Two Midlands companies are celebrating a hat-trick after winning their third Queen's Award this year.

Uttoxeter-based JCB and Birmingham software-manufacturer Delcam both received awards for their contribution to international trade. JCB was honoured for exporting one of its most famous products - the JCB digger.

The award recognises the growth in overseas sales of the JCB backhoe loader, a machine first pioneered by JCB founder, the late Joseph Cyril Bamford in

1953. A total of 80 per cent of JCB backhoe loaders produced at Rocester are exported to more than 140 countries.

JCB backhoe loaders have since become so well known that they have become part of the English language, with the name JCB listed in the Oxford and Collins' Dictionaries as the definition of an hydraulic digger.

Doubling exports in six years gained computer-aided design and manufacturing software producer Delcam its award for international trade.

The Birmingham -based firm raised export sales from £8.3 million to £15.8 million between 1998 and 2003.

The figure now represents over three-quarters of the firm's £20.5 million turnover.

Customers include Boeing, Messier-Dowty, Ford, General Motors and Nissan.

The firm's biggest export destination is the US, but the firm also has a presence in 61 different countries.

Spokesman for Delcam, Peter Dickin, said: "Our market share is smaller than it should be and we aim to increase it.

"We currently hold one-third of the UK home market and whilst we can't expect the same in the US, we see big opportunities to expand on our current ten per cent share."

Mr Dickin said the secret to Delcam's success had been a combinations of good products and an active approach to setting up a distribution network.

Delcam's two previous Queen's Awards were both won for innovation. In 2003 the firm won its first award for developing its engraving software artCAM. Its second award, in 2004, was for tool and component inspection software PowerINSPECT.