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SENSOR FOR SCIENCE – AEROFILTER

Innovation companies managed by “InnoInvest” supply filters for nuclear icebreakers. President Putin supervises the project.

Of course, that is not the only project of innovation companies under the patronage of “InnoInvest”. Nevertheless, there are two the most successful companies we would like to talk about – “AeroFilter” and “Omitex”.

HITTING THE TARGET

“AeroFilter” produces filtering equipment of new generation for NPP, chemical, pharmaceutical, metallurgy and other companies dealing with radiochemistry. The company already has 8 patents. Last year the company launched aerosol iodine filter in the market. 158 of similar filter units were supplied to Leningrad NPP. Designers from Obninsk, Moscow and Kaluga were involved in the project.

Another example are filters for beryllium production (metallic beryllium is used in aviation, rocket and space equipment and gyro instrumentation engineering). By the way, there is an interesting story. In Moscow region there is exactly that type of production. Yet, within the last three years the plant was simply unused – filtering equipment installed in the distant 70th, of course, did not comply with modern requirements and could not cope with the task of cleaning. Authorities prohibited operating. At that point, “AeroFilter” from Obninsk offers their products and in the essence pulls the production out “into the light”.

One more interesting advancement of the company is a so-called vacuum-cleaner for nuclear operations. Actually, in any production facility a lot of local dirt is generated. Of course, powerful filtering systems should be everywhere. But it is much faster to remove small “volume” of garbage using compact equipment. Vacuum cleaner sucks all the dirt and it is only necessary to replace the filters and the entire cleaning system is not involved – significant savings. It was understood very fast though not in our country first, but in Bulgaria, that financed the project for their NPP. Yet, Russian companies began to “move” also quite fast – now such vacuum cleaners are sold quickly in the domestic market.

“First of all we are managers”, Leonid Katukhin, General Director of “InnoINvest” managing company, explains. ”It means we find money for the project, designers, idea and the ways to commercialize it. Actually, the scientists without whom the chain will be immediately broken, are like a doctor who had graduated from his institute long ago. Yes, he knows how the body is structured. However, if he did not work for a long time, then he has not even heard anything about modern laparoscopic surgeries. We do trace all the advancements, we are searching for new materials that we suggest the scientists to use in their research. Due to their special way of thinking, they catch them fast and implement. In other words, they do not waste their time on the search. We do it. Serious savings on research occur. The result is exact hit of the target and offer of a new innovative product in the market.

OUTPERFORMING THE COMPETITORS

The second “success company” is “Omitex”. It is involved in creating of SHF-units for medical waste disinfection. This waste is a serious danger – if not disposed timely, hospital infection will spread instantaneously. Human lives and health will be at risk.

Back in the beginning of the 2000s, Obninsk scientists got a revolutionary idea - to design a facility for disinfection based on SHF-method. The first equipment was supplied under the order of Kaluga region government.

WHO at that time recommended not to use chlorine and its fractions for disinfection. What to do? Basically, there is an alternative disinfection technique – radiation. Yet, it is extremely expensive for the clinics and also not safe. SHF-method became a breakthrough in that sense. However, “Omitex” was immediately confronted with a serious problem – changes to SanPIN rules were needed to supply the units to the market. It was not an easy thing to do, but they managed to break the “paper” wall. The next stage – winning of the market. Another success – at present 70% of the domestic market belongs to the Obninsk company – it has about 2000 units only in Russia. Equipment is also sold to the neighboring countries – Belarus, Ukraine, and Uzbekistan. Even western competitors (Austrian and Israeli firms) cannot displace Obninsk products – their price is too high.

Everything seemed to evolve downhill. However, a few years ago a St. Pete company used Obninsk experience despite of the patent. Those designers only changed the size of the equipment, sent application to Bortnik Foundation and won a grant. Yet, it only encouraged “Omitex” – the scientists designed a facility that not only disinfected, but also compacted the volume of waste actually destroying it, put into practice the use of special presses and destructors. For example, syringes were chopped, and needles were converted into metal pieces so that they can never be re-used.

FUTURE OUTLOOK

Those two companies – “AeroFilter” and “Omitex” – today invest money in the construction of a new building of innovation area in Krasnykh Zor Street. For “InnoInvest” it is a serious step – collateral property will appear, and that means real opportunities to get credits. “Modern economic situation strongly decreases profitability – the share of imported components in our products is big”, Leonid Katukhin explains. “Plus it is hard to get a credit now. We have companies that have completed their startups, should enter the market, but do not risk so far. As an example, we cooperate with large company “Baltic Shore” processing seafood. There is huge power consumption there. We offered the way to reduce it. However, because of the crisis, the project is delayed for now. And we can see 2015 as follows: we will reach our production goals, but we will postpone our aggressive development”.

Though there are some very ambitious targets that “InnoInvest” intends “to hit” this year. Thus, currently “Omitex” together with a Vladimir company supplies mobile facilities for waste disinfection. Imagine a blackout in a hospital; it is powered by a generator. It is necessary to make a surgery first – no time for medical garbage. But it accumulates very rapidly – about 8 kg from each patient per day. And here the vehicle with four units will come to help and solve the problem fast. By the way, Moscow healthcare organizations have already ordered 12 such vehicles. This year the project will be definitely launched.

“AeroFilter” company has won a competition for designing, supplying and installation of filters for 3 nuclear icebreakers reactors. President Putin supervises the project. The task is all-year round navigation in the Northern Sea route.

As of today, the design has already been developed. It is sent for expertise by the Customer – the Baltic Shipbuilding Plant. In the science city, they hope that by the year end supplies of equipment will begin.

Source“People’s Newspaper” Weekly - №4 as of 06.02.2015