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Location:Cherwell Valley

A South-East Midlands company, based in Cherwell Valley, which has developed an innovative tool to check the safety of vehicle tyres, has secured £1m funding to help roll it out to the global automotive aftersales market.

Sigmavision has secured funding from the MEIF Proof-of-Concept & Early Stage Fund, which is part of the Midlands Engine Investment Fund, supported by the European Regional Development Fund, and managed by Mercia Fund managers, and private investors.

The company’s handheld scanner slides along the surface of tyres and uses 3D scanning technology to accurately measure tread depth and tyre wear. The TreadReaderTM scanner can be used on vehicles of all types, from cars to heavy goods vehicles, buses and trailers, and eliminates the errors associated with manual dip gauges. The company also developed drive-over ramps incorporating the same technology.

Sigmavision initially supplied its technology to a major garage equipment engineering firm but has now launched the TreadReaderTM product range into the wider market, receiving strong interest from tyre manufacturers, garage equipment suppliers and road safety organisations. The funding will give the company the working capital it needs to deliver on customer orders and to further develop the product’s capabilities.

Sigmavision was founded in 2003 to supply laser profiling systems to major tyre manufacturers; however, it sold its industrial product range in 2014 to focus on developing its latest systems.

Dr Andrew Pryce, Sigmavision’s Managing Director, comments: “3D tyre measurement offers major benefits for the global automotive aftermarket and our aim is to make it the de facto industry standard. The funding will allow us to rapidly scale production capacity, set up a global sales and aftersales department and accelerate product development.”

Bill Yost, Investment Manager at Mercia, said: Sigmavision’s technology allows mechanics and repair shops to make an objective assessment of the state of tyre treads, rather than relying on a visual inspection. The vehicle industry recognises that it is time for a fresh approach and has shown keen interest in the products. This investment will help the company to meet the growing demand.”

Ken Cooper, MD at the British Business Bank added: “One of the objectives of the MEIF is to support fast growing small businesses just like Sigmavision. It’s great to see Midlands companies taking up the opportunities offered by the MEIF to develop new products, scale up and target expansion.”

Malcolm Johnston, SEMLEP’s Growth Hub Manager said: “This investment in Sigmavision shows a great success story of a local business using technology to develop new services for customers, that will go on to benefit businesses in other sectors.”

The Midlands Engine Investment Fund project is supported financially by the European Union using funding from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020 and the European Investment Bank.

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