A NORTH-EAST engineering company is aiming for global success after a new product to improve warehouse work proved popular.

Northern Engineers and Fabricators (NEF), in Darlington, is expanding following orders for equipment to move items in retailers’ distribution centres.

Its machinery, known as a shuttle extraction system, moves items from racking ready for delivery, and has been taken on by firms working for Asda, Tesco and TK Maxx.

The company, based on Cleveland Trading Estate, says the success means it is now looking towards Poland to break into European markets, which it hopes will be the catalyst for eventual growth around the world.

Garry Ingoldsby, NEF director, said he expects the initial orders to be followed by more.

He said: “We were invited to tender for this system by a client, and then a second company in the same industry asked for one as well.

“From those four orders, we anticipate at least another four, and from there it could be rolled out globally.

“We expect to go to Poland in the near future in the hope of cracking Europe.

“The product is basically an improvement on a system in warehouses and is for the removal and maintenance of the shuttle that carries products around the warehouses.

“We have worked through teething problems to get it operational, and it is quicker, easier to use and more productive than the previous system.

“This could be a very lucrative product for us in the long-term.”

NEF also works with companies across the motoring, chemical, and construction industries, with its order book ranging from £50 jobs up to £500,000 contracts.

Mr Ingoldsby said the success was pushing the firm towards a 50 per cent rise in turnover, while it has also taken on fabricators and welders and has recruited an apprentice.

He added: “It has been a busy start to 2015, but we’re heading in the right direction and we have high hopes for the future.”

NEF works in partnership with family engineering company Francis Brown Limited, based in Stockton, which oversees energy projects across the oil, gas and renewable industries.

Earlier this year, The Northern Echo reported how the 112-year-old firm, founded as a wire trap and soil sieve shop, had extended its factory to house more space for stainless steel welding.

At the time, bosses revealed Francis Brown was making stainless steel support structures for the Nyhamna onshore gas plant project, in Norway, as well as supplying five mooring buoys for the Canary Islands, to help offload oil from tankers.