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Multi-million pound pledge puts new spin on tyre tests
UP 100 new jobs are set to be created after a Bicester firm won a multi-million pound contract for its inventive tyre-measuring technology.
Sigmavision’s TreadReader, an automatic tyre inspection system that spots worn tyres, can be fixed into drive-over ramps in garages.
US-based garage equipment manufacturer Hunter Engineering was so impressed with the device, which generates a 3D laser scan of each tyre, it has signed a contract which will see Sigmavision’s turnover quadruple from £400,000 to £4m in three years.
The Weston-on-the-Green firm, which employs 10 people, also plans to take on an extra 100 staff to meet demand.
Dr Andrew Pryce, Sigmavision’s managing director and founder, started the business 10 years ago and includes top tyre manufacturers Pirelli and Goodyear among his clients.
The 49-year-old father-of-two came up with the idea for TreadReader five years ago and has patented it.
He raised the cash to develop a prototype through a £160,000 grant from the Technology Strategy Board, matched with cash from investors.
After seeing the prototype, Hunter signed the contract, prompting Dr Pryce to kit out his premises with manufacturing equipment.
Henley MP John Howell will be at Sigmavision’s offices tomorrow to start the new production line rolling.
Materials scientist Dr Pryce said: “I was aware of the problems of measuring tyres when they are on a vehicle and suddenly realised how I could unlock this problem using the technology we’d developed.
“Having invested the last five years developing this technology, we now look forward to growing the business rapidly and providing a boost to the local economy and employment.
“Not many people check their tyres regularly and this impacts road safety. In the UK in 2012 there were 1,110 casualties from road accidents due to defective tyres.
“Improving garage services to address these problems is just the first stage in our roll-out plan. Longer term, we hope to deploy TreadReader drive-over ramps in a wide range of locations to allow people to check their tyres more regularly.”
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