North Walsham firm breaks into new US and Australian markets

08:00 12 February 2014

Tekpro, North Walsham. Director John Catchpole pictured with his staff.

Tekpro, North Walsham. Director John Catchpole pictured with his staff. PHOTO: ANTONY KELLY

Archant Norfolk 2014

A North Walsham manufacturing firm is celebrating breaking into new American and Australian markets.

Recent growth has seen TekPro, who are specialists in mechanical engineering, add three new staff to the now 20-strong team working at its factory in Laundry Loke, Willow Park.

The business was started in 1989 by David Catchpole who is still the majority shareholder and brother of present managing-director John.

The company’s core product for its mainly agricultural market remains Samplex automated truck probes which take representative samples of grain from a lorry.

The CS range of bulk samplers are designed to ensure quality testing of material; they are accurate, adaptable for site-specific requirements and eliminate the traditional health and safety risks associated with the manual sampling process. However, TekPro has diversified its product range to include its Holmen machinery to test animal feed pellets for durability and also manufactures Insectomat technology capable of detecting one insect in 5kg of grain.

John Catchpole said: “In the past 12 months our success has seen us take on a young lady to help on the sales side, another welder and a young man to help in the engineering department which is substantial growth for a small firm and a great team.

“Our company, which is this month celebrating its 25th anniversary, is on course to increase last year’s turnover.”

He said while their most popular product was the CS90 sampler, they had felt the need to develop a new CS6000 model which had opened new doors to larger storage facilities.

“We have just received an order to supply eight CS6000 samplers to the Australian market which were ideal for the large road trains used to transport grain there,” he said

“We have always struggled to sell machines into America but we have recently signed an agreement with a large US company to make the CS90 under licence. TekPro will be supplying the control systems and technical support. This is due to the high manufacturing costs and transport from the UK.”

Eamonn Neale, international sales manager, said: “There are very few countries in Europe in which TekPro products cannot be found, which is exciting for a small business on an industrial estate in North Walsham.”

The company has also has an engineering division which takes conceptual ideas of customers and turns them into reality.

Examples over the past few years have included a camera dispensing machine, solar powered traffic lights, a machine used for injecting air into polythene voids for the packaging industry and rotating frames to obtain substantial gains from solar panels. Ideas are taken from concept through development, market feasibility and manufacture.

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