THE Centre for Cities report revealed manufacturing has become a shrinking sector in York, with just four per cent of the city’s workforce employed in the industry, a total of 4,100 jobs.

However extend the scope into North Yorkshire and the region’s industry produces a more thriving picture, employing about 35,000 people. Today The Press takes a look at one of the region’s success stories Ellis, which has made a name for itself protecting power cables across the globe from its base in Rillington.

Ellis, formerly known as Ellis Patents, was founded in 1962 by former RAF bomber pilot Arthur Ellis.

After carrying out more than 90 missions during the course of the Second World War, the skilled plumber later set up the business which focused on making plastic clip pipes and clamps, with the electricity board a major customer.

Today, energy firms’ reliance on Ellis continues, but on a much grander scale.

The company, which employs more than 60 workers, is a world renowned maker and supplier of cable cleats to major international projects.

Its cleats, which are all made at its base in Rillington, near Scarborough, restrain cables and can withstand forces generated in a short circuit.

Ensuring the safe running of a nuclear plant in China, Ellis’ products are also helping build living quarters on an offshore platform in south-east Asia, and supporting RWE npower Renewables’ £1.7 billion Gwynt y Mor wind farm, off the North Wales coast.

It won a £1.5 million deal to supply thousands of its Centaur saddle cleats to National Grid’s London Power Tunnels Project, impressed Ministry of Defence bosses sufficiently to invest in cleats for the first five of its Astute-class nuclear powered submarines, and won a deal to supply products for a project converting coal seam gas into liquefied neutral gas in Australia.

Tremendous growth from a company set up by Mr Ellis in a warehouse behind his house.

The firm has undergone a number of expansions, most recently £450,000 of work to add to its headquarters’ office space, and bosses expect sales to be more than £7 million this year.

Richard Shaw, Ellis managing director, beams when he reveals its successes, which also includes having its products fitted every 600mm in the 55-mile rail tunnel link between St Pancras station and the Channel Tunnel.

Speaking about the firm’s history he said: “Mr Ellis was a plumber and bought injection moulding machinery, with the company starting off making plastic clips.

“It moved to Rillington in 1974 and by 1987 employed six people, remaining a relatively small operation.

“It was making clips and clamps for customers including the electricity board, and quite a lot of the products we still make today.”

However, in 1987, Ellis’ horizons changed, when Mr Ellis retired.

The company was sold to current chairman Chris Calvert and fellow investors at Walkern Victoria Industries, who turned to Ellis after buying injection moulding equipment when a venture into the drinks industry was hit by competition from the US.

Mr Shaw said: “Walkern bought Wrights Drinks, a returnable glass bottle company, but then Coca-Cola launched its two litre plastic bottles.

“They then bought an injection moulding business at the time Mr Ellis was looking for a buyer.

“He put an advertisement out there and they responded.”

From its humble beginnings of red and white pamphlets used to advertise its wares, Ellis’ products are now heralded by mythical figures and creatures.

Hues of neon blue, fluorescent red and fiery orange bring its Emperor, Colossus and Phoenix equipment to life, but Mr Shaw says it is Ellis’ reputation which makes the strongest impact.

He said: “We are the best in the world in what we do.

“The oil and gas and power generation sectors are our two main areas, but we still do the plumbing products and make about 23 million pipe clips for big outlets such as Plumb Center.

“We are testing our products all the time and absolutely committed to the highest quality, we will always stick to our guns on that.

“We know what we can do and what our competitors are capable of too.”

However, Mr Shaw says it isn’t about to rest on its laurels and is keen to strengthen its export sales work and build on its network of global distributors.

He said: “We are a truly local company, and know we are doing things the right way because of our low turnover in staff. That is testament to our ethos and the way we operate.

“The philosophy is simple; if you do not grow, your competitors will start to nibble away at the sides, so we have to be constantly looking at ways to retain our presence as the market leader.

“One way to do that is continue to develop export sales markets.

“But new product development is also important to us, and if a client says we are not their best customer, we are extremely disappointed.”