Sky’s the limit for Tees systems business

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Applied Integration

A high-flying Teesside firm has celebrated 10 years in business by designing and delivering a complex control system that will keep UK flights operating on time.

Applied Integration installed an emergency power management control system for a datacentre that ensures the safe and timely operation of all flights across the UK.

Having previously renewed a similar control system for the British Embassy in Moscow, Applied Integration directors believe these initial power management control system contracts are “the tip of the iceberg”.

The work was carried out on behalf of ABB, international leaders in power and automation technologies, who are responsible for the upgrade of similar installations in prestige buildings such as banks and data centers.

Having received hugely positive feedback on the installation, the Stokesley-based systems integrators are now looking to tap into a potential multimillion pound international market over the next decade.

Winners of the Teesside Manufacturing Award in the 2015 North-East Business Awards and twice shortlisted as Teesside Company of the Year, Applied Integration is riding on the crest of a wave 10 years after its foundation.

Launched by directors Roy Coleman, Graham King, Lee Raywood and Garry Lofthouse, the company recently announced plans to double both its £4.4 million turnover and 34-strong workforce over the next five years.

They provide cutting edge, complex control solutions to a wide range of industries, including the oil, gas, petrochemical and food processing sectors, while they have a number of high-profile, long-term contracts to design and develop automation and control systems for the UK’s future nuclear deterrent, the Astute class submarine, on behalf of the Ministry of Defence.

But the latest success could open up a whole new avenue for the company that’s based on Stokesley Business Park.

The Exeter-based client operates the datacentre to provide pre-flight insurance policies for every UK airport, as well as a number of their US counterparts. Prior to take-off, an airline must issue a document to the datacentre detailing vital flight information before the aircraft can be approved to fly.

Information such as the number of passengers on board, baggage count and aircraft weight must all be recorded and sent to the datacentre before being returned with the necessary paperwork required for take-off.

As no plane may leave the runway without such documentation, this is a critical operation that could be badly affected by loss of power, having significant ‘knock-on’ effects to air travel across the globe.

Applied Integration were scoped with the design, build, testing, installation and commissioning of a power management control system that had no single point of failure, as well as allowing one of three backup generators to supply the facility with power should there ever be a failure to the main system.

Applied Integration worked alongside other parties to ensure that all failure scenarios had been captured by the £100,000 system.

Director Garry explained: “Without the insurance certificates, aircraft cannot legally take off, so it is a critical piece of equipment.

“Having suffered a mains power failure that resulted in planes across the UK being delayed and grounded by up to three hours, the customer wanted to introduce a new control system to provide high availability and ensure there would be no repeat incident in future.

“Having designed and built the system, we then developed extensive test documents to ensure that all failure modes, including negative paths, could be 100% functionally tested in the factory prior to delivery, thus assuring the customer the highest degree of confidence in the system.

“This was a key aspect of the project, as the installation period was limited to just 20 hours”.

“It was a tight window and a quick turnaround but working to tight deadlines under an element of pressure is something we’re experienced and comfortable with.”

Applied Integration is now looking to win contracts to install similar systems to buildings such as banks, datacentres and businesses in the UK and overseas.

“There is a considerable market out there to install such systems within prestige buildings in the event of a mains failure,” said Garry.

“We have installed four similar systems over the past 18 months, including renewing the control system for the British Embassy in Moscow, but this truly is the tip of the iceberg.

“We have built up an excellent, long-term relationship with ABB over the past 10 years, during which time we’ve become their supplier of choice because they know we deliver every time.

“Having received hugely positive feedback from our first installations, we are confident that we have opened up a major long-term opportunity that will continue to provide work for the next 10 years and more.”


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