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Advanced Technical Software Limited

Advanced Technical Software Limited are a well known Systems Integrator operating within the Process Control and Automation Market. We are innovative, financially stable and quality oriented. We have a wealth of experience in the design and implementation of control and monitoring systems and offer support with a comprehensive range of services, either separately or as part of turnkey packages. Since its formation Advanced Technical Software Limited has built up an excellent client portfolio including some of the best known companies in the United Kingdom, providing optimum customer service and helping to solve all types of control problems ranging from the design of PLC programming tools to complex process plant control incorporating many PLCs and computers for management and maintenance purposes.

Your needs --- the basis of a long term supplier client relationship

Partnerships have always been the central element to our business, they are based on a clients trust in us and our capability to provide the right solution on time and on budget. Competition is a fact of life in any industry and our sustained success has only been achieved by helping our clients achieve their strategic objectives. Advanced Technical S oftware Limited have a world-wide user base of 1600+ for our PLC programming, plant simulation and support tools. Our success is based on our ability to provide an integrated solution, our experience enables us to provide forward thinking customised solutions to suit any clients specific requirements. Your business requirements define ours, whether you require us to supply a drive, design a web site or provide a complex control system. First time clients or clients we have been working with for years are treated in the same way, we build relationships and this means our role is to offer the best solutions available today, but which have the flexibility to change and match the changing demands of your business.


Since its formation Advanced Technical Software Limited has built up an excellent client portfolio including some of the best known companies in the United Kingdom, providing optimum customer service and helping to solve all types of control problems ranging from the design of PLC programming tools to complex process plant control incorporating many PLCs and computers for management and maintenance purposes. Facilities o o Conceptual design of control and monitoring systems Design and implementation of PLC based control systems we are fully conversant with the systems of most major manufacturers Supervisory Systems (SCADA) - we can provide total SCADA systems using packages such as Factory-Link, In-Touch, AFE and P-CIM for which we are an approved systems integrator. Computer based monitoring and management information systems System testing including the use of our own simulation systems to ensure comprehensive testing prior to system installation Commissioning and on site assistance Training and post project support services Total project management including planning and project control


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Equally should you simply require us to provide a specialist engineering resource for software / applications programming on a specific project to supplement your own in house capability then we would be more than happy to consider your requirements. We trust you find this Company Profile of interest. Should you require further information or clarification of any point, please do not hesitate to contact us. Advanced Technical Software Limited provide industrial automation systems on a wide variety of applications. In addition, a full range of consultancy services are offered including feasibility and strategic studies, functional design specifications and software auditing of third party systems. Advanced Technical Software Limited have a worldwide user base for their PLC programming and support tools well in excess of 1600 systems. We have provided automation solutions for a variety of industries including water, power, food and beverage, quarrying and offshore safety systems. We have a capability which allows us to select a solution to suit the clients needs and budget. These solutions include the implementation of PLC systems, Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA), plant monitoring, and reporting. Many solutions are engineered using standard packages of hardware and software, however, Advanced Technical Software Limited are able to fully engineer bespoke solutions to the most exacting requirements. The complementary resources of our long term associates allow us to offer a truly vertical integrated package, including manufacture of MCCS, control panels and desks which provides a total service commencing with the clients requirements and ending with an installed and tested system.

Quality All Advanced Technical Software Limited contracts are undertaken to fully comply with the specifications required by the customer. To achieve this any contract can be undertaken to meet with the requirements of BS5750:Part 1, 1987 and with its European and international equivalents ISO 9001. And software undertaken to comply with the TickIT software standards for which we are fully conversant.

Project Implementation Since formation, we have been involved in complex systems implementation involving critical process operations. This has focused the Company's approach towards system implementation and project management. In spite of the many changes in control systems over the past few years, our consistent approach has enabled us to maintain and consolidate our reputation for delivering high quality work - on time and within cost budgets. The experience we have gained over the last decade has given us the ability to liase with multi disciplined project teams. This is essential to the philosophy behind our basic objectives, and assures our clients obtain the highest level of performance regardless of the diversity of the current technology. The independence of Advanced Technical Software Limited ensures we concentrate on objective solutions to automation problems secure in the knowledge that we have the capability of implementing them without bias towards the products of any particular hardware or software vendor. Advanced Technical Software Limited offer a full range of site services in the commissioning and support of systems supplied

PLC Software Design All software is written and fully tested to comply with a client specification and all PLC programs are written using the latest development tools, wherever possible, structured into easily understood blocks and fully annotated with all mnemonics and descriptive comments in English. Also, where practical, as part of our PLC software tests, we run a computer simulation programme that can simulate the plant by reading the outputs and setting on the relevant inputs. Analogue inputs can be made to ramp up/down to simulate in-plant device activity. This ensures that a major part of the software can be proven before site commissioning commences. Any of the above tests can be witnessed by a client if required.

