Booming Barrow offshore engineering company Hydra-Lok opened its new £750,000 factory in June 1993.

The 17,000 square foot unit on Park Road replaced existing units on Walney Road and Cavendish Dock Road.

The company had trebled its workforce to 30 in recent years because of the success of its hi-tech 'sea tool' used for drilling oil and gas in the North Sea. The tool had won a Queen's Award for Technology.

Philip Parker, chief executive of Hydra-Lok's parent company North Sea Assets Plc, said Hydra-Lok was the jewel in the crown of the group of companies.

Special guest John D'Ancona, director general of the Department of Trade and Industry offshore supplies office, which part-funded the development of the tool, praised Hydra-Lok as a fine example of the public and private sectors working together.

In 1994 Hydra-Lok Ltd won The Exporter of the Year award in the Cumbria Business Awards scheme.

John Lowes of Hydra-Lok received a silver salver from Tom Farmer, chair of Kwik-Fit.

Hydra-Lok exported underwater connectors for the offshore oil and gas industries and the previous year 60 per cent of its turnover came from sales abroad, with its main export markets in Norway and America.

In 1995 Barrow handiwork was on its way to Texas to help new offshore rigs find their feet.

Two subsea pile 'swaging' tools each weighed 55 tons and were a design invented by Hydra-Lok, of Bouthwood Road on the Sowerby Woods industrial estate.

They were en route via Tilbury docks for Hunting MCS Incorporated in Houston.

They would be used for connecting two off-shore structures to their seabed foundations in 670ft deep waters in the Gulf of Mexico.

Swagers were designed to fit into steel piles which themselves had been driven into sleeves or templates to hold structures on the seabed.

The tools were then expanded hydraulically inside the pile, forcing or swaging its metal to lock and groove with the metal of the outer sleeve.

Over the years The Mail has also regularly published stories and photographs about Ulverston's Glaxo factory.