Advanced Engineering 2018

Quickstep Opens New Manufacturing Facility

03 July 2012

Quickstep is opening a new manufacturing facility to supply components to aerospace leaders Northrop Grumman Corporation and Lockhead Martin, at Sydney’s Bankstown Airport, Australia.

According to Quickstep, the ability to manufacture high-technology composites has enabled them to win major aerospace contracts in internationally competitive tenders. Quickstep has already commenced production on the first phase of commercial production of F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter parts. This work is expected to generate up to $700 million over 20 years. In March 2012, Quickstep explains it was selected by Lockheed Martin to supply composite wing flaps for the C-130J Hercules military transport aircraft – valued at $75 million to $100 million to Quickstep over five years.

Opened by NSW Premier, Barry O’Farrell and Mr Gary Ervin, President of Northrop Grumman’s Aerospace Systems Division, the facility houses high-tech equipment to manufacture carbon fibre components that are typically half the weight of a comparably strong steel part.

""We congratulate Quickstep on this new facility,"" said Mr O'Farrell. ""This is one of the world's most advanced carbon fibre component manufacturing plants and a great example of high technology bringing international work to NSW. With this facility, Quickstep will be the largest independent aerospace composites manufacturer in Australia.""

Philippe Odouard, Managing Director of Quickstep, said that the new plant and the jobs that it creates demonstrated Quickstep’s successful relationship with Northrop Grumman Corporation and Lockheed Martin, and capacity to become an integral part of the global supply chain for high volume manufacturing industries.

""This facility represents a quantum leap in Australian advanced composites manufacturing, strengthening our ability to deliver products and technologies to global industries that increasingly source competitively around the world. We are grateful to the NSW government that substantially participated in the funding of this development,"" he said.

Quickstep says it will also conduct research and development to licence its unique and patented composites manufacturing process. The company explains it has a significant opportunity to earn income through equipment supply, services and licence fees. New emissions legislation in the US and Europe drastically reduces the allowed carbon dioxide emission per kilometre, with objectives that can only be met with weight reduction. This has triggered a significant automotive sector interest in carbon fibre cars, and Quickstep is already working with Audi. They say the Quickstep Process can develop high quality finish, inexpensive, lightweight, strong composites manufactured rapidly and in volume that can contribute significantly to fuel efficiency, as composites are much lighter than metal components.

Quickstep says the Bankstown facility comprises a 4000 square metre hangar with $15 million of the latest state of the art manufacturing equipment and infrastructure along with a 1250 square metre office, which now becomes Quickstep’s headquarters. Quickstep has substantial additional capacity for further expansion.

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