Computer Software Design We have experience in all types of software design ranging from PLC programming and testing tools through to SCADA software and bespoke Windows and legacy DOS applications. Commissioning Commissioning including pre-commissioning of equipment of our supply, is critical for the successful conclusion of a project. Our approach to this aspect of the work is that the Commissioning Engineer is always a senior member of the Design Team on the project. This has obvious advantages and can shorten commissioning time.


Off-Shore Safety Systems

Advanced Technical Software Ltd. have completed development work for two major oil/gas producers operating in the North sea. One contract was for a special version of our plant simulation software `Trialrun' which is being used to test the safety systems on an offshore oil installation. Another long term client Phillips Petroleum (United Kingdom) Limited have recently completed the upgrade of the complete SCADA system on t o offw shore Gas platforms.

The existing PLC systems have been extensively modified over the last five years by Advanced Technical Software Ltd. for the control and monitoring of new wellhead equipment. New AFE IC2000 SCADA systems are located on the main platform in a master/standby arrangement and as master or monitoring only configuration at the remote operation platform.

The PLC system consists of two GEM80 400 PLCs in a duty/standby arrangement and dual redundant input/output configuration for system controls and monitoring.

The two PLCs communicate via a starnet network with other starnet connections to flow monitoring computers with a further connection to the third SCADA system for local control and monitoring.

Silo Management System

Advanced Technical Software Limited have recently completed a major contract for the Dutch subsidiary of a large European Multinational transport company. The system consists of the management and import/export control of a storage facility consisting of single site operating four separate silo storage plants with a combined total of eighty loadcell mounted 250 and 400 Tonne storage silos for both plastics and powder handling. Three of the storage facilities are existing Advanced Technical Software installations and consist of legacy GEM80 PLC systems. These have been integrated along with the new Plant 4 into a new plant-wide control system incorporating the latest SCADA system plus a bespoke Windows based silo administration system. To maintain equipment compatibility as far as possible Plant 4 has been fitted with a GEM80-400 processor with a WorldFIP Industrial network for data transmission and gathering to operator displays at each of the 16 new silos. The whole site is now controlled and monitored from a single SCADA system with multi-dropped connections to the four GEM80 PLC systems. All controls for material import/export from containers, tankers and bagging systems are made from this single system giving improved productivity and control/monitoring from a single operations location.

Also linked into the PLCs is a second connection from the new Administration computer system which allows full control of all transactions to be made from the main office complex. The two systems can operate completely independently allowing uninterrupted production should a failure occur in either computer system and also allow individual plant control should any of the individual plant PLCs be out of commission. A future addition will be a link into the company AS400 system to allow transaction processing to be instigated from the company head office.

Quarry Control System

After the successful upgrade of the Asphalt coating plant in the late nineties Advanced Technical Software Limited were pleased to be awarded a contract for the supply of an automation system for the new crushing and screening plant at a Hanson Quarry in Wales. The contract included Control Panels, Soft Start equipment, Continuous Level Monitoring, PLCs, SCADA and all programming and design work for the complete automation system. The brief from Hanson was to maximise production, maximise product quality and optimise the working conditions for operating staff. All existing & new controls were combined into a single operations location, the new system integrates all areas of production from primary crusher feed through to final bin storage and lorry loadout of blended materials. The automatic plant control system consists of networked Mitsubishi programmable controllers, remote monitoring and display panels at both the Primary Crusher and Asphalt Plant combined with a sophisticated SCADA and graphics system installed in the new control room. In addition to controlling the whole crushing and screening operation the system controls blended drystone and loadout control via a fully integrated lorry loadout controller. Production data for all dry stone materials and blended deliveries is included in the system allowing reporting on total materials into and out of the plant and indivi dual sizes exported through the loadout system. The system includes very detailed plant alarm and diagnostics allowing even an inexperienced operator to quickly pinpoint any plant malfunction or fault condition. Normal advanced alarm facilities are included but these are supplemented by an on-screen status monitoring and diagnostics panel for each plant item showing status of running current, pull wires and emergency stops, slips detectors, isolators and hours run and maintenance information. In addition every Input/Output point is continually monitored and it's status available at any time to the operator or site technical staff. The graphics system is extremely easy to use with every control task being undertaken by the control system after a single mouse `Click' by the operator. TrialRun also enabled the operators to be trained whilst the plant was being commissioned enabling full production to be achieved in the shortest possible time.

