Alan Franklin, managing director at Signal Plastics, photographed alongside the firm’s new 1,300 tonne injection moulding press.A North East plastic manufacturer is investing £1m in new equipment across its three sites in the region.

Omega Plastics Group has been supported by a £200,000 grant from Let’s Grow North East, a £60m Regional Growth Fund programme operated by business services company BE Group and Newcastle accountancy firm UNW LLP.

With sites in Blyth, Washington and Hartlepool, Omega Plastics Group was established in 2015 following the merger of Omega Plastics and Signal Plastics.

The first stage in the investment programme is a 1,300 tonne injection moulding press and overhead robotic equipment installed at Signal Plastics’ facility in Washington.  This £400,000 machine enables Signal Plastics to produce more and larger parts for the automotive sector, where it is a Tier One and Two supplier to various manufacturers including Aston Martin and Nissan.  It has also seen the company create three new jobs for specialist plant operators.

Another benefit of the investment is in improved energy efficiency compared to the older equipment that is being replaced.  The new moulding press has been manufactured by Negri Bossi, world leaders in plastic injection moulding plant and machinery.

Alan Franklin, managing director at Signal Plastics, said:  “We’ve made this investment on the back of increased demand from the automotive industry.  It’s a significant development in the growth of the business but we’ll see the rewards not just in terms of the extended product offer we can make to customers but also in making our process more cost effective by improving our energy efficiency.”

Andrew Frost, project adviser at the BE Group, said:  “It’s very encouraging to see North East companies like Omega Plastics Group investing in new state of the art equipment which as well as driving growth is also creating new, highly skilled jobs within the business.  It’s great that Let’s Grow has been able to play a significant role in helping the company to achieve this.”

In April, Omega Plastics Group marked its 10th anniversary by being accredited with ISO/TS 16949:2009, the global quality standard for the automotive sector and confirmed it remained on course to record a 50 per cent increase in turnover this year to around £8.5m.