PMN's new vacuum forming machine.
Rebecca Wayman

Bishop Auckland plastics company invests in new machinery to help tackle competition

A County Durham plastics business is aiming to tackle rising costs by investing in efficient machinery.

Plastic Mouldings Northern (PMN) has acquired new industrial thermoforming machinery, which should enable the firm to manufacture products quicker and more cost-effectively.

Bosses say the new thermoformer will help PMN maintain its competitive rates for customers and build on its growing client base.

Production director, Mark Rigg has installed the Cannon Shelley machine, which can mould 1m x 1.5m parts, at PMN’s premises on South Church Enterprise Park in Bishop Auckland.

Rigg said: “We’re getting larger jobs to manufacture, so we wanted to expand to increase our capacity. We’re facing the same challenges as many manufacturing businesses, but it’s too easy to just put your prices up and blame increased costs.

“This machine will allow us to keep our prices at the same level, and is part of our continued investment programme to remain competitive in the industry. It will also give us more flexibility and respond quicker to customers’ demands.

“Lead times are getting shorter and shorter within the industry, and customers are expecting quicker deliveries. We are customising our machines to give as much flexibility as possible.”

The new machine can be used and adapted to accommodate a range of domestic and industrial parts for refrigerator liners, bathtubs and shower trays, interior and exterior automotive parts, fuel tanks and panels for special vehicles.

The new kit is said to complement PMN’s existing facilities which include two Gueiss moulding machines, a Formech moulding machine and two five-axis CNC milling machines.

PMN supplies chains including Homebase, B&Q and Wickes, and also manufactures parts for the automotive industry, with clients including Bentley and Rolls Royce.

The company, formed by Mark Rigg and sales director Freddy Bourdais with two staff in 2002, celebrated 15 years in business in 2017 with a record turnover, as sales grew 10 per cent to £2.3m, and staff numbers rose to 20.

PMN aims to grow even more by doubling staff numbers and turnover with a new £1m expansion, creating a new 12k sq ft operation close to its existing premises.

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