Minister of State visits Sigma at Paris Airshow

17 Jun 2015 Published by

Francis Maude, Minister of State for Trade and Investment visited Sigma Precision Components to find out more about its Sigma Lite range of lightweight aerospace components at Paris Airshow (UK Pavilion, Hall 2B, Stand G178).


The range – which includes composite pipes, lightweight end fittings and drive shafts, offer substantial weight – and therefore fuel efficiency savings – when compared to their traditionally-manufactured counterparts.


Mark Johnson, founder and managing director of Sigma Components, said: “It was a real fillip for the team that Francis Maude decided to visit our stand to find out more about this exciting new product range.


“We were able to talk to him about the ongoing R&D programmes taking place across our business, which have fuelled the development of the Sigma Lite brand, and he also had the opportunity to experience the weight savings for himself, by handling sample components.


“We have invested heavily in research and development over recent years, supported by a variety of programmes such as Clean Sky, NATEP, Sharing in Growth and AMSCI, and it it’s particularly rewarding to now be able to showcase the results of that research.


“The nature of the aerospace industry is that innovations, like the components in the Sigma Lite range, take many years to make it onto new aircraft programmes but we’re confident that, with ongoing support from Government and industry bodies, the wider industry will benefit from these ground-breaking technologies in the not too distant future. ”


Star of the Sigma Lite range is COMPipe – a composite aero-engine pipe that delivers weight savings of 50% over traditionally-manufactured pipes. The result of a CleanSky funded programme, COMPipe is capable of withstanding operating temperatures up to 250°C, operating pressures of up to 4000 psi and a typical engine operating environment, including fireproof requirements.


The range also includes lightweight end fittings – a variation of Sigma’s successful self-locking nuts, concept designs for metallic end-fittings produced using additive manufacturing techniques, and composite drive shafts.


Mark continued: “While each new component is an exciting development in its own right, the real step change comes when you look at how modest weight savings in a single fitting can create a massive snowball effect, greatly reducing the overall cost, size and environmental impact of manufacturing and running an aircraft.


“For example, there are approximately 150 suitable applications for COMPipe on an aero-engine. Our figures suggest that using composite rather than metallic pipes could offer total weight savings of approximately 10kg per engine. The knock-on effect for the rest of the aircraft is likely to magnify that, delivering empty weight savings of up to 100kg for a twin-jet aircraft.”