16 July 2004
16 July 2004
Advanced materials group Quickstep Technologies has set up a fully automated production plant as part of venture with the Victorian Government-backed Victorian Centre for Advanced Materials Manufacturing (VCAMM).
The venture aims to commercialise Quickstep's technology to enable the affordable, high speed production of composite materials which could change the face of the automotive and aerospace industries, Quickstep said.
The new technology can produce light-weight, ultra strong materials in volumes and at costs not able to be achieved using the conventional autoclave method.
A team of research specialists at VCAMM's Deakin University premises in Geelong, are looking at ways to commercialise Quickstep's suite of technologies with up to $2 million committed to the process over the next two years.
Victorian Treasurer and Minister for Innovation John Brumby have opened the site in Geelong, southwest of Melbourne.
VCAMM was established last year to act as a ""one-stop-shop"" helping industry to maximise the potential of research skills in developing advanced metals, fibres and composite materials at Victoria's Deakin University, Monash University and CSIRO Manufacturing and Infrastructure Technology.
VCAMM is one of a series of development and commercialisation projects underway worldwide for the Quickstep process, Quickstep chief executive Nick Noble said.
Mr Noble said the Quickstep technology had the potential to eliminate traditional cost and production volume barriers in producing non-metallic composite materials.
""We are continuing discussions with a range of major international companies ... (including suppliers and manufacturers)in the automotive and aerospace industries regarding the application of the Quickstep process,"" Mr Noble said.
""The agreement with VCAMM represents a step forward for us and opens the door to the short-term application of this technology.""
Quickstep is a public, unlisted company partly owned by Perth's Graham family who invented the composites manufacturing process.
Australia's CSIRO has backed the development since its inception and holds a 20 per cent stake.
The VCAMM Quickstep facility will be looking to meet pent up demand for mass manufactured AAA-grade advanced composite car panels in the automotive industry, VCAMM chief executive Brad Dunstan said.
The high-tech industry had the potential to change the face of the multi-billion dollar automotive and aerospace industry, Mr Dunstan said.
""The object of this venture is to commercialise the Quickstep process through a staged program of product development and refinement to introduce it to the automotive industry, initially targeting the upper end of the market for performance vehicles,"" he said.
Solvay has signed a ten-year agreement for the supply of composites and adhesives to be used across Bell's military and commercial rotorcraft programmes, including the Bell 429, 407, 505, 525, V-22, and UH-1.
SGL Carbon and Fraunhofer IGCV have officially opened the Fibre Placement Centre (FPC) at SGL's site in Meitingen, Germany. Compositence, BA Composites and the Chair for Carbon Composites at the Technical University of Munich have also joined the alliance, and Coriolis Group and Cevotec are planning to come on board as partners.
Fibrelite reports that since the start of its partnership with Trenwa more than 100 precast trench systems integrating Fibrelite composite covers have been sold for use in electrical substations, wastewater treatment plants, chemical refineries and many other applications across North America.