Oleshky, Ukraine – Machinery maker OSV Technology (OSV) recently released the updated version of its high-pressure foaming machine, the H40. OSV managing director, Oleksii Kuznietsov, says the H40 has new software, making it more user-friendly, and making it easier for the operator to maximise the machine’s potential. It also has a new system for maintaining the thermal stability of the PU components that have been added, and features changes to the feeding system, making it fully automatic and easier to use. The H40 can process a range of rigid and flexible PU foams. The first machine delivered to a customer is already being used to produce insulated vessels.
The release of the H40 is a significant milestone for OSV. But what is most remarkable is the circumstances under which the H40 was produced.
OSV is based in Oleshky, in the Kherson region of Ukraine, which was occupied by the invading Russian army on 24 February 2022. OSV’s headquarters and production facility in Oleshky were closed by Russian forces, leaving machinery under construction, unfinished, and leaving inventory in storage. Many of OSV’s staff were forced to leave their homes in Oleshky and seek refuge in Poland, or in safer areas of Ukraine, while others remained living under occupation. It could easily have been the end of a thriving PU business.
A year later, with astonishing resilience, OSV has restarted operations and is designing and producing new machinery – including the H40 – the biggest machine it has ever designed and produced.
OSV started to feel the effects of the political situation in January 2022, when a large order from overseas was suddenly cancelled after the contract had been signed, but no-one expected a full-scale invasion. On the day the war began, OSV’s founder Oleg Vaikhansky, and marketing director Yuriy Shafran, were visiting the company’s office in Rybnik, Poland. They were later joined by OSV’s senior engineer. Other team members, including Oleksii Kuznietsov, and their senior technologist, settled in Ukraine’s capital, Kyiv.
Initially, the team were unable to make plans for the future. Kuznietsov said: “The first few weeks were a total shock to us. We didn’t understand what the situation would be in the next days or weeks. But then we saw that we had interest from customers abroad, real potential projects, and we decided to adapt to these obstacles.”
Gradually, OSV has settled into a new working pattern. It now has two production sites in operation: one in Kyiv, one in Rybnik, and it also has staff working remotely from various locations. The workforce has shrunk from a pre-war total of 40 – with 25 directly involved in machinery production – to a current staff of 14 (of whom six are involved in machinery production). One area of the business – PU casting – has ceased temporarily, as the machinery needed remains in Oleshky but the machinery business, and the sale of PU components, is back up and running.