Food Storage & Processing

ATS have recently been awarded a new contract to supply a complete computerised control system for a major food processing company in Cambridgeshire. The new plant processes seeds, rice and pulses and the entire plant operation is automatically controlled by the latest Mitsubishi Q series PLC and a Windows based SCADA and graphics system designed by ATS. Raw materials are imported into the plant via an elevated intake system. To prevent product contamination all transfers into the intake system and between the different storage systems is via product/material name with the automation system routing the products to the correct bins. The imported material can be directed to either of two production streams where the product is processed and automatically checked via transfer through an x-ray system to ensure consistent high quality and prevent contamination from raw materials into the finished product. These finished products are then automatically directed to the packing area for packing and shipping. The system includes detailed plant alarm and diagnostics allowing even an inexperienced operator to quickly pinpoint any plant malfunction or fault condition. Normal advanced alarm facilities are included but these are supplemented by an on-screen status monitoring and diagnostics panel for each plant item showing status of emergency stops, rotation detectors, isolators and hours run and maintenance information. The new plant and control system when completed will further enhance the long list of successful control systems developed by ATS for the food processing industry.

Asphalt Production

ATS have recently completed the development of version 3.0 of their Batch asphalt plant control system. +ve As a companion product of Mix which controls mixing operations only +ve Batch takes care of everything from cold feed to hot storage. Plant operation is automatically controlled by the latest Mitsubishi Q series PLC and a Windows based SCADA and graphics system designed by ATS. New features include redesigned graphics and a completely new recipe editor and job scheduling combination which together with the updated and expanded reporting facilities makes this one the product to beat. As always the system includes detailed plant alarm and diagnostics allowing even an inexperienced operator to quickly pinpoint any plant malfunction or fault condition. Normal advanced alarm facilities are included but these are supplemented by an on-screen status monitoring and diagnostics showing status of emergency stops, rotation detectors, isolators and hours run and maintenance information. A further enhancement is the newly configured production page which allows complete operation of the plant from a single screen. Scheduled jobs are called from the `Next' button, process alarms and operator intervention are all displayed and operated on from this same page. The recipe editor and scheduler are designed to run as a separate applications on any windows machine thus allowing remote recipe editing and job scheduling to be easily carried out if the necessary computer networking is in place, as an alternative facilities are available to upload and download blends, schedules, and production information onto the supplied memory stick which allows file easy file transfer and archiving to meet any QA requirement. The new control system further enhances the long list of successful quarry control systems and products developed by ATS for the aggregates and coated products industries.


Recipe Editor, unlimited blend storage, simple product selection and blend edit. Change history log with time, date and user.

Job Scheduling upto 30 jobs scheduled on a time basis, full job shuffling allowed by simple change of start time.

Detailed Job & Batch Reporting using Industry standard format with data mining and drilldown to see all aspects of production data.

