Optogard Nanotech, a resident of the Skolkovo Foundation that produces laser-plasma technology for strengthening surfaces, on Thursday signed a second agreement with the Chinese company Shandong Trustpipe Industry that represents the first step towards setting up production in the Chinese city of Linyi.

Wan and Smirnov sign their latest agreement at the Skolkovo innovation centre on Thursday. Photo: Sk.ru.

A delegation from Linyi, in the eastern province of Shandong, visited Skolkovo on Thursday to sign the agreement on preparing a project for a laser-plasma technology line. The new deal builds on an earlier agreement concluded in 2014, under which Optogard assembled a test laser-plasma technology unit for covering the surfaces of metals and alloys for Shandong Trustpipe Industry.

Pavel Smirnov, general director of Optogard Nanotech – a resident of Skolkovo’s nuclear technologies cluster – said the earlier project had been a success.

“With the support of the Skolkovo Foundation, which financed the work, we carried out the test covering of the parts that Mr. Wan [Wan Zong Lin, chair of Shandong Trustpipe Industry’s board of directors] kindly provided us with, we tested them and it showed that our technology and that of Mr. Wan is highly effective,” said Smirnov.

“This is an eternal pipe,” he said at the signing on Thursday, demonstrating sections of the Chinese-made pipes that had been treated both inside and out with Optogard technology, making them ultra-hard and resistant to blockages and the buildup of impurities.

Shen, left, and Wan examine sections of treated pipe. Photo: Sk.ru.

Wan said the technology had a lot of potential, and that he expects his company to gain from being the first on the market to introduce the technology. He became interested in the technology after hearing about Optogard via the science department of the Chinese Embassy in Russia, he said.

Smirnov said Trustpipe – one of China’s biggest pipe manufacturers – is one of the first Chinese companies to enter into production cooperation with a Skolkovo company.

“We have huge amount of work ahead of us,” he said at the signing.

“We don’t just plan to sell equipment and leave it at that. In the near future we intend to implement an exchange of technology, so that this kind of equipment is also manufactured in China, among other places,” he explained.

Optogard had not previously intended its surfacing technology, which can also be used to harden medical instruments or any other metal surface, for use in pipes, Smirnov told Sk.ru. “Thanks to them, we have discovered a new application for our technology,” he said.

Wan was part of a delegation that included Shen Rumao, head of Linyi’s municipal science and technology department, which has provided financing and support for the cooperation between Trustpipe and Optogard.

Shen said that the delegation had come not only to see Skolkovo for themselves, but also with the express purpose of speeding up the cooperation between Optogard and Shandong Trustpipe Industry.

Shen invited Igor Karavaev, head of Skolkovo’s nuclear cluster, who was present at the signing, to pay a return visit to China. Karavaev said he would be very interested in visiting Linyi together with some of the foundation’s resident startups, for them to meet with major Chinese companies interested in working with Russian companies. 

A video made by fellow Skolkovo resident Vizerra.ru showing what the production technology line will look like.