A PLASTICS firm hopes to extend its market presence after securing a contract to supply a newly-invented tape measure.

Plastic Mouldings Northern, based in Bishop Auckland, has struck a deal with US multi-millionaire inventor Dane Scarborough to act as sole distributor for his QuickDraw product across the UK and Ireland.

One of Mr Scarborough’s firms, QuickDraw Precision Measuring, has already cracked other markets, including France and the US, with the “simple but clever” creation, which has seven worldwide patents.

Mr Scarborough says the tape measure is the only type of its kind on the market, with its graphite roller allowing users to track a straight line whenever and wherever they want.

Freddy Bourdais, Plastic Mouldings’ sales director, has signed an initial deal to sell 100,000 units for QuickDraw, and hopes the deal could bring in an additional £250,000 of sales in the first 12 months.

He said: “It has already overtaken the sales of Stanley tape measures in the US, but it’s a brand new, exciting product for the UK market.

“It’s simple but very clever, and it has already got people talking.

“In France alone, it sold 50,000 units in its first three months.”

The tape is already available on Amazon Prime, but Mr Bourdais has agreed further deals with local firms, including Tool-Time tool hire and Cre8ive Graphics, in Bishop Auckland, and Workshop Supplies, in Newton Aycliffe, County Durham, to stock the product.

“We’re very excited about this product, both for people in the trade but also for us as a company,” added Mr Bourdais.

“It might seem like a gimmick, but it is genuinely very clever, and it’s also tough and durable.

“We think it’s an innovative new hand tool for the industry, and its sales in the US and France tell its own story.

“As compared to a wide variety of measuring tapes available, this self-marking tape has an advantage.

“It is as good as any tough tape out there and the marking tool is accurate and easy-to-use, so it’s an ideal tool for builders, joiners, draughtsmen and structural engineers.”

Known for existing deals with operators such as Homebase, B&Q and Wickes, Plastic Mouldings has 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.

Earlier this year, Mr Bourdais also revealed it had bought new thermoforming machinery to strengthen work on parts such as refrigerator liners, bath tubs, shower trays, car parts, fuel tanks and vehicle panels.

That move came after The Northern Echo revealed the business had identified a plot to expand in a £1m investment aimed at taking its workforce to around 40 in the next five years.