AN engineering business is bucking industry trends by continuing to invest in new machinery and staff, after seeing its order book swell during the pandemic.

Washington-based Triotec, which uses computer programmed machinery (CNC) to produce precision products such as valves and shafts, has created two new jobs and invested heavily in new machinery after seeing demand for its services soar during lockdown.

Founded by former colleagues Andy Calvert, Gary Marshall and David Downes, the trio launched the business in March 2018 after their previous employer – where they had worked for over 60 years combined – unexpectedly closed, which led to them being made redundant.

Since then, the company has gone on to invest in three units on Washington’s Pattinson Industrial Estate and employ nine full-time members of staff, with the latest two recruits joining the company after they themselves were made redundant from their previous roles, due to the industry down-turn during the pandemic.

Mr Calvert said: “Prior to launching Triotec, the three of us all worked for a local precision engineering company, until, one day, we turned up at work to find that the owner of the company had closed down the firm without warning.

“That day, we found ourselves sitting in the pub and decided the time was right to try it ourselves. We’d all been at the company for over 20 years and were confident we could have a real go at it. After speaking to the North East Business & Innovation Centre (BIC) and Sunderland City Council, we pulled together a business plan and Triotec was born.”

Sunderland City Council’s business investment team helped the trio identify and secure their first unit on Pattinson Industrial Estate and have continued to work closely with the team on each of their three moves thereafter.

The company has far exceeded its initial goals, with a headcount of nine, and its latest move and investment in new machinery allowing it to diversify into new markets and massively increase output by 20 per cent.

Mr Calvert said: “The support we’ve received from the council has been fantastic.

“Not only did they help us get the company off the ground but they’ve played a key role in helping us grow at a sustainable pace thereafter. They’ve continued to support us and I think it’s fair to say we couldn’t have done it without them.”

He added: “While many in our industry were hit hard by the pandemic, we have been lucky in the fact that we’ve been agile enough to ensure our machines continued turning and our order book has continued to fill up as a result.

“This led to us taking on our two newest recruits last month, both of whom had been made redundant from Rolls Royce due to the global downturn in the aerospace industry, and invest in new machinery which has already helped us diversify our offer and safeguard jobs.

“While previously we were focused primarily on a few niche markets, we’re now able to serve a variety of sectors from oil and gas to renewables, power generation, bearing companies and the yellow goods sector and are expecting to see turnover continue growing."

Councillor Graeme Miller, leader of Sunderland City Council, added: “To see businesses such as Triotec continuing to invest in the city and create new jobs during what is one of the most economically uncertain times in living memory is credit to the fantastic work they have put in over the past two and a half years and we’re proud to have been able to support them on their journey.

“As a council, we take great pride in supporting the city’s businesses and helping them innovate and grow and Triotec is a fine example of this. I’d encourage any manufacturing business planning for growth, no matter how large or small, to get in touch with our business investment team and explore the support available to them.”

To find out more about Sunderland’s manufacturing sector, visit www.makeitsunderland.com, call 0191 561 1194 or follow @MAKEitSund.