Reprinted from Solids & Bulk Handling ­ March 2004 Plant-wide Control System for Arkady-Craigmillar Limited Advanced Technical Software Limited have recently commissioned a plant wide control system for ArkadyCraigmillar Limited at their Manchester based factory. Focussed on the manufacture of bread improvers of around 17500 tonnes per annum. The plant has now expanded to manufacture an additional 10000 tonnes per annum of predominately cake mixes. The facility receives, stores, dispenses and tracks ingredients used in the production of food additives, covering control of raw materials, receipt into silos and other stock import in bulk bags, boxes, and drums. In addition the system caters for import of fat based ngredients and also re-work material that is to be rei introduced into the system. Major Plant Components There are fifteen storage silos of 10-25-50 tonne nominal capacity plus a dedicated 40T sugar silo and mill. As ingredients vary in characteristics such as explosibility, bulk density etc., flexibility is limited as to which ingredients can be held in which silo. Silos are filled from tanker-based blowers with local land based filtration and dust collection. Associated with each silo is a local weigh hopper for accurately dispensing ingredients up to 25Kg, plus a means of bulk feeding product directly to conveying lines for rapid transfer and weighing at the mixer weigh hoppers. From the 16 silos there are five conveying lines to the six mixer weigh hoppers each capable of receiving a full batch of Ingredients up to a maximum of 2 tonnes. Silos are nominally grouped in threes; with one 50, 25 and 10 tonne silo on each pipeline, appropriate diverter valves etc, allow any silo to feed any mixer weigh hopper. Each individual batch can have up to thirty different ingredients, the weigh hoppers above the mixers either receive ingredients pre-weighed from the silo dispensing units, or weigh ingredients directly utilising the vessel load cells. Further transfer options include a rigid container feed system, catering for pre-weighed materials and a sack-tip unit allowing hand feeding of pre-weighed bags. As a batch is started, the dose requirements for each line are added to the end of the appropriate scheduling queue. The queues are scanned continuously to see what can be done next. Each line starts with the top (oldest) requested dose and checks if the destination weigh hopper is busy with any other line or non-silo ingredients and if free, sends the dose. If the first request cannot be started, the system similarly checks the second and subsequent requests to determine if the line can be utilised. This allows 'queue jumping' and avoids transfer lines being held up for long periods waiting for weigh hoppers to come free. On completion of a dose, the system removes the satisfied call from the queue. Whenever the system either starts a dose or reaches the end of the queues without being able to start a dose, it then checks to see if any weigh hopper requiring non-silo ingredients is available and if so starts a complete hand ingredient cycle at the sack tip station or feed from the required rigid container. Provision is also included to allow fats or other ingredients to be added directly at the mixer.

Should a silo run empty during a transfer the system checks to see if a substitute silo is available and if so switches to this silo. If none is available or the substitute also runs empty then the system alarms and allows completion of this dose via the use of an emergency pallet. If an emergency pallet is requested the control system will mark the remainder of the required silo amount to come from a pallet unit. The pallet operator then sets up an emergency pallet ready for transfer via the sack tip unit. The emergency pallet facility does not commence until all silo transfers are complete this allows the system to cope with multiple silos running out of material during a single batch. Weighing Techniques The core processing function of the system is weighing and batching. Accuracies depend on the weighing equipment specification, however; well-designed weighing algorithms within the PLC are essential. Each silo has a feed screw, which can discharge either fast or slow, directly into the pneumatic conveying line to a calling mixer weigher. Alternatively it can slow feed in reverse to top up the buffer hopper and feeder. After material is weighed into the silo weigher it is transferred to the mixer weigher. In order to achieve accuracy throughout the system, small quantities <25Kg are weighed at the silo and transferred across to the mixer weigher, whilst larger quantities >150Kg are weighed directly into the mixer weigher. Weights within the range 25-150Kg are weighed using a combination of these techniques. The philosophy is to directly weigh to the mixer weigher as much as possible for speed, but to stop short leaving a small quantity for the small silo weigher to compensate for any inaccuracies. 'In-flight' is the material, which arrives at a weigher after the action has been taken to stop feeding. This is caused by inertia of feed screws, and literally by material being in flight in pipes or falling through the air in the weigher, which land after the feeding stops. When ingredients are weighed directly into the mixer weighers, the in-flight will be a function of the material and the distance between source silo and destination mixer. The in-flight material will in the main be the material in the pipeline, and will not be affected by the level in the weigher. Hence there is one in-flight per silo to mixer combination. i.e. 96 in-flight values, which are dynamically adjusted after each weighment. When ingredients are weighed at the silos, there are much smaller quantities involved, and the in-flight material is the quantity falling from the feeder into the weigher. The more ingredient that is already in the weigher, the higher the level, and hence the smaller the in-flight value.

