Quickstep Establishes North American Centre of Excellence

29 October 2006

Quickstep Technologies has established its North American Quickstep Center of Excellence at the National Composite Center’s (NCC) new Dayton Campus for Advanced Materials Technologies (DC-AMT).

The Dayton Campus will serve as Quickstep’s demonstration site for US aerospace and automotive manufacturers. A QS20 composites production machine, the heart of Quickstep’s moulding technology, has been purchased with a portion of an NCC Third Frontier Project grant totalling $1,800,000. NCC received the grant in May for nano-enhanced sheet moulding compound (SMC) scale-up, equipment that will also be operated and housed at DC-AMT. The City of Dayton also contributed $475,000 to the purchase and support of the Quickstep equipment. Montgomery County, City of Dayton, Citywide Development Corp., Dayton Development Coalition and Liteflex LLC teamed with NCC to contribute funds for building improvements totalling more than $1,000,000.

NCC, and Nick Noble, CEO of Quickstep. ""The Australia-United States Free Trade Agreement has opened exciting opportunities for companies on both sides of the Pacific. Technical collaboration such as that being undertaken by Quickstep and the National Composite Center makes manufacturers in both countries more competitive and leads to increased jobs for states such as Ohio and Western Australia,” said Smith.

The Quickstep process is a fluid-filled, balanced pressure, heated floating mould technology for the curing, partial curing and joining of composite materials. The process can use thermoset and certain thermoplastic prepregs as well as wet resin/dry fibre to produce composite parts that they say feature improved strength, stiffness, surface finish and appearance while achieving aerospace grade void contents of less than two percent.

The establishment of the North American Quickstep Center is based on a three-year formal collaboration agreement between Quickstep Technologies and NCC. The Center represents the third facility of its kind to be established by Quickstep in alliance with a major international partner in the global composites industry. In addition to the North American Center in Ohio, Quickstep has centres in Manchester, UK (in collaboration with the Northwest Composites Center – “NWCC”) and in Geelong, Australia at the Victorian Centre for Advanced Materials Manufacturing – “VCAMM”.

“The opening of the North American showcase center – located in the heart of the US manufacturing industry – represents a landmark step in the ongoing commercialization of the Company’s patented process for composites manufacture,” said Noble. “North America is a key target market for Quickstep, being home to many of the world’s largest aerospace, automotive, marine and infrastructure manufacturers and their Tier One suppliers. NCC has a long and very successful history of introducing new and innovative advanced materials technologies to the American market, and the strong partnership we have forged with them represents a very important component of Quickstep’s long-term growth and global expansion plans.”

Commissioning for the QS20 composites production machine is underway and initial production of test parts is expected before the end of 2006. Quickstep has named Benjamin Luedtke, formerly of Applied Materials Inc., as the Technical Manager of the Quickstep Center. Luedtke will manage the day-to-day operations of the Quickstep facility, including specific OEM and Tier One projects. Phil Mowry, Vice-President for NCC, will serve in the dual role as Chief Operating Officer for DC-AMT.

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