium and, particularly, silicon. At the same time important projects were in place at the other production plants: at Solikamsk Magnesium Plant and Transcarpathian Pilot Plant, at Dnieper Aluminium Plant and Kalush Magnesium Plant, at Dnieper Electrode Plant and Uglekompzit, at KremiyPolimer.

On the basis of the research and design work new facilities have been constructed and most importantly – renovation of plants and equipment has been carried out. This contributed to conversion of titanium and magnesium subindustry into a large scale up-to-date industry, provided with powerful and effective equipment, which guarantees production of high quality products.

Big amount of research and design work has been fulfilled for process stage of chlorination of titanium slag and titanium tetrachloride purification. The Institute performed works for improvement and creation of new techniques for fine cleaning of titanium tetrachloride, studied material composition of complex compounds it contains and methods of their removal. Implementation of the studies results contributed to sharp improvement of the process stage product quality on all plants and to enhance the equipment capacity.

Over a short period of time the joint forces of researchers, designers and industrial personnel contributed to creation of powerful and efficient apparatus and to overhaul of the process stage on all facilities. Together with the improvement of equipment and a big range of works on quality improvement of titanium sponge is carried out.

Special work assignment of the Institute is research of efficient application of titanium and titanium alloys in civil industries. In partnership with VAMI equipment design and overhaul of magnesium electrolysis shops on all enterprises of the sub-industry including installation of high-capacity diaphragmless cells has been carried out. This helped to increase their production rate by up to 20 %, to ensure the increase of production volume without increase of production personnel number, to lower the specific energy consumption by 1400-2000 kW∙h, to increase chlorine yield by 100 kg/mt, to significantly improve sanitary and hygienic work conditions, to eliminate the time-consuming process step of cathode replacement, to mechanize slurry extraction. In partnership with experts from VAMI, Berezniki Titanium-Magnesium Works and Solikamsk Magnesium Plant a new continuous flow process technology for of electrolytic production of magnesium from ilmenite concentrate has been developed and implemented. In partnership with experts in ferrous metallurgy a big range of work on developing of technology for granulated magnesium production for deep purification of cast iron from sulfur has been fulfilled.

One of the most important and advanced challenges for the Institute is titanium powders production technology. Theoretical bases for electrolysis production of powders have been determined and pilot cells have been created. Production personnel together with a number of Institutes and organization a technology for production of powders and powder articles has been created. It has been mastered in an experimental shop at ZTMC and later at Zaporozhye Pilot Plant of Titanium Institute (ZMOZ). This technology has been also implemented at Transcarpathian Pilot Plant of Titanium Institute. The Institute created a large analytical department, equipped with up-to-date analytical instrumentation and equipment. Later it served as a base for creation of Center for Certification of Non-Ferrous Metals and Metrology.

Like most research and design institutes, our Institute lived through hard times in early 90s after the demise of Soviet Union. On the back of production shrinkage on all facilities, which cooperated with the Institute, orders for research and design work declined. Centralized investments to the work have virtually stopped. Berezniki branch has left the Institute structure and became an independent entity under the title Russian Institute of Titanium and Magnesium, Transcarpathian Pilot Plant has also left the structure. In 1993 Zaporozhye Titanium and Magnesium Combine shut down, causing virtually total suspension of all work for the major customer.

At the same time according to the order No. 89 of May 11, 1993 the Institute was appointed leading for research and design engineering, design of non-ferrous metallurgy facilities of Ukraine, and the order No. 209 of September 16, 1993 changed the title to State Titanium Research and Design Institute.

All this required structural adjustment of the Institute operation, finding of new major customers, steady investment to the works in progress. In such conditions it was decided to concentrate mostly on extension of foreign network, search of customers and contracting them.

At that time a contract for design and construction of magnesium plant in Israel on the shore of Dead Sea on the base of carnallite raw material contributed greatly to the Institute’s further existence and development. This work was fulfilled in cooperation with VAMI, Kalush Magnesium Plant, former Berezniki branch of the Institute and other organizations. Almost all of the departments of Design Division and magnesium and analytical departments of Research Division contributed to this work.

As a result of execution of this contract in Israel the most advanced in engineering solutions plant for electrolytic production of magnesium using continuous flow process technology has been constructed, its planned capacity has been quickly reached and surpassed.

Due to this work the Institute was able to keep the leading experts, to acquire the necessary experience of work on foreign sites, to equip the Institute by up-to-date computers and other equipment, to advance to computer-aided design. In the next years the Institute actively develops international cooperation. It acquires business partners from China, India, Australia, Egypt, Brazil, Israel, Canada and other countries.

Works for China must be mentioned specifically. At Fushun Aluminum Plant magnesium production site renovation has been designed and executed. Two plants for production of granulated magnesium have been designed and commissioned, in cooperation with Dniepropetrovsk Institute of Ferrous Metallurgy facilities for cast iron desulphurization have been designed and commissioned at many ferrous metallurgy facilities, production of corrosion-resistant steel has been started up. Titanium slag production plant is under construction.

At the same time a big amount of research and design work were in progress in Ukraine. First of all, range of works on recovery and development of titanium industry in Ukraine must be mentioned. In 1993-94 a State program for development of titanium industry in Ukraine has been developed and approved in partnership with experts from the E.O. Paton Electric Welding Institute Of The National Academy Of Sciences Of Ukraine, ZTMC and other organizations.

Under this program a big range of works has been fulfilled, among which restoration of titanium sponge production at Zaporozhye Titanium and Magnesium Combines must be noted first of all.

Apart from the works at ZTMC, the Institute experts fulfill a wide range of works at other non-ferrous metallurgy facilities in Ukraine, such as Pobuzhye Ferronickel Plant, Nikolaev Alumina Refinery, Kalush Magnesium Plant, JC Ukrgrafit etc.

During the Institute existence it bred a lot of highly-skilled experts, which command the well-deserved respect not only in Ukraine and CIS but worldwide as well.

Dozens of experts have defended their doctor's dissertations. Institute’s scientist and experts wrote and published dozens of books, hundred of scientific papers, obtained a great number of author's certificates and patents. Large number of the Institute employees have been awarded government decorations: orders and medals, Exhibition of Economic Achievements medals and other awards!

At present despite work difficulties the Institute, like many research and design organizations, suffers from, Titanium Institute is a large organization, capable of solving problems concerning development of process technologies and design of non-ferrous metallurgy production plants.