Teesside business Ecco Finishing Supplies is continuing to break into new international markets as word spreads about the quality of its passive fire protection machines.
The Middlesbrough-based firm recently clinched new orders from the Middle East and Kazakhstan – with a breakthrough into the potentially lucrative Chinese market also on the horizon.
It is just the latest success since Ecco made the decision to stop distributing passive fire protection (PFP) machines for other companies and develop its own unique technology.
Potential life-savers, PFP machines are used to spray fire-retardant epoxies onto a range of steel structures to increase their resistance to heat in the event of a major blaze, increasing evacuation times.
Since launching their own PFP, the ES430, just two years ago, Ecco have reaped the dividends from a growing overseas market, particularly within the Oil, Gas and Petrochemicals sectors.
The latest deals in Kazakhstan and the Middle East follow previous orders from Canada, Azerbaijan and Russia, while there is also interest from the USA, Australia, India – and now China.
Having recently held an exhibition in Sharjah in the United Arab Emirates, Ecco staff are now preparing to exhibit their market-leading PFP technology in the Chinese city of Zhengzhou.
Just four years ago, exports accounted for just 10% of Ecco’s overall sales. That figure has since increased to closer to 50% of the firm’s £5 million turnover- with the PFP sales the main inspiration behind the upturn.
It’s the culmination of many years of hard work for managing director Keith, who launched the business in the spare bedroom of his Billingham home in 1995 with the investment of £40 in a typewriter from Argos.
The achievement has been recognised with Ecco winning awards for the North East Export Team of the Year and Teesside Small Business of the Year over the past 18 months.
“We feel we’ve only touched the tip of the iceberg so far,” reflects Miller (pictured above).
“2014 was a hugely successful year for Ecco, particularly in terms of exports, but the signs are that 2015 will see global demand increase considerably.
“As well as our PFP machines, there has been great demand for our blasting and paint-spraying equipment, so these are hugely exciting times for us.”