A £250,000 contract to help bring steel-maker SSI’s new Pulverised Coal Injection (PCI) plant online has now reached completion.
The Stokesley-based Applied Integration, which has been shortlisted for both Company of the Year and the Manufacturing award at the North East Business Awards 2014, carried out the design, development and installation of the automation and control systems for the world-class Teesside facility.
The £37m plant has increased the output of the SSI’s blast furnace, helping to safeguard thousands of local jobs.
System integrator Applied Integration beat international opposition to clinch the deal with engineering experts Siemens, who built the facility.
A five-strong Applied Integration team worked on the design and build of software and electrical panels over six months, with factory testing being carried out at the firm’s headquarters before delivery of the overall control system ahead of commissioning.
The PCI facility – the largest of its kind in the world – blows finely powdered coal into the centre of the furnace, speeding up the steelmaking process.
The safety-critical control systems provide plant operators with visual access to the overall conditions on the plant, which recently completed a long start-up procedure with the injection of coal for the first time.
“While the SSI plant is right on our doorstep, we faced competition for the deal from long-established global rivals, so winning the contract was a reflection on our growing reputation within the industry,” said Lee Raywood, Applied Integration managing director and technical software lead, who previously worked on the Redcar plant while completing a multi-skilled apprenticeship with IMS Lycrete in the early 1990s.
“While the project served as a personal trip down memory lane for me, it was fantastic for all at Applied Integration to work on such an important asset within one of our key local industries. As a proud Teesside company, we were privileged to have played our part in helping to bring steel-making back to the area and secure a major part of Teesside’s industrial heritage.
“Seeing steel-making thriving once again here in the North East can only be great news for independent local businesses like ours who can provide vital support facilities.”
Having launched the company with fellow directors Roy Coleman, Garry Lofthouse and Graham King in 2005, Raywood now employs 30 staff at the firm, with a further recruitment drive underway for experienced engineers and graduates.