Men of steel

In March 2011, Centravis celebrated its 20th anniversary as a company.

Founded in Dnepropetrovsk as a family-run trading business during the privatisation phase in Ukraine, the company has since grown rapidly as a result of constant development. Since 2000, Centravis has gained a four per cent worldwide market share in the manufacture of seamless stainless steel tubes. The company can also boast eight per cent global coverage of the heat-exchanger tubing market, three per cent of the boiler tube sector and ten per cent of the hollow bar market, delivering stainless steel solutions to more than 70 countries.

Over the past five years Centravis’ main mill in Nikopol, one of the largest of its kind in Europe, has increased its annual production volume to 18,500 tonnes, achieving an annual growth rate of ten per cent. Accompanying this the company has gradually extended its distribution facilities, shipping more goods to locations including Austria, Switzerland, Denmark, Norway, Germany, Italy, India, Australia and the US.

Year on year Centravis widens its product assortment, improves its technical processes and increases its production volumes and productivity levels: “We have a wide product range of stainless steel tube and piping goods and take pride in being useful, comfortable and thoughtful partners to all our customers, 50 per cent of which are based in Europe,” Sergey Svidunovich, sales director for Centravis, states.

“The oil and gas industry is very important to us,” Sergey explains, “we operate mostly in the domestic markets with customers like LUKOIL and Rosneft, but we also ship our goods to ExxonMobil for its production work in America and we conduct business with Shell in the Netherlands and Total in France.”

One of the reasons behind Centravis’ two decades of success is that its extensive product portfolio satisfies a vast number of industry requirements. Creating this catalogue of products has been possible by investing in modern plant equipment and utilising the broad experience of the company’s employees. Centravis’ stainless steel solutions are also found in chemical industries, nuclear and thermal power engineering, machinery and shipbuilding operations.

Striving for excellence in regards to both its products and services, the company makes it a point to always meet the expectations of its customers and to provide satisfaction. Different parameters such as the use of special instruments, additional finishing, various methods of testing and individual packaging can be adapted at Centravis’ production plant in Nikopol. In addition, support is offered by the company’s logistics office where an intelligent system and an international network of warehouses can promise an on-time, convenient delivery to all key regions.

At a time where health and safety is one of the hottest topics in the industry, Centravis ensures that all its tubular products meet thehighest possible quality standards. To do so it incorporates a multilayered quality control system that begins at the planning stages of any project through the use of process charts and assurance plans. This initial stage determines the sequences taken during technological operations, the equipment and personnel required for production and the control required in order to comply with the desired standards and specifications.

The next phase is the control of incoming billets, which all have to pass inspections carried out by competent experts. Documentation is examined, a visual inspection is carried out and detailed chemical analysis of each melt is undertaken. Further mechanical and technological tests can be applied if requested in writing before operational control commences. This is carried out directly by production executors in order to give them total confidence in the materials going into the finished product. The basis of this stage of control lies in a ‘three no’ rule that stresses not to receive, produce or hand over nonconforming products. The final checks are carried out by the administratively independent QCD group that checks that all finished products meet the specific requirements set by the customer.

Aware of its responsibilities towards the environment the company has an elaborate ecological policy focused on preventing environmental pollutions, ensuring the safety of its workers and improving health protection. Being awarded a highly regarded EN ISO 14001-2004 certificate gives external partners proof that Centravis’ success can be put into the sphere of ecological safety, where it is committed to minimalising its influence on the environment. Central to its ecological policy is its drive to achieve a gradual decrease of rejections, discharges, consumption values and formation of dangerous chemicals.

In January 2011, Centravis gained approval from Petrobras to act as an approved customer of seamless stainless tubes and pipes. This exciting deal provides the company with the opportunity to supply products according to the requirements of the Brazilian oil and gas industry: “Like other companies, we are always trying to find the most interesting new markets for us to operate in,” Sergey says, “I think this year we will increase our business in Brazil as right now there are possibilities to work on a large number of projects.” Other companies that have gained approvals include oil companies such as Shell (worldwide), Aramco Overseas Company (worldwide), Petrobras (Brazil), NAM (Netherlands), Repsol (worldwide), Exxon (worldwide), and engineering businesses such as Technip (France/worldwide), SABIC (Saudi Arabia) and Petrofac (UK).

At the heart of the company’s business progression plan is the investment programme that Centravis uses to improve its technological capabilities on a regular basis. The company also has specific targets it hopes to achieve within the next four years, as Sergey highlights: “Our target is to remain very active in Western Europe and in the US while continuing to boost our production levels by an average of 15 per cent each year. So by 2015 we want to be producing and selling approximately 30,000 tonnes of seamless stainless steel goods per annum.”

Products: Production and manufacture of seamless, stainless steel pipes and tubes