Research and Production Association “Electronmash”: Cradle of First Electronic Computing Machines | History of Computing in Ukraine

Research and Production Association “Electronmash”: Cradle of First Electronic Computing Machines

In 1965 the Kyiv Plant of Computing and Controlling Machines began operations. Seven years later, the plant was transformed into the Research and Production Association “Electronmash”, and within a short period became one of the leaders in the production of computing and controlling equipment in the Soviet Union.


Vladimir G. Sergeev

The start of the 1960’s heralded the boom of computing equipment production. All around the Soviet Union special R&D and design institutions and enterprises were created with Kyiv among the fastest and most successful cities to develop and implement computing equipment". Therefore, it was decided to establish a manufacturing plant in Kyiv to rapidly produce computing machines, to meet the growing demand.

The plant became necessary when it turned out that there was no existing factory capable of mass producing of the multipurpose control computer “Dnepr”.

It was here that the USSR’s first multipurpose control computer “Dnepr” was mass produced. Over a 10 year period – from 1965 to 1975 – 500 machines were produced. Mr. Nezabitovskiy Apollinariy Fedorovich became the Director of the plant, and Mr. Sergeev Vyacheslav Petrovich was the Chief Engineer.

In association with the production factory, the Department of Implementation was established, headed by KPI graduate Skalkov Alexey Alekseevich. It was a team of real enthusiasts. Their task was not only to implement current hardware and software, but also to develop new technical means necessary for the automation of real objects.

The “Vikhr” project is a perfect example of the plant team’s working style.Their goal was to develop an automated system to test Moon mission spacecraft propulsion engines. They had only a short time window (less than 300 seconds) to collect a large amount of information from the engine sensors and process it in real-time. The multipurpose control computer “Dnepr” became the kernel of the system; however for this purpose it had to be significantly upgraded. By fall of the year 1965, all the “Vikhr” project products were manufactured and delivered to the Design Bureau of Chief Designer of Space Systems.

In 1972, with the reorganization of Kyiv Plant of Computing and Controlling Machines into the Research and Production Association “Electronmash” , the Scientific – Research Institute of Peripheral Equipment (SRIP) was established. This Institute, headed by Zabara Stanislav Sergeevich, starteddevelopment and production of external devices, magnetic disk drives and magnetic tape storages, alphnumeric display unit, printers, plotting devices, graphic input devices, seismic information recorders, and data-transmission multiplexers. A precision mechanics shop, test ground and tool shop were created especially for this purpose.

The research team of “Electronmash” devoted a lot of effort to ensuring there was an effective final inspection process. The problem-oriented inspection system they established was called “KODIAK”, and it was recognised and widely adopted by many organisations in the Soviet Union. Implementing the “KODIAK” system ensured there were zero defects in the components produced, as well as as well as helping to shorten the debugging cycle and boosting reliability.

Electronmash’s” experience showed that young specialists were the most active and fruitful most active and successful drivers of progress in new technology. After 3-5 years of internship, they became the leading developers, headed new directions of research, managed the laboratories and shops, and were great enthusiasts. Among the first specialists, learning this absolutely new and unique craft were M.S. Galuzinsky, A.A.Sladkov, S.N. Bulka, G.A. Bulka, V.S. Kalinin, Y.A. Dalyuk, S.I. Samarsky, A.E. Pilipchuk, V.A. Boyko, and A.I. Cherednik. Afterward, they became heads of divisions and leading developers.

The association “Electronmash” also shared its experience with many Ukrainian enterprises. Among Electronmash’s “nurselings” were “Terminal” (Vinnitsa), “Electronmash” (Odessa), “Schetmash” (Lubny), Glukhovo Computing Equipment Plant, Tetievo Computing Equipment Plant, Specialized Commissioning Department, the Institute of peripheral equipment with a pilot – production plant, and the Kyiv Education-Computing Center.

The association “Electronmash” and its team have a long list of achievements, including: the production, starting in 1965, of the first semiconductor multipurpose control computerDnepr”; and, in 1966, a machine for engineering analyses “MIR”, that marked the first step toward the creation of personal computers. In 1968 the computing machine “Dnepr-2” was developed and produced. This machine was designed to solve an extensive range of tasks: economic planning, engineering, industrial process control, and data processing. In 1970 production began on the first models of the Modular system of computing equipment M300, and in 1973, on the supervisory computer control system М4030 was completed, and its production was launched. A year later, production of the computing machines M6000 and M400 began at Electronmash, followed in 1978-1989 by the “СМ ЭВМ” model, an international system of small-scale computers. In 1984 Electronmash employees were awarded the State Prize of the Ukrainian SSR for development of an automatic system of diagnostic control of complex electronic equipment modules – “KODIAK” system, and in 1988 Electronmash completed the development and launched the production of the first personal computers “Poisk-1” and “Nivka”.