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SABIC has invested in Airborne International, joining a growth financing round by existing shareholders that will contribute to Airborne’s full automation and digitisation of thermoplastic composites manufacturing.
In markets such as aerospace, automotive, oil and gas, consumer electronics and sporting goods, lightweight and durability are key industry drivers. Continuous fibre reinforced thermoplastic composite materials offer the potential to address these needs. The companies believe that SABIC’s thermoplastic composite solutions coupled with Airborne’s know-how offer a unique opportunity to realise the mass production of lighter and stronger applications in a more cost effective way.
With the new investment, Airborne will implement the digital infrastructure that will serve as a backbone for thermoplastic composites automation technologies.
In 2015, SABIC took a majority position in technology for the production of high performance unidirectional UDMAX tapes. The company says its investment in Airborne will help enable it to develop the next step in the value chain with realisation of automated manufacturing for composites applications, with enhanced yields, cycle times and system cost. This is considered as a critical step towards broader use of continuous fibre reinforced composites in the market.
“This investment and collaboration with Airborne will enable SABIC to take the next step in the commercialisation of thermoplastic composites and help our customers to develop unique lightweight applications,” says Ernesto Occhiello, Executive Vice President, Specialities Strategic Business Unit, at SABIC.
“A radical increase of the level of automation and digitalisation as well as the availability of information throughout the supply chain will be a crucial success factor in the composites industry,” reports Arno van Mourik, Founder and CEO of Airborne International. “Combined with the integration of information from material to product, this is the core of Airborne’s strategy. Joining forces with SABIC is an important step towards our new strategy of becoming a front runner in automation and digitisation of composite manufacturing.”
Image provided by Airbourne
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