in Aerospace

Sigma's New Product Introduction and R&D team set to drive innovation

Posted 15 June 2018 · Add Comment

Aerospace manufacturer Sigma Components is working in partnership with OEMs and Tier 1 suppliers on new technologies to drive innovation and environmental performance in the aerospace sector, via its New Product Introduction and R&D team.

Mark Johnson (above), founder and CEO of Sigma Components, said: “Thanks to technology, multi‐site capabilities, capacity and our focus on lifecycle management, our innovations offer a real step change for future aircraft environmental performance.”

Sigma’s centre for new product introduction allows the team to look at the full product lifecycle – from initial R&D and NPI to full production – whenever a new product is devised.

Johnson added: “It’s an approach that is proving popular with both aerospace OEMs and Tier 1 customers around the world.”

“Being able to offer this in‐house capability means we can take an idea from initial concept – testing that idea with customers and securing development funding – right through to devising the method, tooling and production procedures, then honing these before moving into full production. This work is also supported by our Chinese facility, which is increasingly taking on its own NPI work, not simply delivering new products developed in the UK.”

Sigma’s New Product Introduction and R&D team, comprising dedicated design engineers, fabrications and pipe engineering specialists, CNC programmers, commercial engineers, project managers and even engineering interns, invests in its own R&D, working closely with customers to innovate and add value.

The R&D team is already revolutionizing component design with its SigmaLite range of lightweight composite and additive‐manufactured components, while our NPI team is delivering exciting new parts for the BR700NG, XWB and A350 programmes. So, as the aerospace supply chain undergoes a period of substantial change, we see a real opportunity to work more closely with OEMs and Tier 1 customers to drive innovation in the sector.

The capabilities and cost‐structures of Sigma’s UK and Chinese operations mean the team can optimise performance and competitiveness throughout the supply chain for its partnerships. Sigma will be showcasing its Sigma Lite range, including new products and works in progress from Sigma’s ongoing R&D programmes. These include, composite pipes (COMPipe), lightweight end fittings and composite drive shafts for airframe and aero‐engines offering weight savings of more than 50% versus traditionally manufactured components, providing a real step change for future aircraft environmental performance.

R&D programme were announced at Farnborough Air Show in 2014, with lab tests demonstrating that the thermoplastic composite pipe is capable of withstanding operating temperatures of up to 240°C, operating pressures of up to 450 psi and a typical engine operating environment, including fireproof requirements under certain fluid flow conditions.

The flagship technology is now undergoing application‐specific testing, with results expected towards the end of the year.

The R&D programme have been supported by investments from the National Aerospace Technology Exploitation Programme (NATEP), Sharing in Growth, CleanSky programme and the Advanced Manufacturing Supply Chain Initiative (AMSCI).


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