The move is part of an ongoing programme of investments across Sigma’s businesses to develop components for high-performance industries with capabilities not previously available, as well as bringing key capabilities in-house.

“The new braiding machine will enable us to braid both single and combinations of materials to offer new components with enhanced performance characteristics,” said Steve Barbour, MD at Sigma Composites. “For example, both thermoset and thermoplastic materials can be braided to create strong yet light structures such as leak-tight pipes. We are also exploring adding functionality such as condition monitoring and electrical conductivity into the braiding process.

Automating production

“This opens up a world of potential for original equipment manufacturers, allowing us to re-think traditional designs for components used in industries as diverse as aerospace, automotive and energy, as well as allowing us to add value by automating production.”

The composite braiding machine is already being used for Sigma’s new COMPipe for aero engines that reportedly offers weight savings of over 50% compared to traditional materials.