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Soviet Union

The Planning and Investment Process of the Machine-Building and Metal-Working Complex

The Twelfth Five-Year Plan (1986-90) called for drastic production increases in the sectors prioducing instruments, machine tools, electrical equipment, chemical, and agricultural machines. Fundamental investment changes were expected to raise machine production to new highs. Overall investment in the machine-industry was to be 80 percent higher than in the Eleventh Five-Year Plan (1981-85). A crucial goal was to shorten the time between research breakthroughs and their industrial application, which had been a chronic bottleneck in the modernization of industry. Another goal of the Twelfth Five-Year Plan was to improve the quality of individual components and spare parts because their short service life was diverting too much metal to making replacement parts. In the mid-1980s, however, severe delivery delays continued for both spare parts and new machines ordered by various industries. Perestroika attempted to simplify the system and to fix responsibility for delays. As the largest consumer of steel in the country, MBMW had felt the impact of severe production problems in the metallurgy industry (see Metallurgy , this ch.). Automation was expected to add speed and precision to production lines. By 1987 nearly half of metal-cutting machine production was done with digital program control. New control complexes stressed microcomputers with high production capacity and low material requirements. Nevertheless, a 1987 Soviet study showed that 40 percent of the robots in machine plants were not working at all, and a 1986 study demonstrated that only 20 percent of the robots were providing the expected production advantages. A long-term (through the year 2000) cooperative program with the other members of the Council for Mutual Economic Assistance (Comecon) was expected to contribute new ideas for streamlining the Soviet machine-building industry (see Appendix B).

Data as of May 1989