At EMN, we encourage members to tap into our network’s knowledge and expertise, and to share their experiences, challenges and solutions.

And that’s been a major plus for Sotech, the designer and manufacturer of the Optima range of engineered metal rainscreen cladding and architectural fabrications.

Sotech – drawing on the strength of the engineering and manufacturing community

“British industry can be insular. Through EMN, barriers are broken down. It provides a safe place where people can open up.”

That’s a pretty big statement.

But Richard Egginton, Operations Director at Peterlee-based Sotech, has seen first hand how EMN support its members – and helps them to help each other.

Sotech was founded in 1982 and supplies products across the UK and internationally. It joined EMN seven years ago, attracted by the idea of integrating further with other local engineering firms, via the network.

But Richard and the Sotech team have gained far more from EMN than a new contacts list.

They have used our ‘Ask The Question’ service – through which we can send queries over industry challenges from one member to the network – extensively.

And as Richard explains, it has been a big help.

“We have used the service 20 times and we have found the answer to our query or problem each and every time,” he reveals. “With so many engineering and manufacturing businesses in the network, you know that someone will always be able to suggest a solution.”

Richard has also participated in EMN’s peer to peer sessions, where people working in engineering and manufacturing companies share their experiences.

“It’s the perfect platform for highlighting real problems and real ideas,” he says. “It makes you realise that other engineering and manufacturing companies face similar challenges to you.

“The peer to peer sessions help you to understand that you are not alone. Everyone is here to help. We need to look after each other.”

In addition, Richard sees EMN as a conduit to deeper collaboration. Through the network, he says, relationships can be built, which can lead to members sharing manufacturing capacity or assisting each other with testing – to name just two examples.

And as well as their day to day engagement with the network, the Sotech team have been regulars at EMCON, EMN’s engineering and manufacturing showcase.

For Richard, it’s a must-attend event in the industry calendar.

“EMCON provides a one-stop update on the engineering and manufacturing sector in both North East England and nationally,” he suggests. “In just one day, you get a feel for where the sector is heading and where the energy is.

“It’s a great event, with a fantastic sense of camaraderie!”

To join EMN and for more information on membership, visit

EMCON takes place on September 14, 2023 at Rainton Arena, Houghton-le-Spring.

To book your free place at EMCON and for more information, visit

For more information on Sotech, visit