A 40-YEAR-OLD family glass firm aims to bolster its market standing after complementing a factory expansion with new equipment.

PLG Glass has bought machinery it says will improve production and strengthen its order book.

The move comes after the business switched to a new 60,000sq ft base, which bosses previously told The Northern Echo would provide space to make safety glass capable of setting the company apart from national rivals.

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The firm, based in Peterlee, east Durham, now has access to a new glass toughening furnace, a machining tool and a glass washing machine, with officials saying it will now be able to process over-size glass.

It was backed by £950,000 support from Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking.

Graeme Hawes, managing director, said: “We’re celebrating our 40th birthday this year and it’s great to mark such a significant year with an investment that will help us grow.

“The new machinery will enable us to process larger sheets of glass, speed up production processes and continue to provide a highquality service across a more diverse range of products.

“Investing in machinery can be a substantial expense, but Lloyds provided us with a hire purchase and trade finance facility, which enabled us to execute the project without impacting our dayto- day cash flow.”

Founded in 1977 by Mr Hawes’ father, David, the company is known for making panels for stairs, balustrades and canopies, with retailers such as Primark, Fenwick, Next and Selfridges, and retail parks including the MetroCentre, known to be customers.

Speaking to the Echo in January, upon his business’ factory expansion announcement, which saw it move to Mill Hill from nearby Lister Road, Mr Hawes said he was proud of its progress, adding he hoped it could capitalise on retailers’ ongoing store improvements and homeowners’ penchant for DIY.

He added: “It’s nice to see the company thriving and growing.

“It went through some difficult patches but we rode through them and this move is good for the area and good for employment.

“I’m sure my dad would be really proud of how the business has grown.

“Glass is now seen as a much cleaner and crisper addition to projects and we’re also benefiting from people who are re-decorating their homes, rather than going out and buying a new one.”

Lesley Williams, Lloyds’ regional manager for global transaction banking, described the growth of PLG, which was previously taken on by Brownhills Investments, as “phenomenal”.

She added: “Moving to new premises with more efficient machinery will help the company to continue to capitalise on new opportunities.

“Providing a range of products is one of the ways that we’re helping businesses prosper, as it allows companies to access funding options tailored to their needs.”