Total Energies

Free membership

Receive our weekly Newsletter
and set tailored daily news alerts.


Complete downstream machinery solutions for composite materials

Two of the longest established names in the UK fibre and fabric processing industries merged last year to create a new Cheshire, North West England based powerhouse, which is providing complete downstream machinery and equipment solutions to the international aerospace, automotive and performance textiles industries.

11th March 2013

Innovation in Textiles
 |  Northwich

Transport/​Aerospace, Sports/​Outdoor, Protective, Industrial, Construction


Two of the longest established names in the UK fibre and fabric processing industries merged last year to create a new Cheshire, North West England based powerhouse, which is providing complete downstream machinery and equipment solutions to the international aerospace, automotive and performance textiles industries.

In the run up to the JEC composites show in Paris next week, we spoke to Mark Smith, Commercial Director of the recently formed Cygnet Tex-Web, a member of the Cygnet Group, about the company’s products and capabilities as well as its future expansion.

Last September, high tech creel manufacturer Texkimp joined forces with Web Processing, a prepreg, coating and laminating specialist which was acquired by Texkimp’s parent company Cygnet Group, to form Cygnet Tex-Web. The new business combines over 80 years of experience designing and manufacturing engineering solutions to process fibre and fabric for applications ranging from aircraft and automotive parts, tyre cord and high performance clothing.

Mark Smith, a mechanical engineer with extensive practical and commercial experience was appointed to lead the merger following a 22-year career with leading German textile machinery manufacturer Karl Mayer. Smith is responsible for driving the company’s performance and ensuring its teams work together effectively to satisfy customer demand with some of the most productive and reliable fibre and fabric processing solutions in the market.

The merger is expected to bring £50m of manufacturing projects to the UK in the next five years with over 95% of solutions destined for export and with projects previously subcontracted overseas by Web Processing now being completed at Cygnet Tex-Web’s impressive state-of-the-art design, assembly and machinery testing facility in Northwich, Cheshire.

Replicating success to drive growth

Drawing on his long experience in Germany, Smith envisages Cygnet Tex-Web transforming into something akin to a German ‘Mittelstand’ type business – the small and medium-sized enterprises which have been given much of the credit for Germany's economic growth. Mittelstand businesses tend to operate in high value added niches, are innovative, employ 70% of the country’s workforce and generate 50% of its GDP. They also tend to operate in small rural communities.

Smith points out that Texkimp is a highly reputable name in the international fibre and fabric processing industry and as such is a great ambassador for British engineering and manufacturing.

More than 95% of the machines the company manufactures under the Texkimp brand are delivered overseas to some of the most prolific businesses in the world - and Smith intends to replicate this success to drive growth across the whole of the Cygnet Tex-Web business.

Smith believes that with the right design and manufacturing expertise, potential business opportunities for its prepreg, coating and laminating machinery division are also considerable. “Acquiring Web Processing has taken our process expertise down-line and enabled us to expand the services we can offer,” Smith explains.

Using established in-house engineering capabilities, space and facilities, the company plans to double the size of the business in the next three years whilst protecting its strength as a niche provider of bespoke engineering solutions and maintaining a flexible, partnership approach to business.

Cygnet Tex-Web has a very clear vision of where it is headed, and with regard to expansion it has plans to develop its current Cheshire site by 2017.  Cygnet Group has acquired a four-acre plot around its current headquarters to develop into a new manufacturing facility and group HQ. 

Cygnet Group now also has a facility in the USA, near Charlotte in North Carolina, where it is implementing a five year expansion plan which will help it to provide better service and support to its North American customer base.

 Composites solutions

Cygnet Tex-Web supplies complete downstream machinery solutions to create the highest quality composite materials for the aerospace, wind energy, sports, automotive, marine and military industries. The company’s machines are used all over the world to produce a wide range of high performance products from aircraft wings to pressurised vessels to fishing rods.

The Cheshire company’s market-leading engineering solutions are designed to unwind and process yarns or fibres, including carbon fibre, aramid and glass yarn with perfect tension control and unparalleled precision to create the strongest possible composite materials whilst using the least amount of fibre.

“Our specialist PAN pre-curser and high-tech fibre creels unwind and guide yarns and fibres with exceptional accuracy and minimal contact or deviation under very high levels of acceleration and deceleration tension. As a result, fibres remain undamaged, with no twisting or overlapping,” Smith explains.

“Our prepreg machinery then processes yarns and fibres into high-performance composites of the highest quality, precision and uniformity, which are hard, strong and lightweight.”

Also of relevance to the composites sector are Cygnet’s package handling solutions which are designed to manipulate packages of yarns and fibres weighing up to 500 kilos. Created by the group’s automation division, Cygnet Integrated Solutions, they help manufacturers solve common manual-handling issues. The robotic systems can be used to transport packages from spinning to storage, turn them while in storage to prevent drying out, and transfer to and from creels.

Cygnet Group

Cygnet Tex-Web is a member of the Cygnet Group, a group of specialist engineering businesses delivering engineering solutions in three strategic areas - automation and bespoke machinery, technical fibre and fabric processing, and oil and gas technology.

 The diverse international business that the Cygnet Group is today was founded by Colin Smith in 1974, with the start-up of Texkimp Ltd. Colin joined his father in law, Bill Kimpton, after he had started his own company, WHK Products, to manufacture warp preparation machinery for the traditional UK textile industries. Colin eventually set up Texkimp after Bill retired and today, the Cygnet Group is headed by MD/CEO Matthew Kimpton-Smith, Bill’s grandson.

The Cygnet Group’s vision is to build a flexible business that allows it to service the three strategic areas of fibre and fabric processing, industrial automation and oil and gas, in a way that allows its customers to reduce risk and increase their own capabilities.

Staying flexible and responsive

Despite its expansion plans and global success, as a relatively small, niche provider of bespoke fibre and fabric processing solutions, Cygnet Tex-Web says it is maintaining its ability to be flexible and responsive to the changing needs of its customers. The company believes this is an extremely valuable asset that allows its customers to benefit from new methods and emerging technologies and helps them be the best in their fields. It also believes that it means it is ideally positioned to fulfil special projects or unusual applications that require unique machinery.

Cygnet Tex-Web will be exhibiting at this year’s Techtextil in Frankfurt in June and at next week’s   JEC composites show in Paris (Booth No. F9).

Further information

Cygnet Tex-Web

Swan House, New Cheshire Business Park, Wincham Lane, Wincham, Northwich, Cheshire CW9 6GG, United Kingdom

Tel: +44 (0)1606 338 748

Fax: +44 (0)1606 338 749

[email protected]


Latest Reports

Business intelligence for the fibre, textiles and apparel industries: technologies, innovations, markets, investments, trade policy, sourcing, strategy...

Find out more