A PLASTICS firm has bought new machinery it says will help increase production and cut bills.

Plastic Mouldings Northern says its thermoforming apparatus will bolster work across a number of domestic and industrial components.

The move comes after The Northern Echo last year revealed the Bishop Auckland-based business had identified a plot to expand in a £1m investment aimed at taking its workforce to around 40 in the next five years.

Reflecting on its machinery outlay, production director Mark Rigg said it will help the company build its global customer base by strengthening work on parts such as refrigerator liners, bath tubs, shower trays, car parts, fuel tanks and vehicle panels.

Mr Rigg, who is also the business’ co-founder, said the move will ensure customers aren’t faced with higher prices.

He said: “We’re getting more larger jobs to make, 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 customers are expecting quicker deliveries.”

The business’ proposed new 12,000sq ft base will sit close to its existing South Church Enterprise Park site, with the plans coming after bosses warned a lack of space could harm supply agreements.

Freddy Bourdais, sales director and fellow founder, last year told the Echo the move reflected the fact that “business is out there for us”.

He added: “We shouldn’t be thinking ‘how do we get the chance to do that?’ – there are people who have the chance but not the business.”

Known for deals with operators such as Homebase, B&Q and Wickes, the business has also built up an industry reputation for supplying Jouplast adjustable risers, which ensure decking and paving slabs sit even, having previously gained an exclusivity agreement to distribute the equipment across Britain.

Late last year, Mr Bourdais revealed the business had helped filming of motormouth Jeremy Clarkson’s online TV show The Grand Tour go ahead.

The firm supplied boxes after being contacted by production staff with a request to protect equipment during filming in Whitby.