Cygnet Texkimp has a rich and illustrious history rooted in the British textile machinery industry of the mid twentieth century. The company began life in 1974 when the original Texkimp business was founded by our Chairman Colin Smith to supply unwinding machinery to the textile manufacturing industry.
Colin, a qualified mechanical engineer, gained his knowledge of textile machinery design by working closely with his father-in-law, William (Bill) Harry Kimpton who had established the machinery manufacturing company WHK Products in the 1950s. Based at Quarry Bank Mill close to Manchester Airport, Bill’s business was perfectly positioned to harness the opportunities that a relatively strong British textile industry presented.
Having developed his own successful career as a mechanical engineer, Colin Smith joined WHK in 1963 – a move that would set him along the path to becoming one of the world’s most active and influential fibre processing engineers of his generation.
The UK textile industry, which was built on traditional natural fibres including cotton, wool, jute and linen, developed and grew with the introduction of new synthetic fibres. Demand for new technical fibres such as nylon, polyester, polypropylene and acrylic triggered WHK’s move into the field of technical fibre processing. Bill and Colin’s extensive expertise in the traditional market sealed their success, and some of the first woven carbon fibre produced in the UK was woven directly from a WHK creel.
By 1970, the UK textile industry was in steep decline as textile producers moved production to lower cost countries, and many manufacturing companies struggled to survive amid a strong trade union movement. WHK was sold, Bill retired, and the traditional UK textile market continued to flounder.
In 1974, Colin and his wife Janet founded the Texkimp business to develop a new range of unwinding machines and accessories for the growing international technical and high performance fibre market. After several years of continued effort to establish the business as an accepted supplier, Texkimp began to blossom as a niche manufacturer among global customers that were hungry for its expertise and blend of practical and technical know-how. Texkimp’s reputation spread and the company began penetrating the markets of North America and Western Europe before heading into Eastern Europe, the Middle East and the developing economies of China, India and Vietnam.
In 1996, Colin and Janet’s son Matthew Kimpton-Smith, an economics graduate from the University of Cambridge, left his role at international accountancy firm Price Waterhouse Cooper (PwC) to join the family business. He spent ten years working in all areas of Texkimp; opening new markets, building strategic relationships, and selling overseas before taking overall leadership of the business in 2006.
At the same time, Texkimp’s parent company Cygnet Group was created as an organisation of diverse engineering companies providing bespoke solutions to niche global markets.
Today, the renamed Cygnet Texkimp is a global market-leader in the manufacture of specialist machinery to handle and process technical fibres and fabrics used in the automotive, aerospace and wind energy sectors. We still manufacture 98% of our machines in the UK using raw materials sourced almost exclusively from British suppliers, and we export 95% of our machines globally. We employ some of the most talented mechanical and electrical design engineers in the market, who work alongside experienced in-house teams of automation, robotics, software and after-sales specialists to deliver an end-to-end service that will satisfy the most complex technological demands.
We continue to walk in the path of Bill and Colin, whose commitment to innovation and improvement earned them their places as two of the most eminent engineers in the history of our sector. Our considerable investment in R&D ensures we remain at the forefront of our markets, providing our customers with cutting-edge machines that allow them to achieve the highest levels of efficiency, productivity and quality.