Airborne International BV, a Dutch provider of advanced composite solutions, has secured an undisclosed investment from the corporate venturing arm of Saudia Arabia’s SABIC. With the deal, SABIC, a chemicals manufacturer, joins the company’s existing shareholders, including Pangaea Ventures, a Canadian venture capital firm. Airborne said the funds raised will contribute to its full automation and digitization of composite manufacturing of goods. Vancouver-based Pangaea, which invested in Airborne in 2015, is currently raising its fourth advanced-materials fund.
SABIC and Airborne International Join Forces in the Development of Fully Automated and Digitized Composites Production Processes
Amsterdam, the Netherlands – (May 3, 2017) – SABIC via its corporate venturing arm, has invested growth capital in composites specialist Airborne International B.V. (“Airborne”) in The Hague. With this investment, SABIC joins a growth financing round by existing shareholders including Pangaea Ventures Fund III, L.P., HPE PRO Institutional Fund B.V., Participatiemaatschappij InnovationQuarter B.V. and Innovatiefonds Brabant B.V.. The financing round will contribute to Airborne’s full automation and digitization of composite manufacturing of goods that require less weight and higher strength from an array of industries.
In many markets like Aerospace, Automotive, Oil & Gas, Consumer Electronics and Sporting Goods, lightweight and durability are key industry drivers. Continuous fiber reinforced thermoplastic composite materials offer the potential to address these needs. SABIC’s composite thermoplastic solutions coupled with Airborne’s know-how offers the unique opportunity to realize the mass production of lighter and stronger applications in a more cost effective way.
Digital infrastructure for thermoplastic composite automation technologies
Airborne is a technology leader in the design, production and industrialization of advanced composite products for aerospace and marine sectors. 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.
Next step in the value chain by automated manufacturing
SABIC has taken a majority position in 2015 in unique technology for the production of high performance unidirectional UDMAX™ tapes resulting in the formation of FRT. SABIC’s investment in Airborne will help enable SABIC to develop the next step in the value chain with realization 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 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.
“A radical increase of the level of automation and digitalization as well as the availability of information throughout the supply chain will be a crucial success factor in the composites industry. 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 becoming a frontrunner in automation and digitization of composite manufacturing. Attracting a preferred advanced chemicals supplier to invest in Airborne is a great confirmation of our strategy. We are very enthusiastic about the added value SABIC will bring to our company’s development and disruptive innovations,” said Arno van Mourik, Founder and CEO of Airborne International.
SABIC is a global leader in diversified chemicals headquartered in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. We manufacture on a global scale in the Americas, Europe, Middle East and Asia Pacific, making distinctly different kinds of products: chemicals, commodity and high performance plastics, agri-nutrients and metals.
We support our customers by identifying and developing opportunities in key end markets such as construction, medical devices, packaging, agri-nutrients, electrical and electronics, transportation and clean energy.
SABIC recorded a net profit of SR 17.8 billion (US$ 4.8 billion) in 2016. Sales revenues for 2016 totalled SR 132.8 billion (US$ 35.4 billion). Total assets stood at SR 316.9 billion (US$ 84.5 billion) at the end of 2016. Production in 2016 stood at 72.7 million metric tons
SABIC has more than 35,000 employees worldwide and operates in more than 50 countries. Fostering innovation and a spirit of ingenuity, we have 12,191 global patent filings, and have significant research resources with innovation hubs in five key geographies – USA, Europe, Middle East, South East Asia and North East Asia.
The Saudi Arabian government owns 70 percent of SABIC shares with the remaining 30 percent publicly traded on the Saudi stock exchange.
For additional information, please visit www.sabic.com.
About Airborne International
Airborne has an extensive legacy in providing advanced composite solutions for industrial market leaders in a variety of markets. As a preferred supplier, Airborne designs, develops, qualifies, manufactures and performs maintenance on composite products for the most demanding applications. Based on this legacy, Airborne develops and builds bespoke machines, with the capability to automate manufacturing of composites structures at competitive price levels for a number of industries worldwide. Airborne’s ambition is to build the leading physical and digital platform in composite automated manufacturing technologies for small to mid-size composite components. Airborne currently employs more than 100 highly skilled people and given its growth ambitions is currently strengthening the senior management levels. Clients of Airborne include directly and indirectly companies such as GE, GD and Airbus.
For additional information, please visit www.airborne.com.
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Photo courtesy of Airbone International BV