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US National Composite Center to Showcase Quickstep Technology

30 April 2006

Australian advanced materials group Quickstep is set to showcase its unique composites manufacturing technology to North America after entering into a collaboration with America’s National Composite Center.

Quickstep and NCC have signed a Letter of Intent for a wide-ranging collaboration which includes the acquisition by NCC of a QS20 composites production machine and the commitment of Quickstep resources for the establishment of the Center of Excellence – representing the third global regional facility of its kind to be established by Quickstep. The centre is currently planned to be operational in September 2006.

Quickstep already has similar collaboration agreements in place with the University of Manchester in the UK (Northwest Composites Centre) and with Deakin University at Geelong in Victoria, Australia (Victorian Centre for Advanced Materials Manufacture). Quickstep demonstration production machines are in operation at each of these locations, as well as at Quicktep’s headquarters in Perth, Western Australia.

Quickstep’s CEO, Mr Nick Noble, said the agreement with NCC was consistent with one of the Company’s core commercialisation strategies of establishing demonstration centres for its technology on strategic continents and in close proximity to key target industries.

“The centres of excellence already in operation at Manchester in the UK and Geelong in Australia have been very effective in providing a conduit to bring the Quickstep Process directly to the doorstep of potential end-users, including material suppliers, producers of components for heavy trucks, commercial and general aviation aircraft, personal watercraft and industrial/infrastructure projects,” Mr Noble said.

“The new North American centre will have similar objectives, providing unique access to the world’s largest market and an opportunity to showcase our technology to some of the biggest Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEM’s), automotive and aerospace companies in the world,” he added. “We are delighted to have finalised this landmark agreement with NCC, which has played a pioneering role in promoting, developing and applying advanced composites technology to a range of different industries in North America.”

Mr Noble said the agreement with NCC would result in NCC operating a larger QS20 machine compared with the other centres of excellence, facilitating the demonstration of production of fairly large components in the automotive, aerospace, marine and infrastructure markets.

Louis Luedtke, President and CEO of NCC, commented: “We are delighted to announce this landmark collaboration with Quickstep, whose patented composites manufacturing technology has already attracted a large amount of interest in North America and elsewhere because of its potential to dramatically reduce the time and cost of composites manufacture. We are pleased to have the opportunity to work closely with Quickstep’s senior technical personnel in the establishment of this Center for Excellence, including the commissioning of a Quickstep QS20 machine to demonstrate the production of large composite components to potential end-users in the United States.”

NCC will acquire a Quickstep QS20 machine with a perpetual technology licence at commercial rates and will also provide the premises, facilities and support personnel for the operation of the Quickstep Center for a minimum of three years, with an option to extend based on the success of the collaboration. For its part, Quickstep will commit resources (including cash and in-kind contributions) over a 3-year period towards the operating costs of the centre, including a full-time trained engineer to support customers in evaluating the Quickstep Process and making prototypes. The project will also be partially funded by the State of Ohio and the City of Dayton.

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