A single value of in-flight for each weigher does not give appropriate compensation throughout the range. To overcome this, each silo weigher has five in-flight bands per silo per mixer, giving a total of 480 dynamically adjusted in-flight values. Using multiple in-flights significantly increases the weighing accuracy. Plant Wide Control System The original system installed around 10 years ago, consisted of a master Mitsubishi A3A PLC with six A1S PLC's primarily used for emergency backup purposes, did not have the necessary facilities to handle the increased production and flexibility of the extended plant. The new automation system covers all materials handling, storage, weighing, batching and blending and tracing of over 2000 different ingredients in use, as well as tracking over a million individual items throughout the factory. The contract included control panels, continuous level monitoring, network equipment, PLC's, SCADA and a bespoke windows application distributed over a number of network clients plus all software for the complete automation system. Equipment Layout

As the whole factory is totally dependant on the control system a high quality server was installed with inbuilt redundancy via dual power supplies, memory, and disc storage via six hard drives organised as two raid clusters. The new system retained the existing plant I/O, however, the main processor was upgraded to the latest Q series and PLC to PLC communications upgraded to Ethernet. The new Q series processor was programmed using Mitsubishi IEC Developer software, which allowed standard program blocks to be designed and re-used for many of the sophisticated control functions.

Automation Software Although most SCADA packages include some form of product batching and control the very specific requirements for this plant precluded their use. Based on our extensive experience on this type of plant it was decided to distribute the control operation into two distinct areas. ATS developed a bespoke software application called `Plant Manager', which handles all material imports, the ingredients preparation area and mixer additions. It also provides administration facilities, to handle recipe set-up, materials tracking and reporting. Each production line is also supported by it's own PC running `Line Manager', developed by ATS using Citect SCADA. Each line is dedicated to a particular mixer; however, any `Line Manager' can control all production lines dependant on a user's authorisation. A major feature of the system gives the production manager the ability to predetermine the work to be carried out over a forthcoming period or shift. It has a capability of storing up to thirty runs for each mixer. Each run of a particular job has a projected start time so that notice can be given of which pallet and/or rigid containers need to be prepared to meet production requirements. The `Line Manager' PC's allow production scheduling on a line basis and also displays all plant status information, mimics, production and plant alarms along with sophisticated maintenance and set-up facilities. The final choice of SCADA manufacturer was paramount to the success of this very complex project. Although being an approved systems integrator for a number of leading SCADA systems the final choice by ATS and one, which has proved extremely successful, was the use of Citect. Citect was reasons: chosen for four main

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Tightly integrated and easy networking Facilities for generating complex and scalable graphics using master templates Ci-code a powerful inbuilt `C' like programming language Data access and interaction between applications using Citect API function calls

Citect's architecture allows various tasks to be distributed around the network. In this system the main file server acts as the PLC communications hub for all `Line Manager' systems on the network and allows easy addition of extra client PC's using the inbuilt computer connection wizard.

All data files for `Plant Manager' and `Line Manager' are stored on the server in a database format thus allowing extensive file security and backup facilities for all areas of production and plant information from a single secure location. Security and traceability is enhanced by the use of a log of all user actions that could in any way affect product quality or system performance. Reporting & Traceability The system allows authorised users to request a number of reports. All reports are generated using industry standard Crystal reports, these allow full traceability of all materials and their location. For materials already used in production the reports allow backwards tracing from an individual product batch code. The system includes very detailed plant alarm and diagnostics allowing even an inexperienced operator to quickly pinpoint any plant malfunction or fault condition. Normal advanced alarm facilities are included but these are supplemented by an on-screen status monitoring and diagnostics panel for each plant item showing it's current status and maintenance information. System Testing & Simulation As a continuous three shift production plant a major concern for the client was the length of down time that would occur when the new system went live. Obviously, completing the changeover and restarting production in the shortest possible time was critical. Advanced Technical Software Limited used `Trial Run', their own integrated PLC testing and plant simulation software package, which allowed the system to be tested and proved in an office environment. After testing, the same simulation was used to train the operations staff in near `real world' conditions. After some pre-commissioning checks on the newly installed plant and control equipment, the full system changeover was completed in less than 48 hours and enabled the return of a fully operational plant with the minimum of problems.

For further information contact: Advanced Technical Software Ltd. Kirkham Selby Road Wistow YO8 3UT Telephone: Facsimile: e-mail: web site: +44 (0)1757 269068 +44 (0)1757 269049 [email protected]



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