Engineering and manufacturing companies across County Durham are expanding and planning for long term investment and job creation.

The sectors, which employ thousands of people and contribute millions of pounds to the area’s economy, have undergone major growth in the last few years.

Employers of all sizes, who manufacture products for global industries including automotive, oil and gas, aerospace, digital and pharmaceuticals, are investing and recruiting which means the engineering and manufacturing sectors are more buoyant now than ever before.

County Durham Engineering and Manufacturing Network (CDEMN) is the organisation tasked with supporting companies to access new markets, expand their client portfolio and tap into the support available to help them grow.

Ben Gilhespy, Operations Director, said: “There’s no doubt the engineering and manufacturing sectors are riding on the crest of a wave.

“Companies large and small are manufacturing products for industries in all corners of the globe are growing or planning for future growth which means the contribution the sectors are making to the region’s economy is greater now than ever before.

“I am out every day meeting companies and there’s an overwhelming sense of optimism. The challenge for CDEMN is to ensure we provide them with the support they need to continue to grow.”

Transport company Stiller Logistics is one company in the area that is undergoing major growth.

The Newton Aycliffe-based family firm recently secured a six-figure contract with Marmax Products to distribute its products nationally and is also on a recruitment drive to bring in drivers for the large fleet of vehicles it operates.

Stiller Managing Director Matthew Stiller said: “We offer our clients an excellent service, both in terms of delivery and support, which is why we’re so good at retaining our existing customer base and bringing on board new companies like Marmax Products.”

From its base at Aycliffe Business Park, Stiller operates over 120 heavy goods vehicles and trailers which distribute products for large multi-national firms through to sole traders.

The third-generation family business distributes for 275 companies across the UK and now employs 140 people with plans to further recruit over the course of 2017.

Another company growing is Paragon Rapid Technologies, which recently invested in state of art manufacturing technology, underpinning its commitment to delivering precision parts for its growing client base.

Director Ian Jobling said: “The investment forms part of our focus on quality and will strengthen our leading position as partner of choice for prototyping and low volume manufacture.”

And just last month E-Max Systems based in Darlington announced it had secured a major new client, Pryme Group, after successfully pitching to provide software support.

E-Max Systems Sales Director, Zeynel Badak, said: We are excited to be working with the Pryme Group on this major project. Our team of experienced engineers, client service managers and developers are completely focused on providing an ERP product that is optimised for the manufacturing sector and it is very gratifying for this to be recognised by forward thinking companies such as Pryme Group.”