Sigma: Making “Vessels” for “Hearts” of Aircraft in Chengdu

Authors: Go Chengdu


For a plane hovering in the blue sky, the most important part is its“heart”— engine, which is a major component of the propulsion system for an aircraft that generates mechanical power to enable the plane to fly.
Small Pipes Prop up Big "Heart"
It's not easy to make such a "heart", which is made up of lots of "vessels (pipes and other components)". Inside the Chengdu Hi-tech Comprehensive Bonded Zone, there is a company manufacturing and providing such "vessels" to aircraft engines. Its name is Chengdu Sigma Precision Components Ltd. Founded by Mark Johnson, a British, the company is headquartered in the UK. And Mark set up Sigma's first overseas branch in Chengdu in 2006.
During the exclusive interview with Mark, he showed the reporter around his Chengdu company's manufacturing and processing plant, and introduced its main product, various pipes for aircraft engines. In the workshop, technical workers were skillfully operating CNC machine tools to process bar materials into semi-finished and finished products, which are packed after having been finely polished, cleaned and accepted.
Mark said that never underestimate the pipes with different shapes and lengths, because they will be installed into engines of aircraft as oil pipes, hydraulic pipes and air ducts, serving as the vessels of a heart and guaranteeing the smooth operation of the engines.
Beginning from fabricating smallest component, after a decade's development, Sigma can now manufacture most pipes and parts for aeroengines for many international aircraft manufacturers including Rolls-Royce, Airbus, GE, and Bombardier.
Think Global, Act Local
Chengdu, a livable city with laidback, comfortable life and delicious food, has become an ideal place to start business and a city where people's dreams can come true over the last two decades.
When asked why Sigma chose to set up its first overseas branch in Chengdu , Mark said with excitement: "We did a lot of research on many cities in China and then found out Chengdu is the best choice through a comprehensive comparison. First, the Chengdu city government always actively brings in hi-tech enterprises, making Sigma a beneficiary of its policies. We've been maintaining a good relationship with the local government, which helps us a lot in site selection, factory construction and license application. Second, located in western China, our production cost is lower in Chengdu than that in eastern megacities like Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Shenzhen. Besides, most of the people here are well-educated and very hard-working, which is beneficial for us to recruit high quality employees. What's more, stable economic and social growth is essential for aviation manufacturing industry's development.
"I've been living in Chengdu off and on for a few years since my first arrival here in 2005. I'm neither a local nor a Chinese, but Chengdu is my home in China. Every time when I come back here, I feel at home. The climate here is moderate and people are friendly. Though I can barely speak Chinese, I can lead a happy life in the city. Sichuan food is something you shall never miss here. I like Chinese cuisine, especially Sichuan cuisine and hot pot is my favorite. There are more and more foreigners working and living in Chengdu, which makes it easy and convenient for us foreigners to have social activities together."
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