Russia has begun test imports of Iran-made tractors as Moscow expands sourcing some of its needs previously reliant on Europe from the Islamic Republic amid Western sanctions.
The first group of Russian technicians, consisting of 13 people from St. Petersburg and Krasnoyarsk oblasts, has completed training courses on service and maintenance of Iranian tractors at Iran Tractor Manufacturing Industrial Company (ITMCO) in Tabriz.
The course included engine, hydraulic and electronic systems, gearbox, cabin and other parts of Iranian tractors, ITMCO Chief Executive Mostafa Vahidzadeh told Fars news agency.
Russia has already issued standard certificate for ITMCO products and imported the first batch of Iranian tractors, he said.
“Given the reception the Iranian tractors got in Russia, the training courses will continue in line with the plans for sales networks and after-sales services in more than 80 oblasts of Russia,” Vahidzadeh said, stating that other groups of Russian experts will travel to Iran in the coming months to participate in training courses.
“Sample tractors have been sent to Russia and are currently being used in the fields. It is expected that with the launch of a sales network and after-sales services, the presence of tractors produced at ITMCO will increase in most Russian oblasts,” he added.
According to Vahidzadeh, ITMCO products are exported to 25 countries. During the last 10 months, various kinds of tractors, engines, casting parts, spare parts and other products worth 37 million dollars have been exported.
ITMCO predates the 1979 Islamic Revolution, having been established in the northwest city of Tabriz in 1968 to assemble Romanian and British tractors.
The A to Z of manufacturing is currently done at ITMCO which has one of the largest cast iron foundries in Iran and the region. Iran Tractor Foundry Company (ITFCO), a subsidiary of ITMCO, also produces some of the key cast parts for major automakers Iran Khodro and Saipa.
ITMCO is the third biggest automotive company in Iran after Iran Khodro and Saipa. Apart from producing 16 types of tractors, it also builds engines for various machines, including graders, compressors, water pumps, generators, forklifts, combine harvesters and road construction vehicles.
Having also tried its hand recently in producing a mini truck which did not meet with the hoped-for success, it now plans to roll out a modern 12-tonne light-duty truck with the help of a Chinese manufacturer.
The company has gone through a series of renovations in recent years, buying more modern machinery and setting up new production lines.
These new lines have led to the creation of an R&D center where experts with high degrees from some of the prestigious universities head workshops and engineering centers.
ITMCO has 12 subsidiaries which contract out many tasks to 800 domestic parts manufacturers. ITMCO tractors are also assembled in Venezuela and Tajikistan.
Speaking to Fars, some of the Russian experts acknowledged that the level of training in Tabriz and ITMCO is on par with “and sometimes even better than” the training they had received in European countries such as Germany and Italy.
“The level of technology of tractors and the reception they have got from Russian farmers is such that it justifies the difficulty of traveling and settling at IMTCO for more than half a month,” one of the technicians said.
"Russian farmers are eagerly waiting for the second batch of tractors to be sent to their country."
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