Saudi Arabia Basic Industries Corp. (Sabic) has invested in the Dutch composites specialist Airborne International BV, in a bid to improve the production process for its thermoplastic composites.
The move was part of a growth financing round by Airborne's existing shareholders to contribute to its full automation and digitization of composite manufacturing of goods that require less weight and higher strength
With Airborne specializing in design, production and industrialization of composite products for aerospace and marine sectors, the Riyadh, Saudi Arabia-based company said May 3 that it expected the investment to help realize the mass production of its composite thermoplastic solutions in a more cost effective way.
“Airborne is on a growth path to become the leading platform in composite automated manufacturing technologies. With the new investment, Airborne will implement the digital infrastructure that will serve as a backbone for thermoplastic composite automation technologies,” Sabic added in its statement.
Sabic said its investment in Airborne will help enable it to develop automated manufacturing for composites applications, “with enhanced yields, cycle times and system cost.”
This, it added, is considered as “a critical step” towards broader use of continuous fiber reinforced composites in the market.
“This investment and collaboration with Airborne will enable Sabic to take the next step in the commercialization of thermoplastic composites and help our customers to develop unique lightweight applications,” said Ernesto Occhiello, executive vice president specialties strategic business unit at Sabic.
Also commenting on the investment, Arno van Mourik, founder and CEO of Airborne International of The Hague, Netherlands, said the “radical increase” in automation and availability of data will be “a crucial success factor in the composites industry.”
“Joining forces with Sabic is an important step towards our new strategy becoming a front runner in automation and digitization of composite manufacturing,” Mourik added.