THE North-East's finest engineering and manufacturing firms will be showcased in an annual event.

Organisers have confirmed Durham Oktoberfest is returning for a seventh year.

The show, which last year attracted nearly 120 exhibitors and 1,600 people, allows businesses to meet potential buyers, suppliers and customers.

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Bosses say a raft of companies, including pole platform maker Hiatco, in Stanley, County Durham, and Shildon-based precision engineering firm Bignall Group are already signed up to hold exhibitions.

More than 20 national companies, such as BAE Systems and Seaward Electronic, will also take part in a meet the buyer event, which aims to open new supplier markets.

The event is organised by County Durham's three engineering forums - North Durham, East Durham and South Durham Engineering and Manufacturing Forum.

Darren Race, Durham Oktoberfest project leader South Durham Engineering and Manufacturing Forum chairman, said it was the perfect platform to celebrate the region's industries.

He said: “The North-East is home to some of the country's most successful engineering and manufacturing companies.

“We want our region to be the best and if we shout about the strength of these sectors, other businesses elsewhere in the UK and further afield will sit up and take notice.

“This is all about promoting our world-class capabilities and strengths, and putting businesses in the biggest and most fruitful shop window.

“It's the only event of it's kind in the region, so there's the opportunity for smaller businesses to put themselves on the radars of bigger ones, who are their potential customers.

“That gives them invaluable insights into what it takes to get to the next level.”

Last year's event featured Newton Aycliffe-based dehumidifier and water cooler maker Ebac, with Hitachi Rail Europe and Inspection and Engineering Services (IES), also in Aycliffe, hosting exhibits.

Trevor Forsyth, managing director of IES, which last year won £250,000 weld testing work on new terminals at Heathrow Airport, said the show was invaluable to local companies.

He added: “It's perfect for us because it offers us the chance to meet companies and put our business on their radar.

“Companies have often used the same suppliers for a number of years, so it's difficult to get in front of them, but through this event we can.”

The event takes place on Thursday, October 23, in the Xcel Centre, in Newton Aycliffe. Guest speakers will be announced later this year.

For more information, contact 0191-303-7772, visit or email