PRECISION engineering so ahead of its time that companies across the world rely on it, gave judges no option but to award Fort Vale Engineering a top prize.

The Simonstone-based company, which won this year’s Export award, has set itself up as a world leader in valves and fittings for the road tanker and tank container industries.

The ‘quality, well-designed’ product enables countries, including China, to transport gases, chemicals, powders and liquids by road, rail, sea and air.

The niche market for the Simonstone Lane company, which was set up in 1967, has resulted in 90 per cent of its sales coming from overseas.

And as a testament to its belief in its products, Fort Vale Engineering controls an 80 per cent share of the tank container industry world market.

The firm saw off competition from IT hardware resale company Cleverboxes and plastic houseware manufacturer What More UK Ltd.

Sales and marketing director Kevin Singh said winning the coveted award was a testament to the staff who have designed and developed the product. He said without their work he could not make the sales or have a majority hold of the market place.

Mr Singh said: “We are over the moon. As a sales director it is a cliché, but the success is a team effort. Without a quality, well-designed product I wouldn’t be able to sell it.

“It is going to give our 300 employees a really big kick that everything they have done has come to fruition and we have won the award.”

The award’s sponsors BAE Systems said high profile recognition was important for this firm and all nominees.

Ian Wood, BAE Systems site director at Samlesbury, said: “It is great that businesses are putting in for the awards as recognition like this is excellent.”